Latest From California Healthline:
A federal audit of 19 California nursing homes released today found hundreds of violations of safety and emergency standards, putting vulnerable nursing home residents at increased risk of injury or death during a wildfire or other disaster. (Barbara Feder Ostrov, 11/14)
Good morning! A Marin patient has become the fourth person in California to die with a severe lung injury suspected to have been caused by vaping. Read more on that below, but first here are your top California health stories of the day.
Following Investigation Into Inhumane Conditions Of California’s County Jails, Newsom Calls For Action and Oversight: Gov. Gavin Newsom is crafting plans that would give the state more power to oversee local sheriffs and the lockups they run. The measure will be part of a broader criminal justice reform package he plans to introduce next year. Also on the table: adding “step-down facilities” to bolster rehabilitation and reentry options for people being released from custody and, ultimately, shutting one of the state’s 35 prisons. Newsom’s comments follows a yearlong investigation by McClatchy and ProPublica that exposed how county jails have struggled to handle an influx of inmates serving longer sentences after realignment, the 2011 series of reforms that diverted inmates from the state’s unconstitutionally overcrowded prisons to local facilities. Read more from Jason Pohl and Ryan Gabrielson of the Sacramento Bee.
And read more from the investigation that prompted the comments here.
Officials Suggest Some Of The Startling Deaths On USC’s Campus Might Have Been Overdoses: The death of nine University of Southern California students since classes began a little more than two months ago has left students and administrators shaken and seeking answers. Three of the deaths were by suicide, according to campus officials. Although USC President Carol Folt would not elaborate on the circumstances of the individual deaths, citing federal student privacy laws, she said USC is working with the Los Angeles Police Department on the other cases and “doubling down” on education and outreach over drug abuse. “We all know that people that get drugs on the street have no idea what is in those drugs,” Folt said. Read more from Colleen Shalby, Soumya Karlamangla, Teresa Watanabee and Richard Winton of the Los Angeles Times.
Despite Agreement With S.F. Mayor Over Path Toward Mental Health Reform, City Supervisors Continue To Fundraise For Ballot Fight: It’s not unusual for campaigns to seek out donations even after an election ends. But language used in Tuesday’s fundraising email to raise money for a ballot measure from San Francisco Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney makes no mention that there was no longer any initiative to fight for. Nor did it say that rolling out Mental Health SF was now largely in the hands of city officials — not the public. It’s unlikely that the language violated any campaign finance laws, but the language could be construed as misleading. Read more from Dominic Fracassa of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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
San Francisco Chronicle:
Vaping Kills Woman In Marin County, Health Official Says
A woman living in Marin County died from complications related to vaping, the county’s health officer said Wednesday — the first such death in the Bay Area and the fourth in California since July. Dr. Matt Willis, the health officer, said that the 45-year-old woman was healthy before she took up vaping about six months ago. She died Friday of a severe lung injury related to vaping less than 24 hours after her family brought her to the hospital, he said. (Cabanatuan and Allday, 11/13)
Marin Woman Dies Of Vaping-Related Illness In First Recorded Bay Area Fatality Linked To E-Cigarettes
Marin County Chief Deputy Coroner Robert Fielding identified the victim as Amanda Arconti, a 45-year-old Marin County resident who also had an apartment in Vacaville, KTVU reported. She died on Nov. 7 at Novato Community Hospital. Her death appears to be linked to either vaping or previous tobacco use, Fielding said, but noted that a coming autopsy would determine the final cause of death. (Green, 11/13)
The Associated Press:
3 Universities, Medical Center Get $1B To Teach And Research
Three universities and a health care institution are sharing a gift of more than $1 billion that’s one of the largest in the history of higher education, they announced Wednesday. Receiving $260 million apiece will be Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California, and the Cleveland Clinic. The institutions are free to use the money as they see fit. (11/13)
UC’s Lowest-Paid Workers Strike To Protest Outsourcing
The University of California’s lowest-paid employees — 25,000 janitors, patient billers, medical transcribers, cooks and other workers — picketed Wednesday at Sacramento’s UC Davis Medical Center and at other UC hospitals and campuses around the state over their employer’s use of contract workers. Mohammed Akbar, an operating room assistant at UC Davis Medical Center, was out protesting in front of the hospital Wednesday as part of the job action by his union, AFSCME 3299. (Anderson, 11/13)
CA Lawmakers Consider Revoking Badges Of Problem Cops
State lawmakers said this week that it’s time for California to consider joining 45 other states that can revoke the badges of officers who commit crimes and other serious misconduct. The call for action comes in the wake of a six-month investigation from a statewide coalition of news organizations, including McClatchy, that revealed more than 80 law enforcement officers working today in California have a prior criminal conviction. “We need to do something about this,” said state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Democrat and member of the Public Safety Committee representing Santa Barbara and part of Ventura County. “Having convicted criminals on our police force is just not O.K. in any way, shape or form.” (Lewis and Debolt, 11/14)
Los Angeles Times:
Newport May Recast Homelessness Task Force As A Council Committee, Drop Citizen Members
Newport Beach may restructure and pare down its homelessness task force for the sake of efficiency and agility. Under a proposal floated by Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill, who chairs the panel, the 10-member task force would be recast as a City Council ad hoc committee, retaining its three council members but officially dropping the seven citizen volunteers. (Davis, 11/13)
Capital Public Radio:
Public Housing Applications Being Accepted For The First Time In Six Years In Sacramento
For the first time since 2013, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency is taking applications for public housing. The agency began accepting applications on Tuesday and says it will accept 1,200 total. It will give preference to veterans, victims of a natural disaster, homeless families, and senior citizens. (Moffitt, 11/13)
Los Angeles Times:
Babies Suffer When Moms Are Treated Like Criminals For Using Opioids
Laws that punish women who abuse drugs during a pregnancy are often billed as a way to protect unborn babies from addiction. But new research finds they have the opposite effect: After states enact laws treating pregnant drug users as unfit mothers or criminals, the number of newborns who contend with drug withdrawal jumps significantly. (Healy, 11/14)
Does Nipomo Mesa Air Quality Impact Health When Dust Blows?
When strong winds blow from the direction of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, a large plume of dust billows inland for hours at a time, data show.The dust covers cars and lawn furniture. It gets inside the house too, and can get into people’s lungs and bloodstream. The problem has attracted the attention of the American Lung Association. (Vaughan, Garibay and Ladin, 11/13)
The New York Times:
Climate Change Poses Threats To Children’s Health Worldwide
The health effects of climate change will be unevenly distributed and children will be among those especially harmed, according to a new report from the medical journal The Lancet. The report compared human health consequences under two scenarios: one in which the world meets the commitments laid out in the Paris Agreement and reins in emissions so that increases in global temperatures remain “well below 2 degrees Celsius” by the end of the century, and one in which it does not. (Pierre-Louis, 11/13)
7 Affordable Ways To Protect Your Home From Wildfires
Californians have all but adapted to a new normal. In the last four years, the state has experienced 10 of the most destructive wildfires in its history. The 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County that destroyed nearly 19,000 structures and killed 85 people was the deadliest on record. And though the 2019 fire season has not been as active, the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County triggered the evacuation of some 200,000 residents while the Getty Fire last month forced Angelenos from Mount St. Mary’s University to LeBron James’s neighborhood in Brentwood to flee. (Watson, 11/13)
The Associated Press:
Justice Dept. Rolls Out New Program To Combat Gun Violence
Attorney General William Barr announced a new initiative Wednesday that would better enforce the U.S. gun background check system, coordinate state and federal gun cases and ensure prosecutors quickly update databases to show when a defendant can’t possess a firearm because of mental health issues. The push, known as Project Guardian, was unveiled at a news conference in Memphis, Tennessee, alongside officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, on the same day public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump began in Washington. (11/13)
Why Bernie’s Heart Attack Was Good For Him
Since he was rushed to a Las Vegas hospital in early October, the Vermont senator has flourished in early-state polls, held some of the biggest rallies of any Democratic candidate, and scored the endorsements of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the so-called “Squad.” The curmudgeonly candidate looks happier — sunny, even — on the stump, cracking jokes and sharing personal stories. In an era in which conventional political wisdom has been set ablaze, Sanders has challenged the notion that a major health issue is an automatic death knell for a presidential candidate. His age and health remain serious long-term question marks — at 79 in Jan. 2021, he would be the oldest person ever inaugurated into office, a fact that could well draw more scrutiny as voting approaches.But so far, at least, Sanders has weathered his heart attack and then some. (Otterbein, 11/13)
HHS To Probe If Google’s 'Project Nightingale' Followed Privacy Law
A federal regulator is investigating whether the federal privacy law known as HIPAA was followed when Google (GOOGL) collected millions of patient records through a partnership with nonprofit hospital chain Ascension. The probe, first reported by the Wall Street Journal Tuesday night, was opened by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. “OCR would like to learn more information about this mass collection of individuals’ medical records with respect to the implications for patient privacy under HIPAA,” Roger Severino, the office’s director, said in a statement to STAT. (Robbins and Ross, 11/13)
Pelosi Aide Hopeful White House Will Support Drug-Pricing Bill Despite Criticism
A top aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that he thinks the Trump administration will eventually support a sweeping Democratic bill to lower drug prices, despite recent criticism from the White House. “I still think at the end of the day we are going to get administration support, despite some recent comments they have made,” Wendell Primus said last Friday at the University of Wisconsin. (Sullivan, 11/13)
Apple Watch Detects Irregular Heartbeats In U.S. Study
Apple Inc's Heart study, the largest yet to explore the role of wearable devices in identifying potential heart problems, found the device could accurately detect atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), come as technology companies increasingly strike up partnerships with drugmakers as a way to gather large amounts of real-time health data on individuals. (11/13)
The New York Times:
To Drive Down Insulin Prices, W.H.O. Will Certify Generic Versions
With insulin prices skyrocketing and substantial shortages developing in poorer countries, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that it would begin testing and approving generic versions of the drug. Agency officials said they hoped to drive down insulin prices by encouraging makers of generic drugs to enter the market, increasing competition. At the moment, the world’s insulin market is dominated by three companies — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — and they have steadily pushed up prices for two decades. (McNeil, 11/13)
'Superbugs' Sicken Millions, Kill 35K Each Year, CDC Report Finds
Drug-resistant "superbugs" infect 2.8 million people and cause more than 35,000 deaths each year, underscoring the enormous public health threat of germs in what one official describes as a "post-antibiotic era," according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. The report, which analyzes electronic health records and other data, shows an infection every 11 seconds and a death every 15 minutes on average from bugs that resist treatment from antibiotics. The CDC said there are nearly twice as many deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections compared to the agency's 2013 report, which likely underestimated the numbers. (Alltucker, 11/13)