- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Cities Begin To Count The Scars Of Childhood, And Try To Prevent The Damage
- Sacramento Watch 1
- Drug Transparency Bills: 'First Step' In Right Direction Or 'Feel Good Legislation'?
- Veterans Health Care 1
- Veterans Who Experience Military Sexual Trauma More Likely To Be Homeless, Report Finds
- Public Health and Education 2
- At The Heart Of An Outbreak: How Parents And Doctors In Brazil Are Coping With Zika
- Companies To Pay $78M To Clean Up Groundwater Tainted With Toxic Chemicals
Latest From California Healthline:
A class action lawsuit in Los Angeles and a task force in Memphis both try to counter the “adverse childhood events” that impair health and well-being. (Sarah Varney, 4/21)
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Summaries Of The News:
California's expansion of the program will start in May. The move is estimated to cost $40 million the first year and about $132 million annually in the future.
The Sacramento Bee:
Medi-Cal Set To Expand Coverage To Undocumented Children
Home to more immigrants than any other state, California will be the largest in the nation to cover undocumented low-income children, joining Washington, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. The expansion, effective next month, was approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in the October 2015 state budget. (Caiola, 4/20)
The Desert Sun:
California Readies To Give Health Care To Undocumented Kids
Another big expansion of California’s low-income health plan is expected to take effect next month when the state extends full Medi-Cal benefits to low-income undocumented children. (Newkirk, 4/20)
Medi-Cal For Immigrant Kids In US Illegally Starts In May
Starting next month, California will become the first state in the nation to make its version of Medicaid available to children in the U.S. illegally. (Aguilera, 4/21)
Experts weigh in on the bills moving through the legislature.
Can Transparency Drive Down Drug Prices?
Two bills moving through the state legislature would require more transparency around prescription drug costs. One bill, SB 1010, would obligate drug manufacturers to notify health plans if they were going to increase the wholesale cost of a drug by at least 10 percent during any 12-month period and justify those increases. Another bill, AB 2463, would require insurance plans to inform consumers how much they will pay for a drug and how much their health plan paid for the drug. (Plevin, 4/20)
The doctor-owned Bay Area Surgical Management is accused of fraudulently billing millions of dollars. In other court news, Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences is being sued over heart valve devices and Sunnyvale-based Intuitive Surgical settled a lawsuit over a botched surgery.
The San Jose Mercury News:
South Bay Physician-Owned Surgical Company Slapped With $37.4 Million Judgment
It once billed an insurance company $66,000 for a bunion repair, but a South Bay surgical company now faces another eye-popping dollar figure: a $37.4 million judgment for defrauding insurance giant Aetna. (Seipel, 4/20)
Boston Scientific Sues Edwards Over Heart Valve Replacement Patents
Boston Scientific Corp has sued a rival medical device company alleging that its replacement heart valve and several related products infringe Boston Scientific patents. Boston Scientific on Tuesday filed separate lawsuits against Irvine, California-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp in the U.S. District Courts for the District of Delaware and the Central District of California. (Pierson, 4/21)
Bay Area News Group:
Sunnyvale-Based Intuitive Surgical Settles Litigation Over Robotic Arms
With a jury weighing its alleged liability, Intuitive Surgical on Wednesday settled a lawsuit brought by a Placer County woman who blamed severe internal injuries suffered during a hysterectomy seven years ago on an early generation of the Sunnyvale-based company's robotic arms. (Kaplan, 4/21)
The technology would allow the company to collect information such as pupil dilation, heartbeat and body temperature to determine the user satisfaction with search results.
Bay Area News Group:
Google Wants To Take Your Temperature And Count Your Heartbeat
Google wants to take your temperature. And count your heartbeat. And watch your frown turn upside-down. The question is, to what end? Google has filed a patent application for technology that would allow it to monitor mobile-device users' vital signs and facial expressions, so it can adjust search results according to the emotional reactions they generate. (Baron, 4/21)
According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 11.8 percent of men who reported military sexual trauma had experienced homelessness over the 5-year period of the study. For women, that number was slightly less at 8.9 percent.
Study: Military Sexual Assault Makes Veterans Twice As Likely To Become Homeless
A report released Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found veterans who experienced sexual assault during their time in the military are more likely to experience homeless in their life than their peers. Using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the study looked at more than 600,000 veterans who have left the military since September 11th 2001. Researchers found victims of what’s called “military sexual trauma” – or MST – are much more than twice as likely to become homeless. (Ismay, 4/20)
A Los Angeles Times reporter takes readers to the frontline of the outbreak.
Los Angeles Times:
On The Frontline Of Brazil’s War With Zika, A Mother’s First Question: ‘How Big Is The Head?’
It’s 7:30 a.m. and the hallway outside the neurosurgeon’s office at the Pedro I Municipal Hospital is filling with mothers and their babies. The women arrive with questions: Will their children ever learn to walk? Will they ever speak? The doctor, Alba Batista, wishes she had answers. She used to see two, maybe three cases of microcephaly a year. But since December, more than 40 newborns with the condition — an abnormally small skull, often with an underdeveloped brain — have shown up at Pedro I. (Zavis, 4/21)
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., senators are hopeful that a Zika funding agreement may be in sight —
The Associated Press:
Senate GOP Shoots For Quick Action On Zika Funding Bill
Democrats say top GOP lawmakers are proposing to partially fund President Barack Obama’s request for money to fight the Zika virus. The $1.1 billion measure circulating Wednesday comes in advance of an Appropriations panel meeting on Thursday and was being worked on with Democrats in hopes of winning their support. The measure has not been finalized and is part of continuing negotiations. The money would be used to try to slow the spread of the Zika virus and develop a vaccine against it. (Taylor, 4/20)
The companies will install a new system to extract and treat the contaminated groundwater outside of the Superfund site.
The Associated Press:
Companies Agree To Spend $78 Million In Groundwater Cleanup
Hundreds of companies have agreed to spend around $78 million on cleaning up groundwater contaminated by toxic chemicals from a Southern California Superfund site, it was announced Wednesday. The consent decree, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, is the latest settlement by companies that between 1976 and 1991 sent tons of hazardous chemicals to the Omega Chemical Corp. site in Whittier or operated the treatment and disposal facility in the eastern Los Angeles suburb. (Jablon, 4/20)
John Martin, a Sacramento Drug Enforcement Administration agent, says the powerful synthetic drug is largely being made in China. The area has had 53 reported cases since the spree started.
Capital Public Radio:
Yolo County Reports Second Fentanyl Death, Regional Death Toll Rises To 13
Yolo County is reporting one more death related to counterfeit pain pills containing fentanyl. This brings up the regional death toll to 13, with 53 known overdoses. (4/20)
In other news from across the state —
The San Francisco Chronicle:
A Year After Hospital Closed, 250,000 In Contra Costa Struggle For Care
The closure of Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo a year ago has left many living in the western part of Contra Costa County struggling to find new ways to get care, as the carcass of the building sits dormant on a concrete landscape. (Colliver, 4/20)
The Ukiah Daily Journal:
Mendocino County Ranked High Again In American Lung Association Clean Air Report
Mendocino County again received high marks for its clean air, according to the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report, released Wednesday. The national report for 2016 looked at ozone and particle pollutants during 2012 to 2014. (Randall, 4/20)
The Bakersfield Californian:
City Council Approves Assisted Living Facility, Points Fingers Over Failed Land Deal
The Bakersfield City Council on Wednesday denied an appeal by residents of a proposed 112-bed assisted living facility in the northeast, but required the developer to test the soil for the fungal spores that cause valley fever and plan for their mitigation. (Douglas, 4/20)
The Desert Sun:
DHS Residents Hope Medical Marijuana Will 'Light ... City Up'
Desert Hot Springs residents, medical marijuana industry representatives, and City Council members gathered Wednesday night for a public forum about the medical marijuana industry. (Ferreira, 4/21)