Latest From California Healthline:
California hospitals must comply with a new state law that requires them to try to find a safe place for homeless patients upon discharge. But hospitals say doing so isn’t as easy as calling a shelter and securing a cot. (Ana B. Ibarra, 4/2)
Good morning! President Donald Trump is back-pedaling on his promises that Republicans are working on a “spectacular” replacement plan for the health law. Now he says there doesn’t need to be a vote on the contentious issue before the 2020 elections. More on that below, but first, here are your top California stories for the day.
Lawsuit Alleges That Sharp Grossmont Hospital Filmed Female Patients Undergoing Medical Treatment: The cameras were set up because the hospital was trying to catch a medical thief. But they also ended up filming female patients at the hospital’s Women’s Health Center as they consulted with physicians, got undressed, underwent examinations and went under anesthesia for operations, according to the complaint. Furthermore, the complaint alleges that in addition to invading the women’s privacy, the hospital was negligent because the video footage was stored on computers used by multiple people, and not all of the computers were password protected. In response, Sharp HealthCare maintains that the videos were set up to protect patient health because the videos would lead to the identification of the person responsible for removing the drugs. The hospital did admit that, “although the cameras were intended to record only individuals in front of the anesthesia carts removing drugs, others, including patients and medical personnel in the operating rooms, were at times visible to the cameras and recorded.” The lawyer for the plaintiffs says the hospital was “reckless, to say the least.” Read more from The New York Times.
Prestigious Law Firm Was Tapped By USC To Thoroughly Investigate Abuse Allegations Against Gynecologist, But It’s Unclear If Results Will See Light Of Day: The report from O’Melveny & Myers about allegations against former USC gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall remains unfinished for now, and it is not clear if it will ever be shared with the alleged victims. USC attorney Shon Morgan did not provide a timeline for when O’Melveny would wrap up its investigation but said that ultimately USC may keep the results confidential, arguing that it is covered by attorney-client privilege. The status of the O’Melveny report was one of several issues raised about a proposed $215-million class-action settlement between USC and thousands of Tyndall’s former patients, which has rankled several legal experts in part because it, to them, seemed premature. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.
California Jury Order Chevron To Pay Families Of Two Brothers Who Died Of Cancer $21.4M: The jury concluded that the solvent benzene caused the cancers that killed brothers Gary Eaves and Randy Eaves, and that Chevron failed to properly warn the men about the dangers of it while they were working at a company-owned tire factory. The families’ lawyer argued that none of the plant workers wore respirators or protective clothing while working with the solvent, and that workers were never advised to handle benzene inside of a ventilation booth. Gary died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2015 at age 61. Randy died of leukemia in 2018, also at age 61. Read more from The Associated Press.
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
As New Report Highlights High Cost Of Retrofitting Hospitals In CA, We Discuss The Value Of The Seismic Standards
A new report from the RAND Corporation is now estimating that this will cost California hospitals between $34 billion and $143 billion, questioning whether the standards can be met without significant financial burdens on hospitals. The report also recommends some alternatives to the current legislation. (Mantle, 4/1)
Modesto CA Enforces Ban While Giving Homeless Place To Sleep
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to review a case in which it ruled last summer that prosecuting homeless people who sleep in parks and other public property because they don’t have a choice amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Eighth Amendment. The decision has had far-reaching consequences because the circuit court’s jurisdiction includes nine Western states, including California. (Valine, 4/1)
Orange County Register:
Arts Program At Santa Ana Homeless Shelter Would Give Residents A Missing Voice
If art truly is healing, what better place to introduce music, creative writing, drawing and other creative expressions than a homeless shelter? That’s the thinking behind Santa Ana’s plan to launch an arts program for people staying at its 200-bed homeless shelter, The Link. (Walker, 4/2)
Orange County Register:
At Disneyland, Smoking Is Out And Drinking Is In
Disneyland dropped a ton of new “Project Stardust” news last week, but I think we can distill it a lot of that to this: Disneyland is getting rid of its last smoking section to help make room for its first bar. So it’s “Booze 1, Smoking 0” on the scoreboard as Disneyland moves toward the long-anticipated opening of its new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land on May 31. The Disneyland Resort will go smoke free on May 1 as the park eliminates its designated smoking areas inside Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and bans smoking in Downtown Disney, forcing visitors who want to smoke or vape to go outside its security perimeter. (Robert Niles, 4/2)
The Mercury News:
What's The Right Age To Get Your Kid A Smartphone?
Catherine Amores is shopping around for a new smartphone only it’s not for her. It’s for her 8-year-old son Jacob. The stay-at-home mom says she will feel safer if her second-grader has an iPhone with him at all times. “Everything I see on the TV news makes me worry all the time. There was a school lockdown in our neighborhood recently. That’s why I think it is very important to get him a smartphone,” said the Hayward mother of three. “Being able to get a hold of him immediately will give me peace of mind.” (D'Souza, 4/1)
Trump Says Vote On Healthcare Can Wait Until After 2020 Election
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was willing to wait until after the 2020 presidential election to get Congress to vote on a new healthcare plan, giving Republicans time to develop a proposal to replace Obamacare. Congressional Republicans have been unable thus far to draft a proposal to replace Democratic President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act despite frequent vows to do so in recent years. (4/1)
Two Republican Attorneys General Urge Court To Uphold Obamacare
Two Republican state attorneys general on Monday urged a federal appeals court to uphold the Obamacare federal healthcare law, saying that striking it down would be disruptive for patients, doctors, insurers and employers.The attorneys general of Ohio and Montana submitted "friend of the court" briefs to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to review a December ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, striking down the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. (4/1)
The Washington Post Fact Checker:
Mick Mulvaney’s Nonsensical Math On Obamacare
Mulvaney, defending President Trump’s revived push to replace the Affordable Care Act, made several inaccurate statements about health care when he made the rounds of the Sunday-morning talk shows. But we are going to focus on this one because it involves numbers and allows for a relatively straightforward fact check. Mulvaney made a simple comparison: He said more people paid a fine for not having health insurance than people who gained from the ACA, a.k.a. Obamacare. So how do the numbers stack up? (Kessler, 4/2)
The Associated Press:
Association Health Plan Ruling Puts Some Companies In Limbo
A federal judge's ruling against a type of health insurance plan designed for small business owners has some companies now thinking about what to do next. The plans known as association health plans allowed sole proprietors and other business owners to band together to buy insurance at reduced rates. The attorneys general in 11 states and the District of Columbia successfully argued that the plans, part of a Trump administration policy, violated the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates said late Friday the plans were "clearly an end-run" around ACA provisions aimed at protecting consumers. (4/10)
The New York Times:
Americans Borrowed $88 Billion To Pay For Health Care Last Year, Survey Finds
Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion over the last year to pay for health care, according to a survey released on Tuesday by Gallup and the nonprofit West Health. The survey also found that one in four Americans have skipped treatment because of the cost, and that nearly half fear bankruptcy in the event of a health emergency. There was a partisan divide when respondents were asked whether they believed that the American health care system is among the best in the world: Among Republicans, 67 percent of respondents said they believed so; that number was 38 percent among Democrats. (Zraick, 4/2)
U.S. Government Boosts 2020 Medicare Payments To Insurers By 2.53 Percent
The U.S. government on Monday said it would increase by 2.53 percent on average 2020 payments to the health insurers that manage Medicare Advantage insurance plans for seniors and the disabled, a reflection of a new estimate on medical cost growth. The rate, which affects how much insurers charge for monthly healthcare premiums, plan benefits and, ultimately, how much they profit, represents an increase over the 1.59 percent increase proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in February. (4/1)
Pelosi Aide Sought To Undercut Medicare For All
A top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used a private meeting to encourage health policy groups to raise public concerns about “Medicare for All“ just weeks after Democrats recaptured the House majority, multiple people familiar with the session told POLITICO. Wendell Primus, Pelosi’s senior health policy adviser and a long respected voice on health and domestic policy, told the roughly two dozen attendees at the Nov. 30 gathering that House Democratic leadership worried the progressives’ push for Medicare for All risked diverting attention from the party’s core health agenda — the agenda that won them the House and would likely animate Democratic voters right into 2020. (Cancryn, 4/2)
The New York Times:
Impasse Over Aid For Puerto Rico Stalls Billions In Federal Disaster Relief
The Senate on Monday blocked billions of dollars in disaster aid for states across the country as Republicans and Democrats clashed over President Trump’s opposition to sending more food and infrastructure help to Puerto Rico. Opposition came from both parties for different reasons. Most Republicans refused to endorse a recovery bill passed this year by the House. They cited Mr. Trump’s opposition to the bill’s Puerto Rico funding, as well as their own concerns that the bill lacked money for Midwestern states, like Iowa and Nebraska, that have since been devastated by flooding and tornadoes. (Cochrane, 4/1)
The Associated Press:
2nd Guatemalan Child Dead In US Custody Had Flu, Infection
An 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died while in custody of the U.S. border patrol on Christmas Eve died of the flu and a bacterial infection, authorities in the Central American nation said Monday. Oscar Padilla, Guatemalan consul in Phoenix, Arizona, told The Associated Pres that the autopsy report on Felipe Gomez Alonzo was delivered in recent days and had found he died from the infection and "complications from influenza B." (4/1)
The Associated Press:
Measles Count In US This Year Already More Than All Of 2018
The number of U.S. measles cases through the first three months of this year have surpassed the count for all of 2018, health officials say. There have been 387 cases through March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. There were 372 last year. The numbers are preliminary, and may change. But the 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported. (4/1)
The New York Times:
Transplant Patients Need Anti-Rejection Drugs. Why Won’t Insurers Pay For Some Of Them?
The question might seem indelicate. But transplant centers find it is necessary these days to know the answer even before they place a patient on the list for an organ transplant. “How will you pay for the anti-rejection drugs?” These are patients with insurance — they need it to pay for the transplant itself — so it might seem obvious that their insurer would pay. But if, as often happens, the patient gets an organ transplant with private insurance and later enrolls in Medicare, she may be in for a shock. (Kolata, 4/2)