- California Healthline Original Stories 4
- FDA Wants To Tighten The Screws On Stem Cell Clinics
- What’s Behind Rising Insurance Premiums
- Report: Hungry Teens Often Feel Responsibility To Help Feed The Family
- 'A Very Helpless Feeling:' Caring For Hospice Patients With Dementia
- Sacramento Watch 2
- Legislation On Brown's Desk Poised To Protect Millions From Surprise Medical Bills
- Advocates Push For Bill To Relax Regulations That Limit Midwives' Role
- Public Health and Education 2
- 15 Years Later, 9/11 Responders Face Daunting Health Problems
- Disciplinary Action Against Dr. Sears Roils Fiery Battle Over Vaccinations
Latest From California Healthline:
As more and more clinics offer controversial treatments, especially in California, the agency is seeking to clarify its regulatory standards. (Emily Bazar, 9/12)
California Healthline’s Emily Bazar recently joined a panel hosted by San Francisco’s KALW radio to discuss how consumers can minimize the impact of sharply rising Covered California premiums. Listen to her advice below. (9/12)
After interviewing scores of teenagers, researchers report that many who face hunger are not aware of assistance programs or think they don’t qualify. (Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 9/12)
Dementia complicates pain management in hospice patients because communication is difficult and the cause of pain can be hard to identify, researchers report. (Rachel Bluth, 9/12)
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More News From Across The State
If the bill is signed, patients who go to a covered facility would only be charged in-network fees, no matter who treats them.
Ventura County Star:
People Slammed By Medical Bills
A bill that passed through the California Legislature is designed to block one stream of surprise bills — the flow triggered when people go to hospitals or outpatient centers covered by their insurance companies but are treated by a provider who isn't part of the network. That provider often may be a radiologist, an anesthesiologist, a pathologist or a provider the patient barely knows. If Assembly Bill 72 is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown by the end of September and becomes law, patients who go to a covered facility would only be charged in-network fees, no matter who treats them. (Kisken, 9/11)
There's a severe shortage of OB/GYN personnel in the state, and women's access to care is further hampered by restrictions placed on midwives.
Why Midwives Can’t Help To Ease California’s Shortage Of OB-GYNs
Eight California counties—particularly those in the far north and east—lack even one licensed obstetrician-gynecologist, and 11 other counties have a handful or fewer, according to the state’s Health and Human Services Department. Certified nurse-midwives, who help ease the load, have been arguing that they could do more. But they are restrained by the fact that California is one of just six states requiring them to work only under a physician’s supervision. A bill that would have expanded their reach by permitting nurse-midwives to work independently almost cleared the Legislature, but failed in the waning hours of the legislative session, after fierce last-minute opposition from the doctors’ lobby. (Canto, 9/10)
“Many of them don’t have partners, many don’t have families they’re close with, a lot of them don’t have kids — there’s no one to take care of them as they age and need more help,” Lauren Kabakoff says of "Stonewall Gardens."
Niche In Elder Care: Assisted Living For LGBT Seniors
With the nation’s senior population expected to double in the next 20 years, there’s a growing need for senior services. One niche: the millions of LGBT baby boomers who came from an era when equal rights were only a dream. A new community in Palm Springs is a sign of the changing times. (Napoli, 9/12)
The original target for Ventura's new Community Memorial Hospital was March 2015, but officials are now eyeing the summer of next year for the opening.
Ventura County Star:
Ventura Hospital Project Faces Delays
Delays ranging from steel delivery issues to problems with finding workers have helped [push] the planned opening of Ventura's new Community Memorial Hospital to summer 2017 — almost six years after work began and about two years after the targeted goal. Officials of the Ventura hospital said construction work on the six-story, 250-bed project could be completed as soon as February 2017. The opening likely will come months later because of a transition that involves state licensing, stocking the new hospital with equipment and supplies, and training the staff. (Kisken, 9/9)
For those who rushed in to try to save people after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the toll has been steep. Some are dying, their bodies riddled with cancer, and others haven't even connected their symptoms to the work they did 15 years ago.
Los Angeles Times:
15 Years Later, Sept. 11 Responders Might Be Sick And Not Even Know It
Making the decision to help 15 years ago might end Garrett Goodwin's life early. Goodwin, 39, was one of tens of thousands of people at ground zero right after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A trained medic, he traveled from Tampa, Fla., to New York to volunteer. But now, his lungs are failing him, and doctors say that will lead to his death. Goodwin is one of many volunteers who spent long hours toiling in the World Trade Center ruins, where toxic fumes have left many sick or dead. (Bowen, 9/9)
Opponents of required vaccinations fear the Medical Board's decision to pull the prominent physician's license will spark a witch hunt.
Los Angeles Times:
Accusation Against Prominent Vaccine Skeptic Sparks New Battle Over Immunizations
Dr. Robert Sears is one of the leading voices in the anti-vaccination world, a hero to parents suspicious of childhood immunizations that public health officials say are crucial to preventing disease outbreaks. So when the Medical Board of California announced last week that it was moving to pull the Orange County pediatrician’s medical license, it immediately set the stage for a new battle in the long-running fight over whether schoolchildren should be vaccinated. At the heart of the case is whether Sears used sound medical practices when he wrote a doctor’s note for a 2-year-old boy, saying he should have “no more routine childhood vaccines for the duration of his childhood.” (Lin II, Karlamangla and Xia, 9/12)
Experts Say Dr. Sears Offers Bad Advice On Vaccine Exemptions
The state medical board is accusing prominent Orange County pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears of "gross negligence" for improperly excusing a 2-year-old child from immunizations in 2014. Meanwhile, experts say Sears has also been publicly peddling false medical reasons that supposedly would exempt children from vaccinations. In July 2015, following the signing of California’s new vaccination law, Sears -- who was a vocal opponent of the measure as it moved through the legislature -- advised his nearly 62,000 Facebook followers on how they might get a medical exemption from vaccines. (Plevin, 9/9)
The Fresno chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is providing training for teachers as part of its NAMI Homefront education and support program.
New Program Offers PTSD Help For Fresno Families Of Service Members, Veterans
It’s not uncommon for spouses and children of service members and veterans to experience psychological distress themselves. A 2014 study of military caregivers by the Rand Corp. found they are four times more at risk for depression compared to the general population. And military caregivers need education and training about how to care for someone with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and other war wounds. (Anderson, 9/11)
In other news from across the state —
Leprosy Suspected In 2 California Kids: How Could They Contract It?
This week, officials in Riverside Country (which is near Los Angeles) said they are investigating the suspected cases of leprosy, now usually called Hansen's disease, at an elementary school in the area. Nursing staff at the school first notified officials about the possible infections on Sept. 2, but it will take several weeks to confirm them, according to the Los Angeles Times.Cases of Hansen's disease in the United States are rare, but they do occur, with about 100 to 200 cases typically reported each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Rettner, 9/9)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
A Dose Of Hope From Alzheimer's Researchers
Some of the nation's top Alzheimer's researchers and clinicians helped dispel the mystery of the disease at an educational forum held Saturday morning at the University of San Diego. About 700 people watched as philanthropist Darlene Shiley, who lost her mother to Alzheimer's and husband to another form of dementia, moderated the panel of experts from UC San Diego, Scripps Health, the University of Southern California and the Mayo Clinic. (Fikes, 9/10)
Across the state, 108 people have been infected with the virus this year, and four have died.
Los Angeles Times:
First Two West Nile Virus Deaths Reported This Year In Los Angeles County
Health officials have confirmed this year’s first two deaths from West Nile virus in Los Angeles County and are calling on all residents to remain vigilant during peak mosquito season in Southern California. Two men, both from the San Fernando Valley, were hospitalized in August and died from West Nile-associated encephalitis, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The department described the men as elderly but did not release their names, ages or other identifying information. (Xia, 9/10)
Los Angeles Daily News:
2 San Fernando Valley Men Die Of West Nile Virus
Two elderly men from the San Fernando Valley are the first Los Angeles County residents to die this season of complications from West Nile virus, public health officials announced Friday. Both men were hospitalized in August and died of West Nile virus-related encephalitis, according to an alert. Their deaths cast a somber reminder that the mosquito-borne virus can be deadly, especially among older adults or those with compromised immune systems, said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim health officer for Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health. (Abram, 9/9)
The Mercury News:
Milpitas: West Nile Virus Positive Mosquitoes Detected Again
The Santa Clara County Vector Control District has confirmed that adult mosquitoes collected from the 95035 ZIP code area of the city of Milpitas have tested positive for West Nile virus. The detection of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus has prompted the scheduling of a mosquito re-fogging in the southern portion of the treated area and a new fogging treatment in the northern portion in an effort to prevent human cases of West Nile virus. Weather permitting, the ground fogging operations are scheduled for 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14, and will conclude a few hours later. (Bauer, 9/9)
The accountable care organization model was devised by Dartmouth researchers, and Dartmouth's health system did save money, but not enough to avoid penalties. “We would have loved to stay in the federal program, but it was just not sustainable," said Dr. Robert A. Greene, a vice president with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System.
The New York Times:
Dropout By Dartmouth Raises Questions On Health Law Cost-Savings Effort
In its quest to remake the nation’s health care system, the Obama administration has urged doctors and hospitals to band together to improve care and cut costs, using a model devised by researchers at Dartmouth College. But Dartmouth itself, facing mounting financial losses in the federal program, has dropped out, raising questions about the future of the new entities known as accountable care organizations, created under the Affordable Care Act. (Pear, 9/10)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
Health Care Providers Scramble To Meet New Disaster Readiness Rule
An estimated 72,315 American health care providers and suppliers — from hospitals and nursing homes to dialysis facilities and care homes for those with intellectual disabilities — will have a little over a year to meet federal disaster preparedness requirements completed this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The new rule is aimed at preventing the severe breakdown in patient care that followed disasters including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, while also strengthening the ability to provide services during other types of emergencies, such as pandemics and terrorist attacks. (Fink, 9/9)
The Washington Post:
Clinton Falls Ill During 9/11 Memorial Service In New York
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton fell ill during a memorial service marking the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, leaving abruptly and inserting new speculation about her health into a presidential campaign in which Republican Donald Trump has called her weak and unfit. Video of Clinton’s hurried departure from the Ground Zero memorial showed her buckling and stumbling as she got into her van. Clinton’s campaign issued a statement from her doctor later Sunday revealing that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier. (Phillip and Gearan, 9/11)
The Wall Street Journal:
Google Parent And Sanofi Name Diabetes Joint Venture Onduo
French pharmaceutical group Sanofi SA is joining with Verily Life Sciences LLC, a unit of Google parent Alphabet, to create a joint venture called Onduo to research diabetes treatments.“ Onduo’s mission is to help people with diabetes live full, healthy lives by developing comprehensive solutions that combine devices, software, medicine, and professional care to enable simple and intelligent disease management,” Sanofi and Verily, which was previously known as Google Life Science, said. (Landauro, 9/12)
The Surprising History Of The War On Superbugs
Bacteria that have evolved to withstand antibiotics kill 700,000 people each year, and ever more powerful strains are spreading around the world. Researchers are worried that we will enter a post-antibiotic age, in which we are infected by bacteria that can defeat every drug medicine has to offer. Next week, the United Nations will convene a high-level meeting to coordinate the global fight against these invisible enemies. (Zimmer, 9/12)