Latest From California Healthline:
Veronica Kelley, head of San Bernardino County’s Department of Behavioral Health, knows firsthand that the mental health effects from mass shootings linger. Nearly four years after her community was devastated by a massacre of 14 people, Kelley has advice for Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton and other communities reeling from recent carnage. (Anna Almendrala, 8/8)
Good morning! Here are your top California health stories for the day.
Newsom Was Briefed On Dangers Of White Supremacist Groups In State But Is Still Reviewing Ways To Address Issue: Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged the state needs to do more to stem the growth of hate groups. He cited the need for improved mental health resources in early education and additional law enforcement funding, but he did not lay out any specific proposals. Outside of a Santa Clara County hospital the day after the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, Newsom said his first meeting with Mark Ghilarducci, director of California’s Office of Emergency Services, focused on hate groups and white nationalism. “It was the first week I was in office that I sat down with my emergency director thinking we were going to talk about preparing for wildfires like the Camp and Woolsey fire. And he says, ‘You know what we need to focus on? White supremacy. We need to focus on hate groups,’” Newsom said. “God as my witness, that was the first meeting I had as governor, talking about emergency preparedness after those two horrific fires.” Read more from Scott Rodd of Capital Public Radio.
Meanwhile, as children get read to head back to school, parents considering buying them bulletproof backpacks. Read more from Darrell Smith of the Sacramento Bee.
Fentanyl Deaths In San Francisco Soar Almost 150% In Largest Uptick The City Has Ever Seen: Deaths from the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl skyrocketed in San Francisco in 2018, increasing by 147% since the previous year. For years, fentanyl had not infiltrated California to the degree it did in the eastern U.S., where the drug has long been responsible for staggering rates of opioid deaths. These new figures, however, show a stark rise in deaths from fentanyl, the largest the city has ever seen. UCSF Professor of Family and Community Medicine Dr. Daniel Ciccarone said the U.S. opioid epidemic has unfolded in "three waves." "Wave one: pills. Wave two: heroin. Wave three: fentanyl," he said. Read more from Laura Klivans of KQED.
State Senator With Personal Experience With Domestic Violence Introduces Bill On Statute Of Limitations For Abuse: State Sen. Susan Rubio’s proposed legislation would provide officer training for domestic violence cases and give authorities eight years instead of three to prosecute abuses for which new evidence emerges. Her aim, she says, is “to make sure that women have more time to deal with their personal struggles and really have the courage to come forward and bring their abusers to justice.” Though defense attorneys and civil liberties groups have expressed reservations, SB 273 sailed through the Senate 36-0 and is pending in the Assembly. Elaine Whitefeather, who directs A Community For Peace, a Sacramento-based nonprofit aimed at curbing domestic violence, says the measure, if it passes, will give abuse survivors such as herself “a minute to exhale.” Read more from Adria Watson of CalMatters.
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
Embattled Juul Seeks Allies In Washington
Juul Labs is spending big on campaign donations and a massive lobbying blitz as the e-cigarette maker faces growing threats from lawmakers and regulators, and with few allies in Washington. The company spent $1.95 million on lobbying in the first two quarters of 2019, surpassing its 2018 total of $1.64 million. And Juul's PAC has given nearly $100,000 to lawmakers this year, a pace that will blow past the $225,000 the company spent in the entire 2018 cycle. (Gangitano, 8/7)
Capital Public Radio:
‘If The Land’s Not Healthy, We’re Not Healthy’: How The Washoe People View Climate Change
In May, I went on a hike in Tahoe with Helen Fillmore, an off-reservation councilwoman for the Washoe Tribal Council and a faculty researcher for the University of Nevada, Reno. Helen says, for the Washoe people, the health of the land is completely interconnected with how they see themselves. “So if the land's not healthy, we're not healthy. We're not healthy, the land's not healthy,” she said. Helen and I talked about how the indigenous community views climate change and what can be done to preserve the land her people hold so dear. (Romero, 8/7)
Los Angeles Times:
Environmentalists To Sue South Bay Refinery Over Hazardous Waste
Several environmental groups moved Wednesday to sue the Phillips 66 refinery in the South Bay, accusing it of years of mismanaging hazardous waste that could pose a health risk to people living near its Wilmington and Carson facilities. The groups’ planned lawsuit comes four years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first raised concerns about the oil refinery’s practices. (Phillips, 8/7)
Ventura County Star:
Jury Asked To Give $30 Million-Plus In Vista Del Mar Sexual Misconduct Trial
Three women who allege they were victims of sexual battery at Aurora Vista del Mar Hospital should together receive more than $30 million in damages, a lawyer said in closing arguments. The women are suing the Ventura psychiatric hospital, parent company Signature Healthcare Services and the hospital’s former mental health worker Juan Valencia. They allege Valencia committed sexual acts with each of them in 2013 before he was fired by Vista del Mar. Jury deliberations started Wednesday afternoon after lawyers completed closing arguments that kicked off Tuesday morning. (Kisken, 8/7)
The Bakersfield Californian:
BCSD Wellness Centers Provide Free Services For Students As They Head Back To School
The first day of school is just a few days away and school supplies are not the only items parents need to cross off their back-to-school checklist. Bakersfield City School District's four wellness centers are encouraging parents to stop by to make sure their children have all their required immunizations before the first day of school and are ready for the upcoming school year. ... The district has recently opened school wellness centers to promote physical, mental and emotional health. Students enrolled in transitional kindergarten/kindergarten to eighth grade can utilize one of the four wellness centers. (Sasic, 8/7)
The Washington Post:
Trump’s Openness To Extensive Background Checks For Gun Buys Draws Warning From NRA
President Trump has repeatedly told lawmakers and aides in private conversations that he is open to endorsing extensive background checks in the wake of two mass shootings, prompting a warning from the National Rifle Association and concerns among White House aides, according to lawmakers and administration officials. Trump, speaking to reporters Wednesday before visiting Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, where weekend shootings left 31 dead, said there “was great appetite for background checks” amid an outcry over government inaction in the face of repeated mass shootings. (Dawsey and Kim, 8/7)
El Paso And Dayton Shootings: Trump Open To Tougher Background Checks
“I'm looking to do background checks,” Trump said at the White House as he departed for Dayton, where he met with shooting survivors and first responders. “I think background checks are important.” Trump, who also visited El Paso on Wednesday, said he senses there is “a very strong appetite” for background checks, though many lawmakers have mostly focused publicly on red flag laws aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people deemed an imminent danger to themselves or others. (Collins, Lalljee, Elbeshbishi and Jackson, 8/7)
Poll: Most Republicans Support Assault Weapons Ban, Despite Trump Saying 'No Appetite'
Most Republicans would support legislation banning assault-style weapons, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found Wednesday — a finding that contradicts President Donald Trump's claim earlier the same day that there's "no political appetite" for such restrictions. The poll found that nearly 70 percent of all voters would back such a ban. Support for an assault-weapons ban was higher, at 86 percent, among Democrats, who have been pushing for new restrictions on the firearms in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend. (Shepard, 8/7)
The Associated Press:
Mayors Urge McConnell And Schumer To Recall Senate To Washington For Vote On Gun Bill
More than 200 mayors, including two anguished by mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, are urging the Senate to return to the Capitol to act on gun safety legislation amid criticism that Congress is failing to respond to back-to-back shootings that killed 31 people. In a letter Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Democratic leader, Charles E. Schumer, the mayors wrote, “Our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them.” (8/7)
Trump Visits Mass Shooting Victims; Protesters Shout 'Do Something!'
U.S. President Donald Trump met victims and first responders from last weekend's deadly shootings in Texas and Ohio on Wednesday, as chanting protesters accused him of inflaming tensions with anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric. Trump visited hospitals where victims were treated in El Paso, Texas, on the border with Mexico, and in Dayton, Ohio, after massacres 13 hours apart that shocked the country and reopened a national debate on gun safety. (8/8)
The Associated Press:
Trump Words Linked To More Hate Crime? Some Experts Think So
President Donald Trump has often railed about an “invasion of illegals” at the southern border, words echoed in a screed the El Paso shooting suspect apparently posted that called the attack that killed 22 people at a Walmart his response to a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Some extremism experts believe that may not be an accident. They say historical data suggests a link between heated rhetoric from top political leaders and ensuing reports of hate crimes, only adding to the fears of those who could be targeted. (Kunzelman and Galvan, 8/7)
Los Angeles Times:
What Role Does Ideology Play In Mass Shootings?
In their political views, the gunmen who brought carnage to two American cities last weekend could not have been more different. One posted a lengthy screed railing against the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and supported President Trump. The other apparently identified as a leftist, taking to Twitter to support Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and proclaim, “Kill every fascist.” As the nation struggles to understand the motives behind the attacks, political ideology has become a focus. (Jarvie, 8/7)
The Wall Street Journal:
After Mass Shootings, Workers Plot Their Own ‘What-If’ Escape Plans
Like a growing number of U.S. workers, Maricarmen Molina has mentally mapped out how she hopes to escape should a gunman ever enter her workplace. The 26-year-old shop steward at a New Jersey apparel warehouse said she plans to sprint to the back of the sprawling building and hide between racks of nearly floor-length dresses, trying not to make a sound. It is a strategy she re-evaluated over the weekend as back-to-back mass shootings unfolded at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. (Cutter, Gee and Simon, 8/8)
Medicare To Cover Expensive Cancer Cell Therapies
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday said it has finalized a decision to cover expensive cancer cell therapies sold by Gilead Sciences Inc and Novartis AG. CMS, which runs Medicare - the federal government's health plan for Americans 65 and older - said it will cover the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies when provided in healthcare facilities that have programs in place to track patient outcomes. (8/8)
'Medicare For All' Complicates Democrats' Pitch To Retake Senate
The divide over health care among Democratic presidential candidates is raising fears the party might turn an issue that was a key winner in the House midterms into a liability in next year's Senate races. Democratic Senate candidates have been planning to borrow heavily from the playbook used by House Democrats in 2018, when the party won back the chamber in large part because of a pledge to protect ObamaCare against Republican attempts to kill the 2010 law. (Hellmann, 8/8)
The New York Times:
Novartis C.E.O. Defends Company’s Decision To Withhold False Data From The F.D.A.
The chief executive of Novartis on Wednesday defended the company’s decision to delay telling the Food and Drug Administration about manipulated data involving its $2.1 million gene therapy treatment, saying that it “thoroughly, aggressively” investigated the issue and that patient safety was never threatened. Vas Narasimhan, the chief executive, also indicated in a call with investors that the company was forcing out a small number of scientists who were involved in the manipulated data. (Thomas, 8/7)
Patient Groups Push Back Against Gilead's Pricey HIV Prevention Treatment
Gilead Sciences Inc hopes to soon introduce a pricey new pill to prevent HIV in people at risk of contracting the infection, but the drugmaker faces opposition from an unusual source: patient advocates. Such groups have traditionally lobbied for insurance coverage of newer HIV drugs regardless of expense. But at least three U.S. organizations now question whether Gilead’s Descovy would be the best option for most people at risk of exposure. (8/7)
CVS Health Raises 2019 Profit Forecast After Beating Profit Estimates
CVS Health Corp raised its full-year profit forecast and reported higher-than-expected second-quarter results on Wednesday, as increased U.S. prescription drug prices fueled rebates to its pharmacy benefits business. CVS shares were up 6.6% at $57.65, while the broader market was down about 0.5%. (8/7)