Latest From California Healthline:
In California, medical exemptions to skip childhood vaccinations are on the rise. The trend underlines how hard it is to get parents to comply with vaccination laws meant to protect public safety when a small but adamant population of families and physicians seems determined to resist. (Barbara Feder Ostrov, 4/4)
Good morning! Lots of California health news for you today, so let’s get right to it!
California Sues Trump Administration Over Decision To Relax Nutritional Standards For School Lunches: California joined five other states and the District of Columbia to sue the Trump administration, saying the head of the Agriculture Department has acted in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner and that the government is "significantly weakening" nutritional standards for sodium and whole grains. The changes announced last Dec. 6 affect the federally funded National School Lunch Program, which feeds more than 30 million, mostly lower-income children. The changes included cutting in half the amount of whole grains required to be served starting in the 2019-20 school year, affording schools more flexibility to offer noodles, tortillas and other foods containing mainly refined grains. Read more from The Associated Press, Reuters and The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
State’s New Surgeon General Kicks Off Listening Tour With Focus On Childhood Trauma: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who has a specialized expertise in the negative health effects of stemming from childhood trauma, was tapped by Gov. Gavin Newsom as California’s first surgeon general. Burke Harris says that then people consider the impact of this kind of toxic stress, they typically talk about the behavioral and mental health impact, and they don’t commonly think to look at the physical impact. In addition to mental and behavioral health, things like heart disease, chronic lung disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes all may have roots in a child’s attempt to overcome numerous adversities. “My hope is to be able to be part of changing the odds for kids growing up in communities like Oak Park,” she said. “A big part of it is coming out and listening, bringing that back to the governor’s office.” Read more from the Sacramento Bee and Capital Public Radio.
20 Southern California Hospitals Have Been Named Among Top 1,000 In The World: Three of the 20 area hospitals — Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica — are ranked among the top 100 globally. Newsweek and Statista evaluated hospitals using data charting hospital recommendations from peers, patient experience surveys measuring hospital satisfaction, and 25 commonly used measures including patient wait time, care team communication, quality of treatment and employee pay. Meanwhile, five Bay Area hospitals also made the list. Read more from the Orange County Register and the East Bay Times.
Most Agencies Have Tightened Rules On High-Speed Chases That Often End In Gruesome Injuries. Not The Border Patrol, Though: The Border Patrol has granted its agents wide latitude in pursuing high-speed chases when going after people who have entered the country illegally. The practice is highly dangerous and has been curbed by other departments, because it can end in severe injuries and death. In the last four years alone, along the U.S. side of the border, at least 250 people were injured and 22 died after a Border Patrol pursuit. The danger has ramped up in the two years under President Donald Trump, who declared illegal border crossing a national emergency. Read more of the special investigation done by the Los Angeles Times and ProPublica.
In other immigration news out of California, San Diego is suing the Trump administration over its policy changes that the city says have strained its services and the government's largest holding facility, nicknamed "the kennel," has run out of space.
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
CA Baby Sex Surgery Bill: LGBT Groups Support, Doctors Oppose
Who should get to decide what to do when a baby is born with atypical genitals? That’s the question lawmakers are grappling with as they consider a measure that would ban doctors from performing genital-altering surgeries on infants unless deemed medically necessary. Senate Bill 201 is aimed at preventing parents and doctors from operating needlessly on intersex infants. (Sheeler, 4/4)
Capital Public Radio/KXJZ:
Lower The DUI Level To 0.05 Percent? Two California Lawmakers Propose Change To Combat Drunk Driving.
Two anti-drunk-driving bills are sure to spark major debates this year in the California Legislature. Assembly Bill 1713 by Asm. Autumn Burke (D-Marina del Rey) would lower the legal blood alcohol content limit to 0.05, down from the current 0.08. (Adler, 4/3)
Dozens Of Women Sue Sharp Grossmont For Secretly Videotaping Their Surgeries
More than 80 women are suing Sharp Grossmont Hospital and Sharp Healthcare for videotaping them without their consent as they underwent painful and emotional obstetric surgeries, including C-sections. According to the 15-page lawsuit, the operating room cameras in the La Mesa facility captured videos of about 1,800 women between July 17, 2012 and June 30, 2013. Plaintiffs’ attorneys said Sharp officials disclosed those numbers and dates during legal proceedings before the lawsuit was filed. (Clark, 4/2)
Los Angeles Times:
More Than 80 Women Sue San Diego Hospital Alleging Secret Camera Recordings
Patients were filmed without their consent in three private rooms from July 2012 to June 2013, according to the lawsuit filed last week in San Diego County Superior Court. The women allege hidden cameras filmed approximately 1,800 patients undergoing medical procedures — including births, dilatation and curettage to resolve miscarriages, and hysterectomies. (Díaz, 4/3)
The Washington Post:
Sharp Grossmont Hospital In La Mesa Secretly Recorded Women During Medical Procedures, Lawsuit Claims
Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s parent company, Sharp HealthCare, said in a statement that from July 2012 to June 2013, computer monitors with motion-activated cameras were set up to record in three operating rooms in the women’s health center as part of an investigation into medications that had gone missing from drug carts. “Although the cameras were intended to record only individuals in front of the anesthesia carts removing drugs, others, including patients and medical personnel in the operating rooms, were at times visible to the cameras and recorded,” Sharp HealthCare said in the statement. (Bever, 4/4)
The Mercury News:
Highland Hospital Doctors Walk Out Over Labor Dispute
About 50 Highland Hospital resident and intern physicians walked off the job briefly Wednesday afternoon to protest stalled labor negotiations between the Alameda Health System and their union, the Service Employees International Union. Hospital operations carried on as normal Wednesday during the 20-minute walkout, Alameda Health System spokesman Terry Lightfoot said. (Tadayon, 4/3)
The Far-Reach Of The 9th Circuit's Decision To Stand Firm On Landmark Homeless Case
If you're a homeless person with nowhere to go but a city sidewalk, park or other public space, can authorities force you off the street? This week, federal judges again said: "No." That answer — the same given by three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals back in September — came after yet another review of a case that's been making its way through the courts for a decade. (Tinoco, 4/3)
UC Davis Alerted 200 People About March 17 Measles Exposure
UC Davis Health said Wednesday they sent out roughly 200 letters to people who may have been exposed to the highly contagious measles virus March 17 in the emergency department at UCD Medical Center. A young girl taken care of there was diagnosed with the illness. (Anderson, 4/3)
The New York Times:
Scientists Thought They Had Measles Cornered. They Were Wrong.
The measles outbreak that led to a state of emergency in New York’s Rockland County began far away: in an annual Hasidic pilgrimage from Israel to Ukraine. It is emblematic of a series of fierce, sometimes connected measles outbreaks — in places as diverse as Indonesia, the Philippines, Madagascar and Venezuela — that have shaken global health officials, revealing persistent shortcomings in the world’s vaccination efforts and threatening to tarnish what had been a signature public health achievement. (McNeil, 4/3)
The Bakersfield Californian:
Chickens, Other Poultry Banned From September's Kern County Fair
The Kern County Fair has canceled this September's poultry show and live poultry exhibits on the advice of California State Veterinarian Annette Jones. An outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease has had a devastating effect on poultry and poultry producers across the state, she said. Jones, who is also director of Animal Health and Food Safety Services with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, recommended all poultry shows and exhibitions be canceled throughout the state. Nearly a half-million back yard and commercial birds have been euthanized in an effort to combat the highly contagious respiratory virus, which is almost always fatal. (Mayer, 4/3)
Ventura County Star:
Accused Ventura Dentist Appears In Court In College Admissions Scandal
A Ventura dentist accused of making bribes as part of the nationwide college admission scandal was released on $100,000 bond after an initial appearance in a Boston federal court Wednesday. Dr. Homayoun Zadeh, a USC associate professor for 26 years and a research laboratory director, is accused in a federal complaint of one charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The Calabasas resident was one of 13 parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who appeared in court Wednesday afternoon after being accused of conspiring to commit fraud. (Kisken, 4/3)
The New York Times:
House Condemns Trump Administration For Legal Attack On Health Law
The House voted Wednesday to condemn the Trump administration for pushing a federal appeals court to obliterate the Affordable Care Act, and it urged the Justice Department to defend the law in court. The vote, 240-186, was nonbinding, but it documented the House’s support of the health law, which was passed nine years ago without the votes of any Republicans. With the resolution, Democrats sought to put Republicans on the record for failing to come to the defense of the health law’s most popular provisions, such as protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions and mandating coverage for “essential health benefits,” like mental health coverage, prescription drugs, emergency services and maternity care. (Pear, 4/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
Democrats, Trump Try To Keep Spotlight On Health Care
Many Republicans on Capitol Hill were ready to move on Wednesday from pursuing a politically risky health-care overhaul ahead of the 2020 election. But President Trump and the Democrats weren’t quite ready to change the subject. The Democratic-led House on Wednesday passed a resolution criticizing the Trump administration’s actions to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Eight House Republicans, largely from swing districts, defected to support the resolution, which was backed by all but one Democrat. “There’s no backup plan,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), who voted for the resolution. (Peterson and Armour, 4/3)
House Condemns Trump's Bid To Get Rid Of Obamacare
The non-binding resolution is one of is one of several steps Democrats are taking to try to link vulnerable Republicans with the administration's controversial legal strategy while touting their own work to shore up the law. The last time the GOP tried to get rid of Obamacare, it cost them control of the House and several state capitols, and Democrats are working to keep the spotlight on the issue going into the 2020 election cycle. (Ollstein, 4/3)
The Washington Post:
House Votes To Rebuke Trump’s Attempt At A Court-Ordered Destruction Of Obamacare
The resolution passed 240 to 186, with eight Republicans joining the chamber’s Democrats in rebuking Trump. One Democrat, Rep. Collin C. Peterson (Minn.), broke ranks and voted against the resolution. With Wednesday’s vote, Democrats were seeking to put Republicans on record as siding with Trump in his attempt to use the courts to overturn the ACA, known as Obamacare, including politically popular provisions that protect people with preexisting conditions and allow individuals to remain on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26. (Wagner, 4/3)
Senate GOP Alarm Forced Trump’s Latest Health Care Flip-Flop
Trump’s rare reversal acknowledged dual political realities: One is that House Democrats are extremely unlikely to pass any Republican-backed health care bill. Perhaps more important, health care is a toxic issue for Republicans, who have repeatedly failed to unite behind an Obamacare alternative that would necessarily be hugely complex and filled with difficult compromises. Speaking at a GOP fundraiser in Washington on Tuesday night, Trump acknowledged that Democrats — who hammered Republicans on health care in the 2018 midterm elections — enjoy a political advantage on the issue: "They have healthcare right now," Trump said. "We have to take that away from them." Republican leaders said that the campaign for Trump to roll back his pledge stemmed from unrest in the rank-and-file of the Senate. (Johnson and Everett, 4/2)
Obamacare Fight Obscures America’s Real Health Care Crisis: Money
The Obamacare wars have ignored what really drives American anxiety about health care: Medical costs are decimating family budgets and turning the U.S. health system into a runaway $3.7 trillion behemoth. Poll after poll shows that cost is the number one issue in health care for American voters, but to a large extent, both parties are still mired in partisan battles over other aspects of Obamacare – most notably how to protect people with pre-existing conditions and how to make insurance more affordable, particularly for people who buy coverage on their own. (Kenen, 4/3)
The Congressman Who Turned The VA Into A Lobbying Free-For-All
he Indian Treaty Room is a grand two-story meeting space in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House, with French and Italian marble wall panels, a pattern of stars on the ceiling and the image of a compass worked into the tiled floor. Over the years, it has hosted signing ceremonies for historic foreign policy pacts such as the Bretton Woods agreement and the United Nations Charter. On Nov. 16, 2017, it hosted a different kind of gathering: an intimate meeting called by the White House to discuss the future of the Department of Veterans Affairs. In the 10 months since Donald Trump had taken office, his administration had been pushing a bold and controversial agenda to privatize more of the VA’s services. (Craven, 4/4)
Cancer-Causing Wind Turbines? President Donald Trump Claim Blown Away
What Trump said about wind and cancer: "And they say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one (makes whirring noise mimicking a turbine).” There's no evidence to suggest cancer and wind farms are linked. Critics have linked wind turbine operations to electromagnetic fields (EMF), shadow flicker, audible noise, low-frequency noise and infrasound, annoyances that could disrupt sleep, induce headaches or even cause mild nausea. (King, 4/3)
The New York Times:
Risky Stem-Cell Treatments Come Under F.D.A. Scrutiny — Again
The Food and Drug Administration warned rogue stem-cell clinics on Wednesday to stop selling unproven treatments that could harm patients. The agency’s latest effort, like most of its previous ones, consisted only of letters to companies and clinics. One letter warned a company making products from umbilical-cord blood that it was violating federal law, and other letters told 20 clinics and stem-cell makers that they appeared to be subject to F.D.A. review for approval and that they should contact the agency about how to comply. (Grady, 4/3)
The Associated Press:
US Investigates Seizure Risk With Electronic Cigarettes
U.S. health officials are investigating whether electronic cigarettes may trigger seizures in some people who use the nicotine-vaping devices. The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it has reviewed 35 reports of seizures among e-cigarettes users, mainly in young people. Regulators stressed it's not yet clear whether vaping is responsible. But they said they're concerned and encouraged the public to report information about the issue. (4/3)
Health Department Suspends Contracts With GOP-Linked Consultants
The Trump administration's health department is suspending contracts with several GOP-connected communications firms, according to four people with knowledge of the situation, days after a POLITICO report revealed the existence of the contracts. One of the contractors who was hired to boost Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma's profile with the media has also abruptly cut ties with the agency, two people with knowledge of the situation said. (Diamond and Cancryn, 4/3)