- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- Medi-Cal Cards Getting A Facelift
- Lights Out: Some Children’s Hospitals Take Steps To Ensure A Good Night’s Sleep
- Covered California & The Health Law 1
- What's Ahead For California's Plan To Sell Obamacare Policies To Unauthorized Immigrants?
- Hospital Roundup 1
- At Huntington Hospital, 16 Patients Were Infected With Bacteria From Dirty Scopes
- Marketplace 3
- From $4.5 Billion To $0: Theranos Founder's Net Worth Bottoms Out, Forbes Estimates
- New Round Of Charges Filed Against Medical Providers Who Care For State’s Injured Workers
- In Rural Calif., Insurance Denials And Scarcity Of Doctors Complicate Access To Mental Health Care
Latest From California Healthline:
Officials want to reflect the program’s wider demographic. (Emily Bazar, 6/2)
Because of the important role sleep plays in healing, a trend is emerging in which children’s hospitals are reorganizing their workflow to help their young patients sleep through the night. (Shefali Luthra, 6/2)
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Summaries Of The News:
The legislation would require drug manufacturers to provide 60 days' notice to purchasers if the cost is going to be increased by more than 10 percent. The state Senate also passed a law requiring physicians to inform patients if the doctors are on probation.
Los Angeles Times:
Drugmakers Would Give Advance Notice Of Price Hikes Under Plan Approved By State Senate
The state Senate on Wednesday took action to shine a light on skyrocketing prices for many prescription drugs, approving a bill that requires drug manufacturers to provide 60-days notice to purchasers if the cost is going to be increased by more than 10%. The bill by Sen. Ed Hernández (D-West Covina) said his bill would also require drugmakers to give notice when a new drug will cost $10,000 or more annually or during a course of treatment. (McGreevy, 6/1)
Capital Public Radio:
Senate, Assembly Vote On More Bills Before Deadline
The Senate also passed a law requiring physicians to inform patients they are on probation. Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced the bill citing numerous experiences of physicians who are on probation, practicing medicine unbeknownst to their patients. "Physicians are already required to notify and inform the hospitals they are affiliated with. They're also required to inform the medical malpractice insurers of their probation status. But their patients--the most important people in the health care continuum--have to seek out the information for themselves," says Hill. (Johnson, 6/1)
Modern Healthcare takes a look at the legislation and the hurdles it still faces.
Will Covered California Sell Plans To Undocumented Immigrants?
California is moving to become the first state to allow unauthorized immigrants to purchase insurance through the state exchange. The state assembly voted Tuesday to open up Covered California to immigrants living in U.S. illegally who want to purchase a health plan with their own funds. SB 10, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara from southeast Los Angeles County, would authorize the state to apply for a federal waiver to make the change. (Kutscher, 6/1)
Of those, 11 have since died, but only one of the death certificates listed the bacteria as the cause.
Los Angeles Times:
11 Deaths At Huntington Hospital Among Patients Infected By Dirty Scopes, City Report Says
Pasadena health officials said Wednesday that 16 patients were infected by dangerous bacteria from medical scopes at Huntington Hospital from January 2013 to August 2015, including 11 who have now died. Many of those patients were already severely ill, including some with cancer. Health officials said that only one of the 11 death certificates listed the bacteria as the cause. It was not clear if infection was a factor in any of the other deaths. (Petersen, 6/1)
In other hospital news —
The Orange County Register:
San Clemente's Saddleback Memorial Hospital Shuts Its Doors
After more than four decades of service, San Clemente’s 73-bed hospital shut down at 11:59 p.m. Monday, its owners announced. Tony Struthers, hospital administrator, said in an e-mail that the closure of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center San Clemente at 654 Camino de los Mares followed a detailed operational and patient transition plan that MemorialCare Health System worked out with state regulators and the county’s emergency medical services agency. (Swegles, 6/1)
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Sonoma West Medical Center Scales Back Revenue Forecasts
Sonoma West Medical Center has dramatically scaled back its monthly revenue forecasts as the Sebastopol hospital struggles to collect payments for medical services and become financially sustainable. The medical center, a revamped version of the failed Palm Drive Hospital, was launched last fall and has yet to turn a profit. Its operating losses for April are expected to surpass $600,000, up from an operating loss of $47,000 in March and $400,000 in February, CEO Ray Hino said. (Espinoza, 6/1)
The Desert Sun:
Health District Board Member Claims Win With CEO Departure
A Desert Healthcare District board member says his lawsuit against the district could be over soon now that district CEO Kathy Greco is out of her job. But before he drops the case, Michael Solomon and his attorney say the district must agree to back away from its claim that Solomon pay the district's legal fees of more than $32,000. (Newkirk, 6/1)
Forbes magazine estimates that Elizabeth Holmes' stake in her own company is "essentially worth nothing." The blood-testing startup has been plagued with difficulties in the past year, which have caused the value drop.
Forbes Estimates Theranos Founder's Net Worth Now Zero
Forbes magazine on Wednesday reduced its estimate of the net worth of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and chief executive of health technology company Theranos Inc, to zero from $4.5 billion last year. Holmes' blood-testing company has been under investigation by several federal and state agencies and was accused in a suit filed last week of endangering customer health through "massive failures" that misrepresented the accuracy and quality of its blood tests, according to court papers. Forbes said private investors had bought stakes in Theranos that implied a $9 billion valuation but said $800 million is a more realistic figure. (Tennery, 6/1)
Theranos CEO Holmes’ Net Worth Is Now Zero, Says Forbes
Forbes announced today it has revised its estimate of the net worth of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, from last year’s $4.5 billion to: absolutely nothing. Analysts cut the estimate of the company’s net worth to $800 million, a fraction of its previous estimated value of $9 billion. (Brooks, 6/1)
More than 100,000 injured workers have encountered the providers who are facing fraud charges.
Fraud Accusations Grow In California’s Embattled Workers’ Comp System
Southern California prosecutors have filed a new round of charges against medical providers who care for the state’s injured workers, raising further questions about state oversight of the program that covers 15 million people. The cases push the tally of medical providers facing criminal charges close to 100. A Reveal investigation found that more than 100,000 injured workers have encountered the providers who are facing fraud charges, mostly in Southern California. The affected workers range from those debilitated by kickback-fueled spinal surgeries to people whose needs went unmet by allegedly profit-focused medical mills. The cost of questionable medical care also hits employers who pay for workers’ compensation insurance. In the case of public employers, taxpayers foot the bill. (Jewett, 6/1)
Shariah Vroman-Nagy knew she needed treatment for her mental illness, but she was faced with one obstacle after another when she tried to get help.
Depressed Teen’s Struggle To Find Mental Health Care In Rural California
Since 2010, the state received almost 900 appeals from patients saying their insurer unfairly denied inpatient mental health treatment, according to data from the Department of Managed Health Care, the main health insurance regulator in the state. The department overturned 47 percent of those decisions. Insurers are allowed to deny coverage for certain treatments, if they determine that the care is not “medically necessary.” This determination is based on evidence-based clinical standards in both mental and medical care, but it has become a key battleground for mental health advocates. (Dembosky, 6/1)
San Francisco-based Medivation set Wednesday as the cutoff for shareholders to vote on the proposed replacement of its board. In other pharmaceutical news, the executives who took over Martin Shkreli's old company could get $700,000 in equity awards from the company.
The Wall Street Journal:
Medivation Sets Wednesday As Cutoff For Vote On Sanofi’s Proposal To Remove Board
Medivation Inc.’s shareholders as of close of business Wednesday will be able to vote on Sanofi SA’s proposal to replace the oncology drugmaker’s board. San Francisco-based Medivation set Wednesday as the so-called record date, hours after the French pharmaceutical company pressed forward its $9.3 billion hostile takeover bid. The biotech company has rejected Sanofi’s offer, calling it “substantially inadequate and opportunistically timed” and filed a revocation solicitation with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Armental, 6/1)
San Francisco Business Times:
Execs Rescuing Martin Shkreli's Old Company In Line For $700K Award
The trio of executives walking KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc. through bankruptcy protection could get $700,000 in equity awards from the company, according to a regulatory filing by the company once led by widely reviled investor and pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli. (Leuty, 6/2)
The End of Life Option Act, Senate Bill 128, will take effect on June 9 — the final day of the nine-day act.
The Los Angeles Daily News:
LA Archdiocese Begins 9 Days Of Prayer, Fasting Before ‘Right-To-Die’ Bill Takes Effect
Under the law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October, a patient who has been diagnosed as terminally ill, and given a prognosis of six months or less to live, can request a prescription of life-ending medication. The End of Life Option Act, Senate Bill 128, will take effect on June 9 — the final day of the novena. (Tompkins, 6/1)
“The majority of sodium intake comes from processed and prepared foods, not the saltshaker," the agency says in new voluntary guidelines, which set targets for a gradual reduction in sodium across a range of food categories for both manufactured and restaurant products.
The New York Times:
F.D.A. Proposes Guidelines For Salt Added To Food
The Food and Drug Administration proposed voluntary guidelines for the food industry to reduce salt on Wednesday, a move long sought by consumer and public health advocates who said the standards could eventually help save thousands of American lives. Though the guidelines are not mandatory, consumer advocates said they are meaningful because they will serve as a benchmark by which companies can be measured. More than 70 percent of sodium consumed is already in food before it reaches the table, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and health advocates say the guidelines could help reduce that. (Tavernise, 6/1)
In other national health care news —
Feds Say Medicaid Can Pay For Mosquito Repellent To Prevent Zika
Medicaid can be used to cover mosquito repellent to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, federal regulators told state and private Medicaid officials in a letter sent Wednesday. Coverage of repellent — when prescribed by a health professional — with the federal matching dollars given other Medicaid-covered treatments is the primary change in the new Department of Health and Human Services guidance. The letter is intended to clarify how low-income people covered by Medicaid can protect themselves so they don't contract the virus or get tested and treated in case they do. HHS alerted about 50,000 people involved in Medicaid plans. (O'Donnell, 6/1)
The Associated Press:
Teen Births Fall Again, Another Drop In Decades Of Decline
Teen pregnancies fell again last year, to another historic low, a government report shows. "The continued decline is really quite amazing," said Brady Hamilton, the lead author of the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, the birth rate for U.S. teens dropped 8 percent. Rates have been falling since 1991, and this marks yet another new low. (6/2)
The New York Times:
Fearing Drugs’ Rare Side Effects, Millions Take Their Chances With Osteoporosis
Millions of Americans are missing out on a chance to avoid debilitating fractures from weakened bones, researchers say, because they are terrified of exceedingly rare side effects from drugs that can help them. Reports of the drugs’ causing jawbones to rot and thighbones to snap in two have shaken many osteoporosis patients so much that they say they would rather take their chances with the disease. Use of the most commonly prescribed osteoporosis drugs fell by 50 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to a recent paper, and doctors say the trend is continuing. (Kolata, 6/1)
The Associated Press:
Why Aren't You Shopping For Lower Prescription Drug Prices?
Most people don't shop for lower prescription drug prices. They should, especially now that there are easier ways to do so. More than a dozen websites and apps are vying to help U.S. consumers find the lowest prices for prescription drugs by comparing prices and searching for deals, similar to the way Expedia looks for cheap airfare or Bankrate.com looks for low mortgage rates. ... Recent studies show that more than one in five prescriptions in the U.S. go unfilled, in part due to financial hardship. Yet only 17 percent of U.S. consumers are willing to check multiple pharmacies for lower drug prices, according to a survey by Consumer Reports. (6/1)
Karen DeSalvo On How Data Will Transform Health Care
Growing up, Karen DeSalvo never planned to have one of the nation’s most important health care jobs. Now she has two of them. As National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, she’s the White House’s point person on digitizing health care — and as acting Assistant Secretary for Health, she also helps guide the nation's public health strategy. (Diamond, 6/1)