- California Healthline Original Stories 4
- Obamacare Inspires Unlikely Political Action In California's Red Region
- New On The Streets: Drug For Nerve Pain Boosts High For Opioid Abusers
- Parents Of Ill Children Worry About Return Of ‘Lifetime Limits’ In GOP Health Bill
- As Seniors Get Sicker, They're More Likely To Drop Medicare Advantage Plans
- Public Health and Education 2
- Psychiatrists' Debate Over Evaluating Trump's Mental Health Isn't Going Anywhere Soon
- Sense Of Smell May Be Related To Body's Ability To Burn Fat
Latest From California Healthline:
In a county where cows outnumber people and most voters supported Donald Trump, a coalition of health clinics is driven to defend the Obamacare. (April Dembosky, KQED, 7/6)
Gabapentin, prescribed for epilepsy and nerve damage, is touted by federal health officials as an alternative to opioids for patients. But some are now abusing the drug. (Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 7/6)
Current law requires all health insurance sold on the exchanges to cover 10 essential benefits — with no annual or lifetime limits to reimbursement. But the GOP plan might let states reinstate limits. (Alexandra Olgin, WFAE, 7/6)
Medicare Advantage plans offer good value and aim to keep patients healthy but sicker people are far more likely to quit because they can’t get the care they need. (Fred Schulte, 7/6)
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More News From Across The State
The drug costs, medical training for providers and the law's implementation will all be up for review at a hearing later this year.
Capital Public Radio/KXJZ:
Authors Of California's End-Of-Life Law Say Drug Costs, Access Must Be Examined
One year after California’s end-of-life law went into effect, the bill’s authors said it's gradually being accepted by patients and doctors, but can be improved. Former State Sen. Lois Wolk of Davis said more medical training for doctors and nurses is necessary to ensure terminally ill patients can obtain drugs to end their own lives. (Nichols, 7/5)
NantWorks, a company controlled by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, will acquire a majority stake in Integrity Healthcare, which operates the hospital chain Verity Health.
Los Angeles Times:
Patrick Soon-Shiong's NantWorks To Take Over St. Vincent And 5 Other California Hospitals
NantWorks, the Culver City company controlled by billionaire physician Patrick Soon-Shiong, has taken over the operator of half a dozen California hospitals, including St. Vincent Medical Center near downtown Los Angeles and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. NantWorks acquired a controlling stake in Integrity Healthcare, which in 2015 took over management of six hospitals from the struggling nonprofit Daughters of Charity Health System. The hospital chain now goes by the name Verity Health. (Koren, 7/5)
The Mercury News:
Billionaire Acquires Majority Stake In 4 Bay Area Hospitals
Eighteen months after a New York-based hedge fund invested $260 million in the former Daughters of Charity Health System, a Los Angeles-based billionaire physician on Wednesday announced that his company has bought a majority stake in the management company that runs the system’s six hospitals. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon, scientist and inventor, said his company, NantWorks, has acquired a controlling stake in Integrity Healthcare, the company that manages Verity Health System, formerly the Daughters of Charity. (Seipel, 7/5)
The new facility at its Berkeley campus will be critical to ensuring that treatments produced are safe and effective.
East Bay Times:
Berkeley: Bayer Completes $100 Million Quality Control Unit
The Bayer Corp. has announced the completion of a new, $100 million quality control facility at its Berkeley campus that will help develop the company’s Next Generation Hemophilia Treatments and other future products. The international pharmaceutical giant will show political dignitaries and members of the news media around the new facility on July 13. Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Bayer leaders are expected to make speeches. Also expected to attend is Panorea Advis, director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Bayer leaders expected to attend include Joerg Heidrich, the Berkeley site head, and Tina Self, vice president of quality for Supply Center Berkeley. (Lochner, 7/5)
In other pharmaceutical news —
Sales Of Drugs For Diabetes Are Increasing Nationally
The pharma exhibits at the American Diabetes Association conference here last month stretched across the San Diego Convention Center floor like a mile of drugs. Displays for Tresiba, Invokana and Victoza, to name just a few, conveyed the largesse of an industry that is skyrocketing by any measure: dollar cost per unit, the number of people purchasing them and the number of prescriptions sold. (Clarke, 7/5)
A new study finds that mortality and complications are much more associated with low-volume centers.
When It Comes To Cancer Surgery Outcomes, Volume Counts
Patients who have cancer surgeries at hospitals that perform them infrequently are more likely to have complications, according to a study by the California Health Care Foundation... The report also found nearly half of the patients who had surgeries at hospitals that rarely performed their operations could have traveled less than 20 miles to a hospital where the surgery is more commonly performed. (Faust, 7/5)
Some say it's fine to offer a diagnosis but other cite Goldwater rule, which says a psychiatrist can’t diagnose without a patient exam and consent.
Should Psychiatrists Be Allowed To Publicly Analyze Donald Trump’s Sanity?
It’s no secret Donald Trump is an unusual president, one whose late night tweets, comments and vitriol have prompted some to question his sanity... And if so, does the psychiatry community have a responsibility, an obligation, and a moral if not patriotic duty to speak their minds if they fear his words and actions endanger the nation? (Clark, 7/6)
A study with mice shows how sense of smell is lashed together with a broad range of seemingly unrelated basic functions, including metabolism and stress response.
Los Angeles Times:
Does My Sense Of Smell Make Me Look Fat? In Mice, The Answer Seems To Be Yes
Having an exceptionally keen sense of smell would seem to be an unmitigated blessing: It can provide early warning of dangers, detect the presence of an attractive mate, and enhance the gustatory delight of a delicious meal. But when you’re a mouse (or, perhaps, a human) and fattening food is all around, a new study finds that those with little or no ability to detect odors may have a key advantage. While mice with an intact sense of smell grow obese on a steady diet of high-fat chow, their littermates who have had their sense of smell expunged can eat the same food yet remain trim. (Healy, 7/5)
Businesses in the county will have to display their health-inspection placard in their front windows.
Sacramento Business Journal:
Yolo County Restaurants Now Posting Prominent Health Department Signs
Yolo County has launched a tough and highly visible regimen for health inspections on restaurants, bars and grocery stores. On July 1, Yolo County began posting placards in the front windows of businesses that sell food to tell customers how the health department has graded the food safety practices of the establishment. (Anderson, 7/5)
In other news from across the state —
The Mercury News:
Meal Time At Expanded Ronald McDonald House Gets Simpler
When the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford completed its multi-year expansion project in May and doubled its capacity for families with critically ill children, a big question remained: What is the best way to feed 123 families a healthy meal every night that maximizes the spice of variety and limits food waste? For an answer, the charity looked to Silicon Valley innovators. (Lee, 7/6)
Statewide Testing Reveals Canned Foods From Ethnic Markets May Be Risky
Consumers may want to think twice before buying canned foods from Asian specialty markets. That is according to the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health (CEH), which recently conducted statewide tests on products purchased in specialty stores in San Diego, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. (Goldberg, 7/6)
Orange County Register:
To Prevent Homeless Taking Over Bus Stops, Anaheim Removes Benches Around Disneyland
To prevent homeless people from taking over bus stops, Anaheim has removed several benches in a high-traffic area around the Disneyland Resort. Since October, the city has taken out bus benches at the four stops at Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue, and another bench further north in front of the Captain Kidd’s restaurant. (Pimentel, 7/5)
But moderates and experts warn that while allowing insurance companies to sell non-compliant plans would benefit young, healthy patients, it would hit others in the marketplace hard.
The New York Times:
White House Backs Conservative Health Plan, But G.O.P. Leaders Are Leery
The White House is backing a health care proposal that would make it easier for insurance companies to avoid complying with consumer protection standards, siding with some of the most conservative senators, though Senate Republican leaders remain leery of the idea. (Pear, 7/5)
The Wall Street Journal:
Ted Cruz’s Plan To Save Republican Health-Care Bill Gains Traction
Senate Republican leaders, in a bid to salvage their health overhaul, are weighing the merits of a proposal by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) to let insurers that sell plans that conform to the Affordable Care Act’s regulations also sell policies that don’t. The idea, also backed by Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah), would allow insurers to offer cheaper, less-comprehensive policies, likely to be bought by healthier people. Those policies could charge higher prices to those with pre-existing medical conditions, and possibly deny them coverage altogether. (Armour and Peterson, 7/5)
In other health law news —
GOP Promises Lower Health Premiums But Ignores All That’s Driving Them
Republicans promise to bring down the cost of health insurance for millions of Americans by repealing Obamacare. But in the race to make insurance premiums cheaper, they ignore a more ominous number — the $3.2 trillion-plus the U.S. spends annually on health care overall. (Kenen, 7/6)
Conservatives Dismayed At GOP Over Uncertain Obamacare Repeal
Frustration is mounting among Republican activists over the GOP’s continued failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, with grassroots groups now warning of consequences for lawmakers in the 2018 elections if the Senate doesn’t reach a deal soon.“ Activists, real grassroots people, are absolutely disappointed, and to some point I’d say devastated, over what we feel like is a broken promise,” said Donald Bryson, the state director of the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity, an influential conservative group backed by the Koch brothers. (Glueck, 7/5)
Recess Not Helping McConnell Hunt For 50 Health Care Votes
There was a reason Mitch McConnell badly wanted a vote on the Senate health care bill before July 4. Senate Republicans are back in their home states for a weeklong break, and already, some of them have gotten an earful on the controversial GOP legislation to dismantle Obamacare. The message from their home-state constituents: Don't you dare vote for that bill. (Lee, 7/6)
Health Care Divides Democrats, Beyond Opposing Republicans
It’s not just the GOP that’s divided on health care. Legislation Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to introduce soon highlights a wedge issue for Democrats and is emerging as the Republican retort to their own problems with repealing and replacing Obamacare. (Gaudiano, 7/5)