- California Healthline Original Stories 4
- Clinton Took More Conciliatory Tone With Health Care Industry In Paid Speeches
- Terminally Ill Patients Don’t Use Aid-In-Dying Laws To Relieve Pain
- How To Enroll In Medicare And Avoid Costly Mistakes
- Study Offers Young Doctors Strategies To Deal With Discrimination
- Hospital Roundup 2
- 104 California Hospitals Make State's 'Honor Roll' For Reducing C-Sections
- Officials' Solution To State's Shortage Of Mental Health Beds: Privatization
Latest From California Healthline:
WikiLeaks documents show a cautious speaker who tried to avoid compromises on policy. (Emily Kopp, 10/26)
Ending pain and suffering has helped several states pass “right-to-die” laws, but dying patients are more concerned about controlling how they die and dying with dignity. (Liz Szabo, 10/27)
Enrolling in Medicare is confusing and mind-boggling if you don’t act at the right time and avoid costly mistakes. (Judith Graham, 10/27)
A survey of experienced physicians offer interns and residents suggestions about how to handle patients who are prejudiced. (Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 10/27)
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More News From Across The State
The Vermont senator and former presidential candidate is championing the measure to curb high drug prices, which recent polls suggest is supported by more than half of Californians.
The Fiscal Times:
Bernie Sanders Takes On Big Pharma As California Eyes Drug Price Limits
The California Drug Price Relief Act, or Proposition 61, would limit the price that any state agency or health care program pays for prescription drugs to what the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs pays for the same pharmaceuticals. Congress prohibits Medicare and most other agencies from negotiating prescription drug prices, with the notable exception of the VA, a behemoth of an agency which purchases drugs for an estimated 6.6 million patients. Federal law insures that VA medical facilities across the country obtain a discount of at least 24 percent off prescription drugs list prices, and in many cases officials obtain much larger rebates. If Proposition 61 were approved, the VA price list would apply when the state directly purchases drugs, as it does for its prison system, or when it is deemed the “ultimate payer” for drugs provided to certain state health care programs, including Medicaid.The stakes couldn’t be higher for the two sides. (Pianin, 10/26)
The federal government has set goals for hospitals to cut down on cesarean births, which are costly and can endanger the lives of the mothers.
California Awards Hospitals For Reducing C-Sections
California recognized hospitals Wednesday for meeting or exceeding a federal goal for reducing Cesarean births, but four of the biggest baby delivery hospitals in the central San Joaquin Valley did not make the list. Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley congratulated 104 California hospitals for reducing C-sections for first-time moms with low-risk pregnancies to a rate of 23.9 or lower, a goal set by federal government for hospitals to meet by 2020. (Anderson, 10/26)
Most San Diego Hospitals Fail To Meet Goal For Reducing C-Sections
State health officials have placed 104 hospitals on a new honor roll for meeting a federal goal of reducing C-section births. Only three San Diego-area hospitals made the list: Scripps Mercy, UC San Diego and Sharp Grossmont. (Goldberg, 10/26)
But the contractor's past troubles concern some critics.
California Counties Look To Private Firm To Run New State Psychiatric Hospital
A statewide consortium of county mental health officials is planning to create California's first privately-run state mental health hospital. It says it's the fastest way to address the persistent shortage of beds for the state’s most dangerously and severely mentally ill. But critics of prison privatization worry care will worsen, pointing to past problems with the contractor, Correct Care Recovery Solutions, a spinoff of the private prison giant GEO Group. (Gilbertson, 10/27)
23andMe Inc. Chief Executive Anne Wojcicki talks about the challenges for health technology companies trying to navigate through the federal regulation process.
The Wall Street Journal:
Disconnect Between Silicon Valley And Regulators Over Health Technologies, 23andMe CEO Says
Genetic-testing company 23andMe Inc. Chief Executive Anne Wojcicki said there is a disconnect between Silicon Valley and the U.S. regulatory system over how to view new health-related technologies. “You go to Silicon Valley because you want innovation, creativity,” Ms. Wojcicki said Wednesday at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive 2016 global technology conference. “You don’t go because you want regulatory expertise.” (Bensinger, 10/26)
New genomic sequencing research shows that the virus has been in America a lot longer than previously thought.
Los Angeles Times:
How Scientists Proved The Wrong Man Was Blamed For Bringing HIV To The U.S.
The Canadian flight attendant widely blamed for bringing HIV to the United States and triggering an epidemic that has killed nearly 700,000 people has been exonerated by science, more than 30 years after his death. In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers used newly available genetic evidence to show that Gaetan Dugas — who has been dubbed “Patient Zero” — could not have been the first person in the United States to have the virus that causes AIDS. (Netburn, 10/26)
“The goal is to get people out of pain,” spokeswoman Krista Bernasconi said. “Sometimes they come in in pain, with infections. The goal is to get them the care that they need.”
Free Medical Clinic At Cal Expo Will Serve Thousands This Weekend In Sacramento
Even as medical and insurance costs rise, free health care will be on hand at Cal Expo this weekend for anyone willing to wait in line. The three-day medical, dental and vision clinic, hosted by volunteer corps California CareForce, will begin registering visitors at 6 a.m. Friday to offer fillings, extractions, eyeglass fittings, diabetes screenings and flu shots to adults and children for no cost. The clinic will also be held Saturday and Sunday, opening at the same time. (Caiola, 10/26)
In other news from around the state —
Ventura County Star:
Memory Test In Ventura County Linked To Alzheimer's Angst
Anxiety over memory loss, and the possibility that it could be a sign of Alzheimer's, is triggering a free memory-screening program that began Wednesday. Organizers thought the confidential program would bring a handful of people. They were wrong. "It has exceeded our expectations," said Christine Voth, a program organizer with the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging. "We have had to triple book the whole schedule." During the free screening, people are asked to complete several chores, including remembering a series of words. They are asked to repeat the words immediately and then again later. (Kisken, 10/26)
The Mercury News:
Campbell Mulls Over Location, Delivery Of Medical Marijuana
The Campbell City Council is still mulling over the possibility of allowing medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation and delivery within the city. In an effort to avoid a costly special election, medical marijuana petitioners and the council are trying to reach a compromise that could allow access to medical marijuana in the city. (Leyva, 10/26)
At the time Auvi-Q was pulled from the market in 2015 — after reports that it was not delivering proper doses of epinephrine — it cost more than the EpiPen.
The New York Times:
An EpiPen Rival Is About To Return To The Shelves
The EpiPen is about to get some more competition. The makers of the Auvi-Q, an EpiPen alternative taken off the market last year, announced on Wednesday that they would bring it back in 2017. The move is certain to be welcomed by many patients and lawmakers, who have denounced the rising price of EpiPens and the lack of strong competition. (Thomas, 10/26)
In other national health care news —
Dr. Orange: The Secret Nemesis Of Sick Vets
Anyone who set foot in Vietnam during the war is eligible for compensation if they become ill with one of 14 cancers or other ailments linked to Agent Orange. But vets with an array of other illnesses where the connection is less well established continue to push for benefits. And those vets who believe they were exposed while serving elsewhere must prove it — often finding themselves stymied.It’s not just the vets. Some of their children now contend their parents’ exposure has led to their own health problems, and they, too, are filing claims. (Ornstein and Hixenbaugh, 10/26)
Experiment Plans To Release Bacteria-Bearing Mosquitoes At Large Scale
Two major philanthropic organizations, along with the United States and Britain, announced on Wednesday an ambitious experiment to combat mosquito-borne diseases in cities by infecting the insects with crafty bacteria. Researchers have used the bacteria, known as Wolbachia, in trials in places including Australia and Brazil in recent years. But those efforts were small, reaching areas with tens of thousands of residents. (Joseph, 10/26)
The Washington Post:
Bloodsucking Parasitic Hookworms Could Help Make Millions Of People Healthier
Necator americanus, the New World hookworm, is as long and thin as a vermicelli noodle. It will slip under your skin and travel through the blood to your trachea, where you will swallow it and give it a free ride to your small intestine. Upon arrival, it will open its tiny jaw, dig its teeth into your intestinal wall and begin to drink your blood. And it could be the key to making millions of people healthier. (Kaplan, 10/26)
Many Americans are choosing to pay the fine, which is low in relation to what their premiums would be.
The New York Times:
Health Law Tax Penalty? I’ll Take It, Millions Say
The architects of the Affordable Care Act thought they had a blunt instrument to force people — even young and healthy ones — to buy insurance through the law’s online marketplaces: a tax penalty for those who remain uninsured. It has not worked all that well, and that is at least partly to blame for soaring premiums next year on some of the health law’s insurance exchanges. (Pear, 10/26)
The Washington Post:
Confused By Obamacare? Here Are Answers To Key Questions.
Four years ago, when President Obama predicted that the Affordable Care Act would result in lower health-insurance premiums, we gave him Three Pinocchios. The “Obamacare” law had not been fully implemented yet, but we reviewed nearly 10 reports from states across the country on the potential impact of the law and concluded the law’s provisions “will almost certainly increase premiums, though tax subsidies will help mitigate the impact for a little over half of the people in the exchanges.” (Kessler, 10/27)
Los Angeles Times:
Hillary Clinton Promises To 'Fix' Obamacare Rate Hikes, But That's Unlikely With A GOP-Held House
Hillary Clinton promised to fix problems with Obamacare that led to average rate hikes of 25% next year for mid-level health plans before subsidies. But a quick fix, or any fix, seems unlikely given that it would probably require congressional action. (Bierman, 10/26)