Latest From California Healthline:
Many plastic surgeons don’t participate in health plans, even when providing emergency care at a hospital. Too often that catches patients off guard. (Michelle Andrews, 5/6)
Good morning! California public health officials are on the lookout for the next measles outbreak cluster, even in areas that haven’t seen any cases this year. More on that below, but first, here are some of your other top California news stories of the day.
The Flip-Side Of Title X Funding Controversy: Calif. Anti-Abortion Facility Takes Heat Over Contraception Language In Rules: The nonprofit family planning organization Obria Group is one of California’s two main grant recipients of 2019 Title X funds. Based in Orange County, Calif., Obria promotes itself as a health network offering an alternative approach to family planning and has grown from three centers and a mobile van into a chain with 30 clinics in five states. Obria was turned down for Title X funding in 2018 because it didn't provide birth control other than natural family planning and abstinence, but was given money under the Trump administration. Now that it’s receiving a grant, other faith-based clinics are accusing it of compromising its principles for being associated with a program that has rules about birth control. Obria leaders say they have not intentions of actually offering contraceptives, but critics aren’t satisfied with that promise. The requirement to offer contraception was enough to convince Christine Accurso, executive director of Pro Women’s Healthcare Centers, another faith-based provider, to steer clear of seeking Title X funding. “I think the Obria in a rough place because Title X is written for contraception,” Accurso said. She said she was open to the possibly “they found their way around” the requirement, but there’s no evidence of that. Read more from Politico.
Job-Security Concerns Stemming From Outsourcing Plans And Partnership Between UC Davis Health, Kindred Healthcare Help Fuel System-Wide UC Walk-Out: AFSCME 3299 and UPTE-CWA 9119, which represent 39,000 University of California workers, have for months been voicing job security fears over a UC Davis Health plan to team up with Kindred Healthcare to build an in-patient rehabilitation hospital at the Aggie Square development in Sacramento. UC’s outsourcing plans for its IT services will also put jobs in peril, the union says. The upcoming one-day strike will be the fifth job action the unions have organized against the UC in the last 12 months. The UC and union bargaining teams have been negotiating for two years, and contracts expired a little more than a year ago. Both unions have rejected offers of 3 percent annual increases in wages. Read more from the Sacramento Bee.
California Has Seen Alarming Spike Of Opioid Overdoses Behind Bars: The number of inmates treated for drug or alcohol overdoses jumped from 469 to 997 from 2015 to 2018 — a 113% increase. That spike has come despite the state pouring millions into technologies designed to block contraband at prison entry points. Total overdoses surged across the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s 36 institutions, which hold more than 126,000 people. But a review of data provided by California Correctional Health Care Services shows the uptick was especially severe in a handful of places. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Meanwhile, advocates say that expanding nurses’ authority is a crucial step in fighting the opioid crisis. In California, the role of nurses is limited: They can prescribe the lifesaving medication buprenorphine, but only under the oversight of a doctor. And California is the only Western state with this doctor supervision requirement as it applies to that medication. Read more from KQED.
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
Los Angeles Times:
Gov. Gavin Newsom Faces A Big Political Test As He Shapes His First California Budget
The government’s coffers are full of taxpayer cash, its reserve accounts are stocked to weather an economic slowdown and there’s general consensus on new help for the state’s youngest and most vulnerable residents. A major political victory would seem all but assured as he prepares to unveil a revised state budget this week. (Myers, 5/6 )
Capital Public Radio:
Medical Cannabis Patients Could Use The Drug At Hospitals Under New California Bill
The California Hospital Association says they don’t oppose medical cannabis, but that they are concerned about legal risks. They’re opposing Senate Bill 305 unless amended. The conflict with national cannabis policy could lead to a loss of federal funds for some hospitals. Still, some doctors and nurses are exploring the use of cannabis to reduce nausea, stem anxiety and improve sleep for patients with cancer and other illnesses. (Caiola, 5/3)
Los Angeles Times:
UC's Planned Partnership With A Catholic Hospital Chain Could Be Unconstitutional
UCSF, pleading that it is running out of treatment space, is proposing a drastic expansion of this relationship, including the addition of a fourth Dignity hospital, the Catholic Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. Although the new arrangement would plainly be more comprehensive than the old, UCSF administrators have been close-mouthed about the details. The plan “has not been finalized,” UCSF spokeswoman Jennifer O’Brien told me this week. (Hiltzik, 5/3)
CA Adults Near Outbreaks May Need Another Measles Vaccine: CDC
Most of the measles cases during the recent historic outbreak have occurred in children, but adults in high risk environments – like UCLA or California State University, Los Angeles, where people were exposed to the virus – may need to get another dose of the vaccine, according to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults born before 1957, when the vaccine was introduced, are assumed to have immunity from the disease. But adults born between 1957 and 1989 may have received only one, potentially weaker, dose or no doses. (Jasper, 5/3)
Measles: Fresno County CA Prepares For Possible Outbreak
As California deals with the spread of measles, Fresno County officials reported Friday they haven’t had any confirmed cases this year. But local officials are staying busy with testing suspected cases and preparing for a potential outbreak. (Amaro, 5/3)
Los Angeles Times:
Orange County Infant And UC Irvine Student Are Latest Measles Cases Reported In Southern California, Officials Say
In Los Angeles County, seven residents have been afflicted with the illness as well as five nonresidents traveling through the region, according to a May 2 statement from the county’s public health department. UC Irvine is not the only Southland college campus affected. The disease has touched students and staffers at UCLA and Cal State L.A. as well. (Jennings, 5/4)
Measles Outbreak And Vaccines: What To Know Before You Travel
Health officials across California are urging people to ensure they are vaccinated against the measles, particularly before traveling abroad. Eight Bay Area jurisdictions including Alameda County, the City of Berkeley, Contra Costa County, Marin County, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County and Solano County joined last week in a public push to spread information about measles risks and traveling while unvaccinated. (Jasper, 5/6)
The New York Times:
A Pregnant Woman Avoids Transit, Parents Battle In Court And Other Tales Of Measles Anxiety
A 40-year-old pregnant woman who fears catching measles on the New York City subway walks eight miles round trip from her home in Brooklyn to her job in Manhattan. Two New Jersey parents who don’t agree about vaccines and are now getting divorced have asked a judge to make a ruling on if their children should be vaccinated. As measles cases in the United States have risen to 700, affecting 22 states, Americans who are fearful the disease will reach them are taking strong measures to defend themselves. (Moore, 5/3)
Exclusive: Trump Administration Proposal Would Make It Easier To Deport Immigrants Who Use Public Benefits
The Trump administration is considering reversing long-standing policy to make it easier to deport U.S. legal permanent residents who have used public benefits, part of an effort to restrict immigration by low-income people. A Department of Justice draft regulation, seen by Reuters, dramatically expands the category of people who could be subject to deportation on the grounds that they use benefits. Currently, those legal permanent residents who are declared to be a "public charge," or primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, can be deported - but in practice, this is very rare. (5/3)
Booker: I Support Medicare For All, But I'm A 'Pragmatist'
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Sunday said he supports the progressive "Medicare for All" health care plan, but noted that he is a "pragmatist" who is interested in looking for more "immediate" reforms to the system. "I stand by supporting 'Medicare for All' but I’m also that pragmatist," Booker, a 2020 presidential candidate, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." "I’m going to find the immediate things that we can do. I’m telling you right now we’re not going to pull health insurance from 150 million Americans that have private insurance, who like their insurance." (Birnbaum, 5/5)
The Wall Street Journal:
In Reversal, NIH To Allow Doctors To Speak To Investigators
The leadership of the National Institutes of Health has reversed course and will allow two senior doctors to speak with federal investigators regarding patient-safety issues in a nationwide trial of treatment for the bloodstream infection sepsis. The NIH, the U.S. government’s premier health-research agency, has been blocking the two critical-care doctors from speaking with government investigators about safety issues in the study of 2,320 patients. The NIH’s stance, which has led to a dispute with dozens of its senior researchers over medical freedom of speech, was detailed by The Wall Street Journal earlier this week. An NIH spokeswoman said Friday the NIH has reversed its position. (Burton, 5/3)
With Alzheimer's Drugs Still Elusive, Scientists Now Look Beyond Amyloid
Scientists are setting a new course in their quest to treat Alzheimer's disease. The shift comes out of necessity. A series of expensive failures with experimental drugs aimed at a toxic protein called amyloid-beta have led to a change in approach. The most recent disappointment came in March, when drugmaker Biogen and its partner Eisai announced they were halting two large clinical trials of an amyloid drug called aducanumab. (Hamilton, 5/3)
The Washington Post:
Spotlight Shifts To Johnson & Johnson As First Major Opioid Trial Nears In Oklahoma
Johnson & Johnson, one of the world’s largest health-care conglomerates, nurtures a family-friendly image as it sells Band-Aids and baby shampoo, soaps and skin creams. “We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well,” reads a sentence in the company credo, written in 1943 by Robert Wood Johnson, a member of the company’s founding family. But, by connecting it to an epidemic that has ravaged the country for two decades, Oklahoma’s attorney general plans to expose another side of the company when the first major state trial of the opioid era begins later this month. (Bernstein, 5/4)
The Washington Post:
Is Autism A Medical Condition Or Just A Differnce? The Question Is Causing A Vitriolic Divide.
This year, London’s Southwark Playhouse announced the cast of a new play, “All in a Row.” It was instantly clear this would not be a typical family drama. The play unfolds the night before social services separates a boy named Laurence from his family. Unlike the other three characters, Laurence, a nonverbal autistic and sometimes aggressive 11-year-old, would be portrayed by a child-size puppet. When the play opened, a reviewer for the Guardian newspaper awarded it four stars, saying it had “warmth and truth.” On Twitter and beyond, theatergoers also offered praise. (Opar, 5/5)