- Public Health and Education 1
- California Health Officials Hopeful Outbreak Of Fentanyl Overdoses Is Slowing
- Health Care Personnel 1
- Specially Trained Police Response Team Helps Resolve Mental Health Emergencies
Latest From California Healthline:
Legislation approved by a state Senate committee Monday would require medical practitioners to inform their patients if they are on probation for serious offenses. (Ana B. Ibarra, 4/12)
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More News From Across The State
An investigation by The San Jose Mercury News found that the California foster system was relying on powerful anti-psychotic drugs to soothe troubled and traumatized children. The legislation would grant the California Medical Board more authority in regulating doctors who overprescribe the drugs.
The San Jose Mercury News:
Foster Care Bill Targets Excessive Prescribing Of Psychiatric Drugs
The voices of foster youth and their advocates overcame the powerful physicians lobby in the Capitol on Monday, as a bill to identify and investigate California doctors who overprescribe psychiatric drugs to traumatized foster children won a key Senate vote. ... California's foster care system has come to rely on powerful antipsychotic drugs to sedate troubled teens, the newspaper's investigation revealed. But while a series of bills passed last year instituted many new measures to curb the practice, the laws did nothing to target the source of the drugs: the doctors who prescribe them. (De Sa, 4/11)
Although many physicians are hopeful about the usefulness of new technology, they say that it shouldn't be a replacement for traditional care. "It's like having a really bad doctor," warns Dr. Karandeep Singh, a professor at the University of Michigan.
Los Angeles Times:
Patients Increasingly Rely On Mobile Health Apps, But Their Reliability Is An Issue
For Julie Hadduck, a smartphone app that could diagnose cancer seemed like a miracle. When Hadduck photographed one of her daughter's moles, the app offered a diagnosis within seconds. "It came back red, and I was freaked out," said Hadduck, who lives in Pittsburgh. She took her 9-year-old to a dermatologist, who reassured them the mole was benign. Hadduck, 47, deleted the app. The app that Hadduck tried is one of more than 165,000 involving health and wellness currently available for download — a blending of technology and healthcare that has grown dramatically in the last few years. Experts see almost unlimited promise in the rise of mobile medical apps, but they also point out that regulation is sometimes lagging the pace of innovation, which could harm consumers. (Karlamangla, 4/12)
The San Francisco-based Genentech's drug is a checkpoint inhibitor, designed to remove the brakes that tumor cells trick the immune system into applying in order to avoid detection and attack.
The San Francisco Business Times:
Genentech Moves To Drug-Approval Fast Lane As Immunotherapy Speeds Up
An experimental lung cancer drug from Genentech Inc. shaved months off the drug-approval process, the company said Monday, as the field of cancer immunotherapy continues to accelerate. (Leuty, 4/11)
There have been no reported fentanyl-related overdoses in nearly a week, following a spree that struck Sacramento County in late March.
The Sacramento Bee:
No New Fentanyl Overdoses, But Eight Deaths Confirmed; Probe Is Top Priority For DEA
Calling it a hopeful trend, Sacramento County public health officials announced Monday that local hospitals have reported no new overdoses related to the painkiller fentanyl in nearly a week. Also Monday, the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office confirmed that eight of the region’s 10 overdose deaths over the past month were related to fentanyl. (Buck, 4/11)
Capital Public Radio reporter Bob Moffitt spends a day with a Sacramento officer who answers a nonstop flurry of calls.
Capital Public Radio:
A Day In The Life Of A Mental Health Emergency Responder
Cops don't just enforce the law. They must also find ways to peacefully resolve mental health emergencies. Reporter Bob Moffitt rides along with Sacramento police officer Michelle Lazark. She's part of a team that is trained to respond to the non-stop need for mental health services in the county. (Moffitt, 4/12)
The campus eventually could have 2,000 to 3,000 students and a faculty and staff of 300 to 400.
The Fresno Bee:
Clovis Becomes New Focus Of Medical School Plans By Assemi Family
The Assemi family, which had planned to build a medical school near Millerton Lake, has changed its mind and now hopes to anchor its health sciences university on land near Clovis Community Medical Center. The family, which represents one of the area’s leading developers under the name Granville Homes, has acquired or assembled about 70 acres in the Research and Technology Park in north Clovis. (Benjamin, 4/11)
In other news from across California —
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
First 5 Grants $2M To Board Members' Organizations
First 5 San Diego, the independent county agency that collects and spends tens of millions of tobacco-tax dollars on early childhood programs, last week approved almost $2 million in contracts for organizations run by two members of the commission. (McDonald, 4/11)
The Press Democrat:
IDo26.2 Fitness Program Teaches Sonoma County Kids The Benefits Of Running
Dressed in sporty white shorts and a T-shirt, Maurice Rucker, 8, zips around the recess blacktop at Proctor Terrace Elementary School, calling out to his teachers each time he completes the 587-foot schoolyard loop. (EDspinoza, 4/11)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
UCSD Event To Examine Medical Marijuana
People wanting to learn more about the latest scientific findings on medical marijuana can attend a free symposium on the topic Wednesday at UC San Diego. The event, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., is slated to be held in the university’s Medical Education and Telemedicine Building in La Jolla, on the school’s main campus. It’s meant to give an overview of research discoveries about cannabis and explain what’s still unknown. (Sisson, 4/11)
The Ventura County Star:
Free Dental Clinic Is This Weekend At VC Fairgrounds
Free dental care for anyone in need will be taking place Saturday and Sunday at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. About 700 dental and health professionals are volunteering their time to staff the event that is being put on by the California Dental Association. Called CDA Cares, the clinic will serve patients on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no identification required. (4/11)
The Obama administration hopes to recruit as many as 20,000 primary care doctors to participate in this plan to shift how physicians get paid and provide care.
Medicare Seeks Savings And Innovation With A Switch In Doctors' Pay
The Obama administration is recruiting as many as 20,000 primary care doctors for an initiative it hopes will change the way physicians get paid and provide care. The program, which was announced Monday, will be run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The aim is to stop paying doctors based on the number of billable services and visits provided to Medicare beneficiaries and instead to tie payments to overall patient health and outcomes. (Kodjak, 4/11)
New CMS Primary-Care Payment Model Would Affect 20K Doctors
Provider practices will be able to participate in two ways. In Track 1, the agency will pay a monthly fee to practices that provide specific services. That fee is in addition to the fee-for-service payments under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for care. Providers currently perform a service and then submit a claim to Medicare for payment. In Track 2, practices will also receive a monthly care management fee and, instead of full Medicare fee-for-service payments for evaluation and management services, they will receive reduced Medicare fee-for-service payments and up-front comprehensive primary-care payments. This hybrid payment design will allow greater flexibility in how practices deliver care outside of the traditional face-to-face encounter, the agency said. (Dickson, 4/11)
While NIH and CDC officials say they still don't expect a widespread outbreak in the U.S., they also warn that it's imperative that states are ready for the worst-case scenario. Meanwhile, the virus has been linked to a second autoimmune disorder.
The Associated Press:
US Officials: The More We Know About Zika, The Scarier It Is
The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the scarier it appears, federal health officials say, as they urge more money for mosquito control and development of vaccines and treatments. Scientists increasingly believe the Zika virus sweeping through Latin America and the Caribbean causes devastating defects in fetal brains if women become infected during pregnancy. "Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought," Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at a White House briefing. (4/12)
The Washington Post:
Zika Is Tied To Second Adult Brain Disease, Deepening Fears Of Virus’s Unknown Dangers
Brazilian scientists studying 151 patients who recently sought help at a local hospital for symptoms similar to those caused by Zika have made a worrisome discovery — that the virus may be associated with a second serious brain issue in adults. ... [Doctor Maria Lucia Brito] Ferreira was cautious in interpreting her findings, emphasizing that most people who experience nervous system problems with Zika do not have brain symptoms and that a definitive causal link between Zika and the ADEM has not been made. (Cha, 4/11)
The Washington Post:
Frightening Images Show The Insidious Way Zika Appears To Attack Babies’ Brains
In one of the first studies that sheds light on exactly how Zika attacks, researcher Patricia Garcez of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro took human neural stem cells and infected them with virus taken from a Brazilian patient. Neural stem cells -- which are able to turn into three major cell types that make up our central nervous system -- are the key players in embryonic brain formation. ... Under control conditions, the neurospheres flourished, with hundreds of them growing. But when they added Zika, the virus ended up killing most of the neurospheres within a few days. A similarly disturbing thing happened with the brain organoids. The infected organoids grew to only 40 percent of those that were not exposed to the virus. (Cha, 4/11)