Latest From California Healthline:
Doctors at the University of California’s flagship San Francisco hospital are sharply divided over a proposal to join forces with a Catholic-run system that restricts care on the basis of religious doctrine — part of a broader public debate as Catholic hospitals expand their reach. (Jenny Gold, 4/29)
Good morning! A new poll answers the question about which party Americans trust more when it comes to health care. More on that below, but first, here are some of your top California health stories.
Hundreds Of Students, Workers At LA Universities Still Quarantined Over Fear Of Measles Exposure: Students and workers at both UCLA and the California State University at Los Angeles have faced potential exposure to measles. Cal State officials alerted its students and staff that the exposure may have occurred at a campus library last week and requested immunization records from those who were in the building during the window of time. At UCLA, the student infected with measles attended classes at two campus buildings. He did not enter any other buildings while on campus, but the school determined that more than 500 students and staff may have been exposed or come into contact with the sick student. The quarantines could last for up to 21 days.
Twenty-eight adults and 10 children have been diagnosed with measles in California this year, with three from Sacramento County and six in Los Angeles County. According to CDPH, the last large measles outbreak occurred between December 2014 and April 2015 in connection with Disneyland. At least 131 Californians were infected, and the outbreak spread to six other states as well as Mexico and Canada.
Civil Rights Groups Challenges UCSF’s Expanding Partnership With Catholic Hospital Chain: Americans United for the Separation of Church and State say the affiliation between UCSF and Dignity Health violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against government endorsement of religion. A Dignity spokesman has said the Catholic hospitals require UCSF doctors to sign God-affirming agreements that prohibit medical care that violate the hospitals’ religious beliefs. Depending on the hospital, prohibited care can include abortions, tubal ligations, hysterectomies, sterilizations, miscarriage care, gender surgery and contraceptive counseling. On Thursday, UCSF spokeswoman Jennifer O’Brien said the medical center’s physicians are not required to sign those precise documents. “But they do commit to provide care consistent with those value statements as part of their credentialing and privilege application to practice in Dignity Health’s hospitals. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle and California Healthline.
Following Evacuation Failures During Deadly Wildfires, California Looks To Florida For Tips: Florida has long been besieged by deadly hurricanes that have forced the state to become adept at issuing evacuation orders. Up until recently, warning Californians to flee wildfires has been left solely to local officials for decades, and the alerts often came too late and failed to reach a large number of residents. In March, though, California launched its first guidelines for local officials to follow during evacuations. The Florida Division of Emergency Management has used similar guidelines for years. California’s new guidance urges communities to rely on a federal warning system, which ensures alerts reach the greatest number of people quickly, usually through cellphones. One of the biggest lessons in the new California guidelines: “Incomplete or imperfect information is not a valid reason to delay or avoid issuing a warning. Time is of the essence.” Read more about evacuations from The Associated Press and about PG&E’s wildfire strategy 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. And have a healthy weekend.
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More News From Across The State
San Francisco Chronicle:
Visiting Mexico, Asking Strangers: Diabetics Scramble For Costly Insulin
A vial of Humalog, a third popular insulin drug, cost $35 in 2001 and by 2015 had risen to $234, according to the Senate committee.And so, worried about cost, diabetics such as Lawson are increasingly seeking new ways to get, give away or exchange insulin cheaply or for free. Some are using unofficial channels on the internet. Others are traveling to Mexico, where pharmacies sell some popular types of insulin for a fraction of their cost in the United States. (Ho, 4/27)
UC Davis Professor Close To Human Trials Of Nonaddictive Pain Drug
UC Davis Professor Bruce Hammock has spent a 50-year career studying insects. He probably wouldn’t be the Ph.D. considered most likely to shake up the multibillion-dollar prescription painkiller market. Nonetheless, he has developed a medication for chronic pain that he said has proved both effective and non-addictive in animal trials. (Anderson, 4/29)
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Memorial Hospital To Pay $3.8 Million In Medical Malpractice Settlement
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who has been in a coma since 2015, when she went into cardiac arrest in an emergency room waiting area after being discharged. Cynthia Gutierrez’s family claimed hospital staff disregarded signs she was experiencing heart failure when she came to the emergency room with labored breathing and a known history of diabetes and kidney failure, according to allegations outlined in a complaint filed in October 2016 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. (Johnson, 4/26)
Sacramento County Jail To Build New Medical Ward In $89M Expansion
Sacramento County’s jail is set for a major expansion, as its Elk Grove facility adds an $89.3 million medical and mental health ward to accommodate the increase in inmates diverted from state prisons to county jails in recent years. On Tuesday, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors authorized the county to start receiving bids for the seven-building, 86,000-square-foot project next to the existing Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center. (Yoon-Hendricks, 4/26)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Community Resource Center Completes Remodel
A five-month, $582,000 renovation project at the Health And Human Services Agency’s Ramona Community Resource Center is completed and operations have resumed at 1521 Main St. Staff temporarily housed at a neighboring office in the same complex as the sheriff’s Ramona station have returned and began serving customers at the remodeled center April 22. Services offered by the Community Resource Center include public assistance programs such as CalWORKS welfare-to-work temporary assistance, CalFresh Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, and Medi-Cal health care . Additional services include public health immunizations and behavioral health services. (Gallant, 4/29)
CA Scientists Say Their Test Spots Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Researchers at Stanford University and UC Irvine appear close to giving people with chronic fatigue syndrome something they have wanted for decades: a biological test that diagnoses their disease, according to a research paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Those who suffer from the illness have long faced skepticism not only from friends and family but even from the medical community because there is no diagnostic test that can flag the illness formally known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. (Anderson, 4/29)
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
At Napa Forum, Retired Athletes, Medical Experts Warn Of Head Injuries
Congressman Mike Thompson, D-Napa, last week hosted a Healthy Athletes Town Hall at Napa Valley College for young people, coaches and parents. Joined by former professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer of Sonoma County, Analy grad and former 49ers center Ben Lynch, Kaiser Permanente sports medicine doctor Robert Neid and nutritionist RosaLee Kamper, Thompson’s panel offered advice for the young boxers, wrestlers, cyclists and other athletes in the room. Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, has worked to help other veterans suffering traumatic brain injuries. He also enjoys cycling and watched the rise of performance-enhancing drugs damage the sport’s reputation and ruin some cyclists’ careers. (Carter, 4/27)
Life After Driving: How California Seniors Are Rethinking Getting Around
Innovations in transportation technology such as app-based ride hailing and autonomous vehicles offer great promise. But they leave many questions about how individuals and public agencies can make transportation options more accessible to the state’s diverse population of baby boomers. (McCarty Carino, 4/29)
Aging California Seniors Will Need Caregivers, And Family Is First Up
Experts say the state is not prepared to support them as they age and there will not be enough caregivers as the number of senior swells and younger Californians numbers shrinks. State officials are working on a plan for aging, and senior researchers and experts are trying to get ahead of the coming challenges. (Aguilera, 4/29)
The Associated Press:
AP-NORC Poll: Democrats Are Trusted More On Health Care
Americans are giving Democrats a clear edge on health care as the 2020 presidential race gears up, according to a new poll that also finds many Republicans backing one of their competitors' top ideas: a government insurance plan people can buy into. But support for the plan that has attracted the most attention, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All," is concentrated mostly among Democrats. (4/26)
The Associated Press Fact Check:
Trump's Follies On Immigration, Health Care
[Trump's] not protecting health coverage for patients with pre-existing medical conditions. The Trump administration instead is pressing in court for full repeal of the Affordable Care Act — including provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions from health insurance discrimination. Trump and other Republicans say they'll have a plan to preserve those safeguards, but the White House has provided no details. (4/28)
Trump Tells Americans: Go Get Your Measles Vaccination
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday urged Americans to protect themselves with the measles vaccination as the number of cases of the once-eradicated disease in the United States hit the highest levels since 2000. The growing outbreak in pockets across the country has triggered multiple public health efforts seeking to limit exposure to measles, including quarantines at two California universities. (4/26)
The New York Times:
Religious Objections To The Measles Vaccine? Get The Shots, Faith Leaders Say
The measles outbreak in the United States is now the largest since the disease was declared eliminated here 19 years ago. The return of this scourge has been driven by one factor in particular: misinformation, spread by vaccine critics, that scares parents into not immunizing their children. Along with rumors that vaccines cause autism or that the trace amounts of mercury and aluminum in them are dangerous — falsehoods that were long ago debunked — have come innuendos aimed at deeply religious parents. (McNeil, 4/26)
The New York Times:
Trump Repeats A False Claim That Doctors ‘Execute’ Newborns
President Trump revived on Saturday night what is fast becoming a standard, and inaccurate, refrain about doctors “executing babies.” During a more than hourlong speech at a rally in Green Bay, Wis., Mr. Trump admonished the Democratic governor, Tony Evers, for vetoing a Republican bill that could send doctors to prison for life if they fail to give medical care to children born alive after a failed abortion attempt. The comments are the latest in a long string of incendiary statements from the president on abortion. (Cameron, 4/28)
McConnell Plan To Hike Smoking Age Could Be Win For Tobacco Companies
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s push to raise the legal smoking age to 21 sounds like a victory for public health. But anti-tobacco advocates fear McConnell and the tobacco industry may use the bill to block other, more proven measures to reduce youth smoking. McConnell pledged last week to introduce legislation to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, calling it a "top priority" when the Senate returns from recess in late April. The move quickly drew surprising enthusiasm from cigarette and vaping manufacturers, who pledged to throw their considerable weight behind his initiative. (Rayasam, Pradhan and Owermohle, 4/28)
The New York Times:
In Washington, Juul Vows To Curb Youth Vaping. Its Lobbying In States Runs Counter To That Pledge.
For months, Juul Labs has had a clear, unwavering message for officials in Washington: The e-cigarette giant is committed to doing all it can to keep its hugely popular vaping products away from teenagers. But here in Columbia, the South Carolina capital, and in statehouses and city halls across the country, a vast, new army of Juul lobbyists is aggressively pushing measures that undermine that pledge. (Kaplan, 4/28)
The Wall Street Journal:
NIH Blocks Two Doctors From Speaking Out To Investigators
The National Institutes of Health, the U.S. government’s premier health research agency, is refusing to allow two of its doctors to respond to government investigators looking into the quality of a continuing clinical trial of new blood-infection treatments on thousands of patients, according to NIH documents and multiple interviews. The resulting tensions within the NIH have pitted the office of the agency’s director, Francis Collins, against an internal NIH committee of 24 scientists, who are raising questions over the freedom researchers are afforded to critique the work of colleagues. (Burton, 4/28)
The New York Times:
Guantanamo Bay As Nursing Home: Military Envisions Hospice Care As Terrorism Suspects Age
Nobody has a dementia diagnosis yet, but the first hip and knee replacements are on the horizon. So are wheelchair ramps, sleep apnea breathing masks, grab bars on cell walls and, perhaps, dialysis. Hospice care is on the agenda. More than 17 years after choosing the American military base in Cuba as “the least worst place” to incarcerate prisoners from the battlefield in Afghanistan, after years of impassioned debates over the rights of the detainees and whether the prison could close, the Pentagon is now planning for terrorism suspects still held in the facility to grow old and die at Guantánamo Bay. (Rosenberg, 4/27)