Latest From California Healthline:
Tobacco-cessation help lines — traditionally aimed at cigarette smokers — are receiving a surge in calls from people who use vapes and want to quit. (Anna Almendrala, 10/10)
Good morning! Opening arguments begin today in the antitrust case against Sutter Health. More on that below, but first here are some of your other top California health stories for the day.
California Residents Rankled Over Historic Power Outages As Health Concerns Top Worries About Wildfires: The largest blackout in California history, which left more than 500,000 without power after midnight Wednesday, began to take its toll on residents who are braced for more. Dixie LaRouche, 79, was unable to charge the neurostimulator recently implanted in her back for her neuropathy. She and her husband called 911. A fire department employee suggested they go to the Community Resource Center at Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. They arrived to the tent-like structure, checked in, sat down at one of the tables with power strips, and plugged in. Ronald Johnigan said he and his wife awoke in the predawn hours Wednesday when the machines they use for severe sleep apnea shut down. He spent the day searching for a hotel with power to stay in that night because the couple can’t sleep without working medical equipment, he said. Ruth Krasner, 68, couldn’t charge her electric wheelchair. David Rott doesn’t know how he’s going to charge his oxygen device, which he needs to cope with COPD. The device’s charge only lasts seven hours. “My big thing is, what am I gonna do tonight?’” said Rott, 65, on Wednesday afternoon. “They didn’t take in to consideration the people who have medical issues.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday he’s “outraged” over Pacific Gas and Electric Co shut-offs, blaming decades of mismanagement at the utility. The PG&E blackouts will ultimately affect 34 counties in Central and Northern California, more than half of the counties in the state. Overall, 800,000 customers will be affected with more than 2 million people in the dark as potentially hazardous winds continue to strengthen throughout the day.
Read more from Theresa Clift, Sawsan Morrar and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee; Hannah Fry, Patrick McGreevy, Taryn Luna, Maria L. La Ganga and Jaclyn Cosgrove of the Los Angeles Times; Alejandro Lazo and Jim Carlton of the Wall Street Journal; and Peter Fimrite , Jill Tucker, Evan Sernoffsky and Lauren Hernández of the San Francisco Chronicle.
In related news:
The Los Angeles Times: LAPD Will Clear Homeless Camps In Fire Danger Zones As Santa Ana Winds Hit
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Santa Rosa Hospitals Continue Operations With Backup Power During Shutdown
CalMatters: Cleaning Up Paradise As A Grim Anniversary Nears
'Big Win For Public Health': California Bans Widely Used Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Linked To Brain Damage: Chemical companies gave up their fight over California’s ban of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to learning and development disorders. The accord announced Wednesday with the state Environmental Protection Agency sets the stage for ending nearly all sales of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos by next year, a timeline that probably would not have been met if those companies continued to pursue a hearing on the issue. Instead, they will voluntarily withdraw their products, the EPA announced. “For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “Thanks to their tenacity and the work of countless others, this will now occur faster than originally envisioned. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California.” Read more from Geoffrey Mohan of the Los Angeles Times and Andrew Sheeler of the Sacramento Bee.
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
The Desert Sun:
Uninsured Native Americans Often Lack Needed Prenatal Care
Native American women face greater health challenges and hardships during pregnancy than the average California woman. A California Department of Public Health study shows a persistently high infant mortality rate in the state, which has the nation’s largest Native population. The Native American infant mortality rate in California “has remained high, while overall infant mortality in California has declined steadily since 2005, suggesting that (Native American) infants are not equally benefiting from social and medical advances that have reduced infant mortality for other California populations,” the June state report concluded. (Amaro and Bharath, 10/9)
The Associated Press:
California Hospital Chain Going To Court Over High Prices
One of California's largest hospital systems is facing a trial over accusations that it has used its market dominance to snuff out competition and overcharge patients for medical bills. Opening arguments begin Thursday in the antitrust case against Sutter Health, which operates 24 hospitals with 5,500 doctors across Northern California. It was first brought by employers and unions amid growing frustration over the rising cost of health care in 2014; California's attorney general, Xavier Becerra, filed a similar suit last year following a six-year DOJ investigation. (10/10)
Kaiser Launches Childhood Trauma Research With $2.75 Million
Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday said it will invest $2.75 million to research how to help prevent and mitigate the health effects of adverse childhood experiences. The funding will go toward an initiative to identify clinical and community-based interventions that can be used to address childhood trauma. Studies have indicated those adverse events can lead to riskier health behaviors and a higher likelihood of developing chronic conditions in adulthood. (Johnson, 10/9)
Los Angeles Times:
Amid Safety Concerns In Civic Center Area, LAPD Beefs Up Patrols
As the homelessness crisis grows in downtown Los Angeles, government employees have told authorities they don’t feel safe entering and leaving buildings and retail shops in the Civic Center area, officials said. Now, the Los Angeles Police Department has shifted assignments for some officers each morning and late afternoon for several hours to the 20-square-block area to ease concerns about the increased homeless population near office buildings and the L.A. Mall. (Puente and Smith, 10/9)
Gigantic, Free Health Clinic Back On At Sacramento’s Cal Expo
Health Net announced Wednesday that it will provide the $75,000 in funding needed to ensure that the nonprofit California CareForce can proceed with plans for its gigantic free medical clinic later this month at Cal Expo. California CareForce announced in August that a funding shortfall forced it to cancel the Sacramento event, a clinic that has occurred here in seven of the last eight years. The Health Net funding will allow the event to proceed Oct. 25-26. A unit of the publicly traded Centene Corp., Health Net offers health care insurance to millions of U.S. citizens in all 50 states. (Anderson, 10/10)
Capital Public Radio:
Sacramento Wipes Out ‘Enormous’ Penalties For Illegal Pot Grows After Judge Determines City Violated Property Owner’s Rights
Seventy-year-old Thao Vo survives off the income from her rental property in Sacramento. But when a tenant turned it into an illegal cannabis grow without her knowledge last year, the city of Sacramento hit her with a fine for $269,000. So, her family lawyered-up and challenged the city in court. Several weeks ago, a judge threw out the penalty after finding Sacramento violated her rights and relied on flimsy evidence. (Rodd, 10/9)
The Associated Press:
Overhaul Is Proposed For Decades-Old Medicare Fraud Rules
The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed overhauling decades-old Medicare rules originally meant to deter fraud and abuse but now seen as a roadblock to coordinating better care for patients. The rules under revision were intended to counter self-dealing and financial kickbacks among service providers such as hospitals, clinics and doctors. (10/9)
Planned Parenthood Announces Record-High Election Spend Today Ahead Of 2020
Planned Parenthood announced on Wednesday it plans to spend at least $45 million ahead of the 2020 elections, the most it has ever spent during an election cycle. The push comes as abortion rights are under assault across the Midwest and South, with state lawmakers passing abortion bans and restrictions aimed at capturing the attention of the Supreme Court. The investment intends to fund large-scale grassroots programs and canvassing, digital, television, radio and mail programs in battleground states across the country, according to a press release. (Smith, 10/9)
Racial Disparity In NIH Funding Partly Driven By Research Topic
Ever since a landmark 2011 study supported the long-held notion that African American scientists were significantly less likely than white researchers to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health, researchers have sought to better understand what’s behind the gap. A new paper builds on that previous work to find that research topic choice is partially driving the disparity, accounting for 20% of the funding gulf. (Chakradhar, 10/10)
Drugs, Depression, Discipline Problems Plague Schools Where Deadly Shootings Occurred
Substance abuse and mental health problems surged following last year’s deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., while test scores tanked. ... The devastating turn in mental health, academic performance and substance abuse is revealed in a series of federal aid applications from these school districts. The documents paint the most detailed picture of what really happens to a school after a mass shooting. Once the funerals are over, the TV cameras leave and students attempt to return to normalcy, there have been dramatic turns for the worse in academic performance, behavior and mental wellness. "Personally, I hate the word closure, because I don't think there ever is closure to anything like this," said Melissa Reeves, past president of the National Association of School Psychologists and an associate professor at Winthrop University in South Carolina. (Gaudiano, 10/10)
The Wall Street Journal:
U.S. Army Is Treating Two Soldiers For Vaping-Related Lung Illness
The U.S. Army is treating two active-duty soldiers in its medical facilities for vaping-related lung illness, officials said days after most of the military banned e-cigarette sales at base exchanges. The Army is the first branch of the U.S. military to report cases of an ailment that has been linked to at least 24 deaths in the U.S., according to federal and state officials. (Kesling and Maloney, 10/9)
The New York Times:
Scientists Designed A Drug For Just One Patient. Her Name Is Mila.
A new drug, created to treat just one patient, has pushed the bounds of personalized medicine and has raised unexplored regulatory and ethical questions, scientists reported on Wednesday. The drug, described in the New England Journal of Medicine, is believed to be the first “custom” treatment for a genetic disease. It is called milasen, named after the only patient who will ever take it: Mila (mee-lah) Makovec, who lives with her mother, Julia Vitarello, in Longmont, Colo. (Kolata, 10/9)