Latest From California Healthline:
Families often spend thousands of dollars caring for ailing loved ones at home. Lawmakers in California and at least seven other states want to provide some financial relief with state income tax credits. (Samantha Young, 3/22)
Good morning! Here are your top California health news stories of the day.
Lawsuit Alleges Calif. Hospital Canceled Transgender Man’s Hysterectomy Minutes Before Procedure: A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union details Oliver Knight’s experience at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka and alleges that he was refused care at the Roman Catholic health system because of his gender orientation. In the lawsuit, Knight says that before the surgery he was repeatedly misgendered by hospital staff and forced to wear a pink hospital gown — not the blue one he’d requested — because he was getting a “female procedure.” He was told by his doctor that the surgery had been canceled only after going through several hours of pre-operative preparations. Knight was able to reschedule the hysterectomy four days later at a hospital that was not part of the St. Joseph network, but the first cancellation left Knight “sobbing and shaking.” Knight’s is the second lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of a transgender man who was denied a hysterectomy. The first case involved a man in Sacramento. Read more from The San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee.
Newsom, Becerra On Possible Collision Course Over Death Sentences: Although Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he wants to work collaboratively with Attorney General Xavier Becerra on death sentencing, Becerra’s past support of capital punishment may hint at rough waters ahead. Just a week after issuing a moratorium on executions, Newsom said he is considering a plan to prohibit any new death sentences in local criminal cases. “There is a protocol of death and an administration of death in the state of California, and it consumes the court’s time, it consumes the criminal justice system, it exhausts the soul and the pocketbook,” Newsom said during a conference call with reporters from ethnic news outlets Tuesday. “I would ultimately like to shut down that system of death.” Becerra praised Newsom’s death penalty decision as a “bold, new direction” for the state, but the attorney general’s stance on sentencing remains murky. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.
Farmers Stand By Popular Weedkiller Roundup Despite Juries’ Decisions On Cancer Link: In the second such ruling of its kind, a U.S. district-court jury in San Francisco this week found that exposure to the glyphosate-based herbicide, caused a man’s cancer after years of spraying weeds on his rural properties. But farmers say they prefer glyphosate to harsher weedkillers such as paraquat and atrazine. Those chemicals tend to linger in soils and don’t break down as quickly as glyphosate, and tend to be regarded as more toxic to humans. Read more from The Wall Street Journal.
Below, check out the full round-up of California Healthline original stories, state coverage and the best of the rest of the national news for the day.
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More News From Across The State
Meet The Man Helping To Shelter Mid-City's Homeless
Papaleo is part of the homeless community living outside San Diego's downtown region and away from its large concentration of shelters and services. To help her and others living on San Diego's mid-city streets, a coalition of community organizations and representatives is bringing resources directly to them. (Mento, 3/20)
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Sonoma County Health Program For The Homeless Under State Scrutiny For Low Enrollment
A Sonoma County program aimed at providing wraparound health services to chronically homeless people is under scrutiny by the state after failing to meet enrollment requirements. The county’s behavioral health division was among 25 agencies selected two years ago to take part in the Whole Person Care pilot program, a federally funded initiative focused on helping the most vulnerable. As part of the program, the county was awarded $16 million over five years.In October, though, the county was put under a “corrective action plan” by the state for not enrolling enough homeless people in the program, despite the county reporting roughly 3,000 homeless people living in the area. (Bordas, 3/21)
Is LA Waiting Too Long To Help The Newly Homeless? A New Report Says Yes
At least 10,900 Los Angeles County residents fall into homelessness every month, according to a report released this week by the research nonprofit Economic Roundtable. While a majority of those people are able to find a new home on their own and avoid long-term homelessness, many are not: about 43 percent remain homeless for a year or more. (Tinoco, 3/21)
The Washington Post:
Homeless, Living In A Tent And Employed: The Changing Face Of Homelessness In The U.S.
As housing costs climb ever higher in booming urban areas, the significant growth in tent encampments nationwide has become one of the most visible signs of the nation’s failure to alleviate widening inequality. In Orange County, Calif., more than 700 people were cleared out of a tent city along the Santa Ana River last year after thousands signed a petition and Anaheim declared of a state of emergency. Seattle, meanwhile, has allowed some tent cities to operate as de facto communities — long-term, regulated, even with phone numbers and addresses. And in the District, the number of encampment cleanups has surged, according to city data, rising from 29 in 2015 to 100 in 2018. (McCoy, 3/22)
San Diego Hospital To Offer Newly-Approved Nasal Spray For Severe Depression
Five years before the Federal Drug Administration approved a novel antidepressant nasal spray called Esketamine, doctors in San Diego were testing it on patients as part of the drug’s clinical trials. ...Esketamine, developed by Johnson & Johnson and approved by the FDA on March 5, is a related drug of the anesthetic and party drug ketamine. (Murphy, 3/21)
Capital Public Radio:
Are Agriculture Officials In California Considering Safer Alternatives For Pesticides? A New Study Say No.
In California, 209 million pounds of pesticides were applied to fields in 2016. Under state law, county agricultural commissioners are required to consider safer alternatives to pesticides restricted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. But that’s not happening, according to a study released this week by researchers from UCLA and the University of Southern California. (Mitric, 3/21)
The Mercury News:
'The V Word' Podcast: Stanford Doctors Podcast For Women
When two Ob/Gyns at Stanford Hospital started a podcast called “The V Word,” it was easy to guess what the “V” stands for. It’s “vagina, vagina, vagina,” as Jennifer Conti and Erica Cahill say at the beginning of each podcast, in which they address everything ranging from postpartum depression to incontinence to sex tech. The topics can be delicate, intimate and sometimes embarrassing. In other words, stuff most women might talk only to their best friends about — if that. (Sumagaysay, 3/21)
How Best To Bring Down Prescription Drug Prices?
A new drug to treat postpartum depression is likely to reach the U.S. market in June, with a $34,000 price tag. The approval of the drug by the Food and Drug Administration comes on the heels of another approval, just two weeks ago, of a different antidepressant, whose retail price will be as much as $6,700 a month. Those giant list prices send shivers through the insurance industry and across the federal government and state governments, which pay for about 40 percent of prescription drugs sold in the United States. (Kodjak, 3/22)
The New York Times:
$1 Billion For Mental Health: The Reality Of De Blasio’s ‘Revolutionary’ Plan
On his now-frequent tours of early presidential primary states, Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken to invoking a less-familiar aspect of his tenure: a nearly $1 billion plan to address mental illness in New York City. Mr. de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, has done the same, presenting the effort as a national model to audiences from Atlanta to Seattle. The mental health initiative, known as ThriveNYC, is crucial to Ms. McCray’s potential as a future political candidate, and has become increasingly important to Mr. de Blasio as he toys with a possible 2020 presidential bid. He now regularly names Thrive as one of his administration’s core achievements. (Goodman, 3/22)
The Washington Post:
VA Is Gearing Up For A Massive Shift Of Health Care To The Private Sector. But Democrats Are Fighting Back.
President Trump’s signature policy for veterans — allowing more of them to shift their health care from the government-run system to private doctors and hospitals — is under attack from newly empowered Democrats and their allies on Capitol Hill. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie is moving quickly to roll out new rules by June that would expand access to private care, especially for veterans in rural and congested areas, if they have a 30-minute drive to receive primary care. (Rein, 3/21)
Blue States Threaten To Drop Family Planning Program Over Trump Abortion Rule
Some Democratic states plan to withdraw from the main federal family planning program if they can’t win a court challenge to stop the Trump administration from steering the money away from health providers who offer abortions or make abortion referrals. Oregon and Washington already have said they would opt out of the Title X program, which steers $286.5 million for birth control and reproductive health services for low-income women, if the new rules take effect in early May. Maryland could soon join them, and other states may follow. They say the new restrictions would undermine medical care for patients, and, in some cases, violate state laws. (Roubein and Ollstein, 3/21)
UPS Eyes In-Home Health Services With U.S. Vaccine Project
United Parcel Service Inc wants to get beyond U.S. doorsteps with a new push into healthcare. The world's largest package delivery firm is preparing to test a U.S. service that dispatches nurses to vaccinate adults in their homes, Reuters has learned, as the company and its healthcare clients work to fend off cost pressures and competitive threats from Amazon.com. (Baertlein and Erman, 3/22)
The New York Times:
A.I. Can Improve Health Care. It Also Can Be Duped.
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved a device that can capture an image of your retina and automatically detect signs of diabetic blindness. This new breed of artificial intelligence technology is rapidly spreading across the medical field, as scientists develop systems that can identify signs of illness and disease in a wide variety of images, from X-rays of the lungs to C.A.T. scans of the brain. These systems promise to help doctors evaluate patients more efficiently, and less expensively, than in the past. (Metz and Smith, 3/21)
The Associated Press:
Glance At What Some State Legislatures Are Doing On Abortion
Mississippi's governor signed into law one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country on Thursday. The bill outlaws abortions after the heartbeat of a fetus can be detected, around roughly the sixth week of a pregnancy. The ban is set to take effect on July 1, but abortion-rights advocates have already pledged to file lawsuits to stop it. Actions taken on abortion by legislatures across the United States. (3/21)
The Associated Press:
Study: About 4 Percent Of Women Are Pregnant When Jailed
About 4 percent of women incarcerated in state prisons across the U.S. were pregnant when they were jailed, according to a new study released Thursday that researchers hope will help lawmakers and prisons better consider the health of women behind bars. The number of imprisoned women has risen dramatically over the past decades, growing even as the overall prison rates decline. (3/21)
The Associated Press:
Monkey Birth A Step To Saving Fertility Of Boys With Cancer
Scientists are closing in on a way to help young boys undergoing cancer treatment preserve their future fertility — and the proof is the first monkey born from the experimental technology. More and more people are surviving childhood cancer, but nearly 1 in 3 will be left infertile from the chemotherapy or radiation that helped save their life. (3/21)
The Associated Press:
Poll: More Americans Say Too Little Spending On Health
A growing majority of Americans want greater government spending on health care, and the increase is being driven by both Democrats and Republicans. That's according to new data from the General Social Survey, a widely respected trend survey that has been measuring views of government spending since the 1970s. An analysis by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and General Social Survey staff reveals that Americans want to spend more money on a wide range of government functions. (3/21)
San Francisco Chronicle:
SF General’s Bills Are So High Because Mayor, Supervisors Said They Could Be
A big question in the developing saga of S.F. General’s billing practices is why the bills are so high in the first place. Regardless of what percentage the insurance companies pay, why is the hospital charging so much? At the heart of the answer is a document called the chargemaster, a long list of supplies, procedures and services the hospital offers that is the starting point for generating a patient’s bill. (Heather Knight, 3/22)
My Daughter Was Murdered But I Oppose The Death Penalty
When my daughter was murdered in Auburn in 1980, the district attorney told me the death penalty was the answer. He said it would heal me, bring me justice and help me close the door on my loss and anger. I would be able to move on, knowing that the man who took my Catherine’s life would lose his. None of that happened. His death sentence didn’t bring me peace. In fact, 39 years after he killed my child, the man sentenced to die for her murder is still alive. (Aba Gayle, 3/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Newsom's Death Penalty Moratorium Isn't Perfect, But Here's Why It Matters
The apparatus of death is being dismantled in California, and hundreds of inmates slated for execution have been granted reprieves. But whether this is anything more than a pause in the insanity of our state’s death penalty system will be up to us. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s bold move to defang the death penalty was a shot across the bow in a state that is deeply divided over capital punishment. (Sandy Banks, 3/17)
The Mercury News:
Repeal California Death Penalty; Not Newsom’s Way
Repealing California’s death penalty is the right thing to do — but not the way Gov. Gavin Newsom is trying to do it. His order suspending imposition of the ultimate punishment was a hypocritical flaunting of the will of the voters, whose decision the governor had previously promised to respect. (3/15)
Los Angeles Times:
Prediabetes Is An Alarming Diagnosis. But Is It A Disease?
Millions of Americans in recent years have received the disturbing news from their doctors that they have a potentially dangerous condition called “prediabetes.” But how alarmed they should be isn’t clear. While everyone agrees that actual diabetes is a serious health issue, prediabetes is still a controversial diagnosis. (Charles Pillar, 3/21)
San Jose Mercury News:
What Rights Should Teens With Anti-Vax Parents Have?
While aggressively fighting vaccine misinformation is key, it will likely take decades to turn the anti-vax cultural tide. This week, New York state introduced legislation allowing teens to vaccinate themselves. Every state that lacks a path to early teen vaccination should follow suit. (Alyssa Burgart, 3/17)
Orange County Register:
Teen Suicides Have Spiked, Particularly In Orange County, But New Habits Can Save Lives
A full year after four Orange County teens took their lives over a three-week period, the Board of Supervisors has decided to give $600,000 to create a suicide prevention program. That’s a good move, yet we are left wondering if faster action might have saved a 13-year-old Aliso Viejo boy who apparently took his life earlier this month. Mind you, several families who lost children to suicide courageously and selflessly agreed to go public for a three-part series I wrote last March about this national epidemic that takes 6,000 lives a year among people age 10 to 24. (David Whiting, 3/18)