- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Single-Payer Issue Drives Dollars Into Gubernatorial Campaign
- Health Care Personnel 2
- USC's Board Of Trustees Feeling The Heat After Supporting University's President Amid Gynecologist Controversy
- Increase In Demand On Health Care Services Creating Provider Shortage Despite Flood Of Physician Assistants
- Courts 2
- Despite Courts' Rulings, For Now, Aid-In-Dying Law Will Remain In Place
- Another Jury Rules Against Johnson & Johnson In Latest Lawsuit Tied To Safety Of Company's Talc-Based Powder
- Public Health and Education 1
- Diabetes Treatment That's Been Called A Scam Resulted In High Blood Sugar, 'Zombie-Like State,' Patient Claims
- National Roundup 1
- Reigniting Health Law Repeal Just Before Midterms? It Might Not Be That Far-Fetched.
Latest From California Healthline:
Money is streaming into the campaign from health care interests with a stake in whether California adopts a government-run, universal-coverage system. (Harriet Rowan and Alex Leeds Matthews, 5/25)
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Summaries Of The News:
There's been a growing cry for President C.L. Max Nikias to step down after it was revealed USC had known for years about misconduct allegations against the campus' longtime gynecologist. But, "trustees believe Max Nikias, given the right circumstances, is the right person to lead this institution," one member said.
Los Angeles Times:
Pressure Grows On Board Of Trustees Amid USC Gynecologist Scandal
USC's large and powerful Board of Trustees is coming under growing pressure to provide a stronger hand as the university faces a crisis over misconduct allegations against the campus' longtime gynecologist that has prompted calls for President C.L. Max Nikias to step down. Allegations that Dr. George Tyndall mistreated students during his nearly 30 years at USC have roiled the campus, with about 300 people coming forward to make reports to the university and the Los Angeles Police Department launching a criminal investigation. USC is already beginning to face what is expected to be costly litigation by women who say they were victimized by the physician. (Parvini, Elmahrek and Pringle, 5/24)
“If we continue along our current path, more and more Californians will need to visit the emergency room for conditions like asthma, ear infections or flu because they lack a primary care provider,” said Janet Coffman, one of four authors of a new UCSF report on providers.
California Sees Growth Among Physician Assistants But Still Faces Primary Care Shortage
The number of physician assistants in California jumped by 22 percent between 2012 and 2017, but despite the healthy growth in clinicians, research shows the state remains on track to experience a shortfall in primary-care providers in 2025. ...Physician assistants are certified to provide basic medical care, and they can work autonomously in primary care or specialties as long as a physician is available when needed. (Anderson, 5/25)
An appellate court issued a ruling this week that upheld an earlier decision to overturn the law. However, the court gave state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and other parties time to "show cause" — that is, provide more arguments as to why the court should grant the stay and suspend the lower court ruling.
Orange County Register:
California’s Assisted Death Law To Remain In Place Until Appellate Court Process Is Concluded
The End of Life Option Act, which gives terminally ill Californians the right to end their own lives with lethal drugs, will remain in place until the court of appeal makes a final decision on the matter, and that could take several weeks. On May 15, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia issued a ruling that overturned the law and said the legislature violated the state’s constitution by passing the right-to-die law during a special session that was limited to health care issues. (Bharath, 5/24)
The California jury also asked if it was within the court's power to order a cancer warning label added to the product, but the judge said no.
The Associated Press:
Jury Recommends $25M In Johnson & Johnson Lawsuit
A California jury delivered a $25.7 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed she developed cancer by using the company’s talc-based baby powder. Jurors in Los Angeles recommended $4 million in punitive damages Thursday after finding the company acted with malice, oppression or fraud. A day earlier, the panel called for $21.7 million in compensatory damages for plaintiff Joanne Anderson, who suffers from mesothelioma, a lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. (Weber, 5/24)
J&J Jury Asks Judge To Slap Cancer Warning Label On Baby Powder
Jurors weighing how to punish Johnson & Johnson in a lawsuit asked a judge if they could force the company to warn consumers that its Johnson’s Baby Powder could be contaminated with asbestos, according to the law firm that won the case against the health-care giant. After the judge said no, the jury awarded $4 million in punitive damages Thursday to Joanne Anderson, a 68-year-old woman who claimed her deadly cancer was caused by asbestos in J&J’s baby powder. A day earlier the jury had awarded $21.7 million to Anderson, finding J&J 67 percent responsible for her mesothelioma. (Fisk, 5/25)
Sacramento lawyer G. Ford Gilbert's infusion procedure has been criticized as modern-day snake oil. Doctors at one of Gilbert's clinics told Meghan Lynch not to tell any endocrinologist she was getting Trina treatments.
San Diego Woman Says Controversial Diabetes Treatment Endangered Her Health
A San Diego woman says she was put at risk of hospitalization last year after receiving a series of insulin infusions at Dr. James Novak’s Trina Health clinic in Pacific Beach. The woman and her endocrinologist said the infusions spiked her blood sugar to dangerously high levels. The nation has a limited supply of healthcare dollars to spend on drugs and services, which is why the government and health plans require scientific evidence of patient benefit. This is especially important for the 30.3 million people in the U.S. with diabetes, whose medical costs in 2012 totaled $245 billion.Leadership at Scripps Health started an investigation of Novak’s practice when they learned about the incident, the endocrinologist said. And the founder of the Trina infusion procedure, Sacramento lawyer G. Ford Gilbert, faces federal criminal charges related to his network of clinics. (Clark, 5/25)
The health care giant is slowly expanding its footprint in downtown Sacramento. The company has also signed on to build a medical center on 18 acres in the Sacramento railyard development.
Public Will Get First Look At Kaiser's New Downtown Sacramento Medical Offices June 2
Kaiser Permanente is planning an open house at its new medical offices in downtown Sacramento facility on June 2, two days ahead of when staff members at the facility start offering services such as primary care and pediatric office visits, women's health, oncology and prescriptions. Kaiser is slowly expanding its presence in downtown, officially opening its 18,000-square-foot Sports Medicine Center in Golden 1 Center in October 2016. (Anderson, 5/24)
In other news from across the state —
The Desert Sun:
Indio Commission Tables Vote On Psychiatric Clinic In Residential Area
Indio's planning commission on Wednesday tabled a decision on plans for a mental health care facility near JFK Hospital, following a three-hour debate riddled with public concern and plenty of questions from the commissioners. The Indio Behavioral Health Hospital has been designed to provide a total of 140 beds as well as outpatient services. Local residents and commissioners raised concerns about public safety, as the location selected by the applicant — Tennessee-based mental health care provider Acadia Healthcare — borders several residential neighborhoods. (Maschke, 4/24)
Capital Public Radio:
Feds Clarify Use Of Hemp-Based Ingredients In Craft Beer
A San Francisco Brewery is under federal orders to stop producing a beer infused with the hemp-derived extract known as CBD, and the feds are working to clarify how breweries can legally navigate the growing world of cannabis-themed beers. The Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, has a limited number of ingredients that are pre-approved for beer recipes such as barley, hops and yeast. (White, 5/24)
Some Republican lawmakers, worried about Democrats using the health law as a winning issue, want to take another stab at repeal to show voters they haven't given up on it. Others don't want to touch the volatile topic with a ten-foot pole. Meanwhile, states are sounding the alarm over association health plans allowed by the Trump administration, saying they're magnets for scam artists.
The Wall Street Journal:
New Push To Topple Affordable Care Act Looms
A group of Republicans and advocacy groups will soon release a proposal intended to spark another push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, resurrecting a potentially volatile issue in the months before the November midterm elections. The proposal to topple the Obama-era health law and replace it with a plan that would give states more control over health policy is the result of eight months of behind-the-scenes work by a coalition of conservative groups. It reflects the frustration that many GOP lawmakers feel over last year’s failed effort to overturn the ACA, and the challenge Republicans now face in framing a campaign message around health care. (Armour and Hughes, 5/25)
Why States Worry That 'Association Health Plans' Will Be Magnets For Scam Artist
The U.S. Department of Labor is putting the final touches on new rules for the insurance collaborations known as "association health plans." The plans won’t have to include mental health care, emergency services or other benefits required under the Affordable Care Act, making them a cheap alternative to the policies on the health care exchanges. But many states — blue and red — are sounding alarm bells, arguing that by weakening state authority over the plans, the changes would enable unscrupulous operators to sell cheap policies with skimpy or nonexistent benefits. (Ollove, 5/25)
In other national health care news —
Health Insurance Hustle: High Prices Can Boost Profits
Michael Frank ran his finger down his medical bill, studying the charges and pausing in disbelief. The numbers didn't make sense.His recovery from a partial hip replacement had been difficult. He'd iced and elevated his leg for weeks. He'd pushed his 49-year-old body, limping and wincing, through more than a dozen physical therapy sessions. The last thing he needed was a botched bill. (Allen, 5/25)
The New York Times:
They Shared Drugs. Someone Died. Does That Make Them Killers?
In West Virginia, a woman woke after a day of drug use to find her girlfriend’s lips blue and her body limp. In Florida, a man and his girlfriend bought what they thought was heroin. It turned out to be something more potent, fentanyl. She overdosed and died. In Minnesota, a woman who shared a fentanyl patch with her fiancé woke after an overdose to find he had not survived. None of these survivors intended to cause a death. In fact, each could easily have been the one who ended up dead. But all were charged with murder. (Goldensohn, 5/25)
Abortion Rights Group Launches $5M Campaign To Help Dems Take Back The House
A pro-abortion rights group on Thursday announced a $5 million investment in 19 states to flip the House to Democratic control in November. “NARAL was built for this moment. Never before have our rights and freedoms been under greater attack, and never before have we had greater opportunity to fight back and win,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue. (Hellmann, 5/24)
The Associated Press:
Discharged And Jobless: Veterans Seek Change In Hiring Rules
Military veterans who were discharged for relatively minor offenses say they often can't get jobs, and they hope a recent warning to employers by the state of Connecticut will change that. The state's human rights commission told employers last month they could be breaking the law if they discriminate against veterans with some types of less-than-honorable discharges. Blanket policies against hiring such veterans could be discriminatory, the commission said, because the military has issued them disproportionately to black, Latino, gay and disabled veterans. (5/25)
A selection of opinions on health care developments from around the state.
Los Angeles Times:
California Should Fight The Good Fight Against Bad Health Insurance Policies
This one should be a no-brainer: California lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban so-called junk health insurance policies — short-term plans that do not comply with the consumer protections set out in Obamacare. These cheap plans typically offer no protection against the risk of bankrupting medical bills; instead, they cover just a limited number of doctor visits and days in the hospital, with glaring gaps in coverage, huge out-of-pocket costs and comparatively low caps on total benefits. Yet this is precisely the sort of policy that the Trump administration and some congressional Republicans have been promoting as a way to lower health insurance premiums. That's all the more reason for the Legislature to approve the bill imposing a ban, SB 910 by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa). (5/25)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Free Health Care For Unauthorized Immigrants In California? It's Being Considered
Amid escalating tension — and even legal battles — between California and the Trump administration over immigration, an effort is underway to expand health care coverage for unauthorized immigrants in the state. Just last week, President Donald Trump met with state and local leaders from California at the White House, including Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and county supervisor Kristin Gaspard, to applaud them for taking stands to oppose state immigration policies his administration finds unconsitutional. Meanwhile, Politico is describing this health care effort from Democrats in Sacramento as “one of the most daring examples yet of blue-state Democrats thumbing their nose at Trump.” (Abby Hamblin, 5/21)
Los Angeles Times:
I Was A Patient Of USC Gynecologist George Tyndall. The Pelvic Exam He Gave Me Was Anything But Normal
How many pelvic exams does a woman have in her lifetime? Why should one in particular stand out?Even at the time it didn't feel right, back when I was a 25-year-old theater student at USC. Today, 16 years later, I'm a women's health nurse practitioner who has performed thousands of pelvic exams. I'm a person who knows in great detail what is and is not a typical part of an exam. And I know that what happened to me was not normal. (Cate Guggino, 5/23)
Keep State's Drug Discount Program
The Brown administration argues that more money could be brought to the state general fund if 340B were eliminated. ... If Brown’s proposal is approved by the Legislature, it would reduce our workforce and eliminate necessary supportive services. (Britta Guerrero, 5/22)
Restore California's End Of Life Option Act
A California Superior Court judge’s decision to strike down California’s “End of Life Option Act” is wrong as a matter of law. ...he California Court of Appeal should overturn this decision and failing that, the Legislature should quickly reenact it in a manner that addresses the judge’s concerns. (Erwin Chemerinsky, 5/21)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
California's 'End Of Life' Law Is In Jeopardy. Here Is What's At Stake.
The End of Life Option Act is facing a court decision over whether it will remain an option for Californian’s suffering from terminal illness. The legislation which allows patients to request a life-ending drug has been overturned by a Riverside County judge and will face an appeals court next. Here’s what you should know and what’s at stake. (Abby Hamblin, 5/22)
The Mercury News:
What Bay Area Can Do To Solve Its Housing Crisis
San Jose City Councilman Chappie Jones’ regular email newsletter to constituents led with the headline “Housing Crisis Hits District 1’s Very Own.” Following was a personal letter from his legislative and policy director, Christina Pressman, that described why she had made the decision to leave her job and move her family more than 1,200 miles away to Denver. The short answer? Rising rents and housing costs.Unfortunately, this story is far from unique. The lack of affordable housing is displacing residents who call the South Bay home — residents who grew up here, raised their families here, formed community. It’s no longer just those on fixed incomes or who work low wage jobs who are impacted. The housing crisis has made it hard for middle-income families and even families earning six figures to find a decent and affordable place to live. (Leslye Corsiglia and Kevin Zwick, 5/22)
California Could Afford To Lead On Alzheimer's Research
According to current projections, AD will overwhelm the national healthcare system by 2050, affecting 16 million Americans and costing Medicare and Medicaid $1.1 trillion. In the wake of numerous failed clinical trials over the past decade, several large pharmaceutical companies have shuttered their AD research programs, creating a sense of hopelessness. (Kenneth Kosik and Andrew Lo, 5/22)
California Youths Need Alternatives To Incarceration
Arresting and incarcerating youth does nothing to get to the root of their behavior and can have consequences that last a lifetime. It is time for a new approach, grounded in community-based support and healing. (Jessica Nowlan, 5/23)
In Monterey County And California, Worker Safetypriority
In recent weeks the Californian has published a couple of opinion pieces regarding pesticide use and application that assert a lack of pesticide literacy in the fields. We appreciate the opportunity to correct this misperception and detail what is done locally in our fields to educate and protect workers and assure their safety. (Abby Taylor-Silva and Norm Groot, 5/24)
The Hidden Health Crisis Of Toxic Stress
There’s a health crisis lurking in nearly every home. Medical science calls it toxic stress, which can start in childhood and continue over our entire lives. The premise is very simple: When children and teens experience trauma such as physical and emotional abuse or neglect, or parents with addiction or serious mental health issues, the biological effects of that stress can actually harm their growing bodies and brains. These physiological changes can put children at much greater risk for diseases such as asthma and for learning difficulties. In adulthood, they can lead to obesity, heart disease, cancer and stroke. (Chris Padula, 5/24)