Latest From California Healthline:
Hospitals and nursing homes in California and Illinois hope that regional cooperation — and a special soap — will help them gain the upper hand against deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs. (Anna Gorman, 4/9)
Good morning! Lawmakers are hoping to shine some light on the mysterious inner-workings of pharmacy benefit managers today at a hearing. The PBMs have been feeling the heat lately as lots of finger-pointing over high drug costs is directed their way. More on that below, but first, here are your top California health care stories of the day.
Key Lawmaker Has Switched Sides In Fierce Debate Over Expanding Authority Of Nurse Practioners: Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) has previously voted against a 2015 bill to grant autonomy to nurse practitioners, but he said he was recently convinced a change was, in fact, needed. “A lot of people are lacking care,” said Wood, who is a dentist. “As we expand more and more to offering care to everyone, to not have providers is an empty promise and we can’t do that in California.” The California Medical Association has vocally opposed similar legislation in the past, arguing that nurse practitioners should not have autonomy because they lack the extensive education or clinical training needed to practice without the oversight of a doctor. Assembly Bill 890 will face its first hearing in the state Legislature on Tuesday. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.
U.S. Senators Open Investigation Into San Francisco-Based Juul Over Company’s Teen Marketing Tactics: The lawmakers sent a letter to Juul CEO Kevin Burns seeking detailed information about the company’s youth marketing tactics and the intentions behind its new partnership with Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris. "Altria has a long and sordid history of spending billions to entice children to smoke through targeted campaigns that intentionally lied about the science and health effects from cigarettes," the senators wrote. Juul has long said that its products are meant to help adult cigarette smokers wean off cigarettes, and the Altria investment will get more Juul products into the hands of smokers trying to quit cigarettes. Read more from The Hill, the San Francisco Chronicle, and CNN.
Kern Behavioral Health Slammed With $2.3M Monthly Sanctions From State Because Of Staffing Levels: The California Department of Health Care Services announced that it would be imposing $2.3 million in monthly sanctions onto Kern County for the county’s “failure to comply with network adequacy standards.” The state used a formula to determine how many mental health care workers the county needed to employ to adequately service Kern county’s needs, and it plans to enforce the sanctions by withholding $2.3 million in payment to the county. “They’re not saying there’s not adequate service,” said Bill Walker, the director of the Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. “They’re saying, using a math equation, this is how much staff you should have.” Walker was more concerned about how the sanctions will affect public confidence than the financial toll itself. Read more from the Bakersfield Californian.
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.