- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- Elderly Patients In The Hospital Need To Keep Moving
- When It’s Time To Split Up The Family
- Covered California & The Health Law 1
- Doctor Embarks On ACA 'Listening Tour,' Finds Outpouring Of Resentment, Bitterness
- Marketplace 1
- Companies Told To Waive Rights To Sue Sutter Or Lose Access To Discounted In-Network Prices
- Public Health and Education 3
- When It Comes To Cosmetic Products' Safety, FDA's Hands Are Tied. Some Want To Change That.
- Study Finds Link Between Tylenol Use During Pregnancy, Kids' Behavior Problems
- Writer Chronicles Sister's Use Of California's New Aid-In-Dying Law
Latest From California Healthline:
Spending too much time in their hospital beds can leave older patients sicker than when they were first admitted. (Anna Gorman, )
Covered California is making it easier for consumers to buy different health plans for different family members. (Emily Bazar, )
More News From Across The State
Dr. Paul Gordon is biking across the country to hear from Americans what they think of the health law. At first he was surprised and upset about the lack of understanding and empathy he witnessed. But then he became inspired to be the person who changed their minds.
Los Angeles Times:
A Doctor Bikes Across The Country To Ask Americans About Obamacare. This Is How He Ended Up Feeling Hopeful
On sabbatical from the University of Arizona, he had set off in the spring on a cross-country bicycling trip and “listening tour” from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, talking along the way to Americans about the controversial health law that President Obama signed six years ago. Much of what Gordon uncovered was as unsettling as the current presidential campaign. Americans raged at the government, at the healthcare system, at fellow citizens who’d gained coverage through Obamacare. The outpouring of resentment and apparent lack of empathy disturbed Gordon at first. “Not a lot of generosity of spirit,” he noted glumly over the phone early in his trip. (Levey, 8/16)
Critics of the contract say it would increase Sutter's dominance over the market, which is already outsized.
Arbitrate Or Else: Sutter Health Drives A Hard Bargain
Bay Area companies say Sutter Health is strong-arming them into a contract that would help the medical system secure its power over prices and potentially raise the cost of medical care for their employees in the future. Dozens of companies received a letter in recent months, via their insurance administrators, asking them to waive their rights to sue Sutter. If they don’t, the letter says, the companies’ employees who get care at Sutter will no longer have access to discounted in-network prices. (Dembosky, 8/15)
“Any campaign that involves the tobacco, oil or pharmaceutical industry, or any other deep-pocketed interest group — and in California, they’re particularly frequent targets — campaigns costing many tens of millions of dollars are the norm," one Democratic strategist says.
California’s 2016 Ballot: ‘Sex. Drugs. Guns. Death.’
Two measures relating to health care have been especially costly: Supporters of Proposition 52, which relates to hospital fees, have raised $59 million so far; opponents have contributed more than $14 million. Backers of Proposition 61, which would limit prescription drug prices, have poured $9.4 million into their campaign. In response, pharmaceutical companies have spent nearly $70 million to quash the measure. (Wilson, 8/15)
A lawsuit involving 17 individuals and four nonprofit organizations claims that the plaintiffs have suffered severe and irreparable injury under the law in that it violates state and federal constitutional protections of due process.
The Sacramento Bee:
Opponents Try To Block California Vaccination Law As School Starts
As Sacramento area school districts step up efforts to ensure that kindergartners and seventh graders get vaccinated so they can attend class, a federal judge in San Diego is weighing whether to temporarily block the law that eliminated parents’ ability to exempt their children from shots by citing personal beliefs. Rebecca Estepp, spokeswoman for the nonprofit Education 4 All Foundation, said U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw announced he expects to decide the week of Aug. 22 whether to temporarily halt Senate Bill 277 while a lawsuit goes forward. The foundation is one of 21 plaintiffs in the suit. (Kalb, 8/15)
It's a conversation fraught with fear and anxiety, and both physicians and patients struggle to make those conversations productive and helpful in the end.
The Sacramento Bee:
Cancer Conversations: How To Manage The Tough Talk For Doctors, Patients
Cancer conversations have always been difficult, especially when dealing with the prognosis for survival. There can be a jarring disconnect between what a doctor says and what a patient hears. ... That disparity showed up vividly in a recent study by medical school researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Rochester. (Buck, 8/15)
A Los Angeles-based hair care product that consumers claim has caused hair loss is at the center of a battle that's been brewing over how much the government should be able to regulate cosmetic products. Right now, they can't do much, even if someone dies. But advocates are moving to increase the Food and Drug Administration's power.
The New York Times:
Their Hair Fell Out. Should The F.D.A. Have The Power To Act?
When the Los Angeles hairstylist Chaz Dean pitched his almond mint and lavender-scented hair care products — endorsed by celebrities like Brooke Shields and Alyssa Milano — he sold millions. But his formula got an unexpected result: itching, rashes, even hair loss in large clumps, in both adults and children. More than 21,000 complaints have been lodged against his Wen Hair Care, and Mr. Dean, the blue-eyed, golden-haired stylist to the stars, has found himself at the center of a fierce debate over the government’s power to ensure the safety of a cosmetics industry with about $50 billion in annual sales. (Lipton and Abrams, 8/15)
However, the researchers say the effect overall was relatively small and that pregnant women should not avoid acetaminophen when it's needed.
Los Angeles Times:
Acetaminophen Use In Pregnancy Linked To Kids' Behavioral Problems
Acetaminophen, long the mainstay of a pregnant woman’s pain-relief arsenal, has been linked to behavioral problems in children born to mothers who used it during pregnancy. Research published Monday by the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that a woman’s use of acetaminophen at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy was associated with greater odds that when the resulting child was 7 years old, his or her mother would report a range of problematic behaviors. (Healy, 8/15)
Tylenol During Pregnancy: Is There An Effect On Kids' Behavior?
There's no question the study addresses an important topic. About half of all pregnant women take acetaminophen during pregnancy because it's considered safer than other painkillers. And hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in childhood are common and potentially disruptive. The study reports that these behavioral problems were about 20 to 45 percent more common among the children of women who took acetaminophen during pregnancy. So it sounds like a pretty important finding, right? Well, it's not quite so simple. (Harris, 8/15)
Betsy Davis' last celebration had only one rule: There would be no crying in front of her.
San Diego Union Tribune:
'I’d Rather Be Free Than Entombed In My Body': One ALS Patient's Choice To Employ End-Of-Life Law
Last August, my sister Betsy asked if I knew anything about using bitcoin, a form of virtual currency.It took me a while to realize why she was asking: She wanted to buy a lethal amount of drugs and she didn’t want the purchase to be traceable.Betsy was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in July 2013. It’s a cruel disease that slowly robs a person of the ability to move, speak, eat and, eventually, breathe. There is no treatment, let alone a cure, and there probably won’t be for several years. (Davis, 8/15)
The location will provide appointments with specialists in neurology, gastroenterology and sleep medicine.
Sacramento Business Journal:
UC Davis Medical Group Opens New Medical Offices
UC Davis Medical Group has started moving outpatient services into a freshly renovated medical office building in East Sacramento. The new UC Davis Midtown Ambulatory Care Center is in 91,000 square feet at 3160 Folsom Blvd. The university medical group signed a lease for the building two years ago. It had been vacant before that. Construction work on the building then took several lanes of Folsom Boulevard out of traffic circulation for nearly two years. (Anderson, 8/15)
The move also means that at least one Arizona county is at risk of having no insurers offering exchange plans in 2017.
The New York Times:
Aetna To Pull Back From Public Health Care Exchanges
In a blow to President Obama’s health care law, Aetna, one of the nation’s major insurers, said Monday that it would sharply reduce its participation in the law’s public marketplaces next year. Aetna said it would no longer offer individual insurance products on the exchanges in about two-thirds of the 778 counties where it now provides such coverage. The company will maintain a presence on exchanges in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Virginia, it said. (Pear, 8/16)
In other national health care news —
Hillary Clinton Endorses Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot Initiative
Hillary Clinton endorsed the Obama administration’s cancer moonshot initiative on Monday and pledged to continue its work if she is elected president. The announcement preceded a campaign event that Clinton is holding with Vice President Joe Biden, who has led the effort after the death of his son Beau of brain cancer in 2015. (Scott, 8/15)
Studies Disagree On Effectiveness Of FluMist Nasal Vaccine
It came as a surprise this June when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against using the nasal flu vaccine for the 2016-2017 flu season, citing a lack of evidence that it works. Now, findings from a Canadian study appear at first blush to contradict the research that led the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to recommend against that live attenuated vaccine. But things aren't so simple. (Haelle, 8/15)
The Washington Post:
Zika And The Race To Quell Outbreaks: My Talk With Anthony Fauci, NIH’s Top Vaccine Expert
Anthony Fauci has spent his career hunting ways to treat and prevent infectious diseases, from tuberculosis to severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. He did pioneering work on deciphering how HIV/AIDS attacks the human immune system, and during more than three decades as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has continued the quest to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic across the world. In recent years, Fauci and other researchers at NIH, working alongside the pharmaceutical industry, also have found themselves scrambling to develop vaccines and treatments for emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. (Dennis, 8/15)
The Wall Street Journal:
When Children Are Diagnosed With A Sensory Disorder
Ms. Marsh took Brody, now 6, to an occupational therapist who determined he had a sensory-processing disorder, or SPD, a condition in which the body and brain have difficulty processing and responding to sensory stimuli in the environment. Some people with SPD are hypersensitive to loud noises or different textured foods, for instance; others may be agitated by the touch of a clothing tag. Still other children with SPD may show hardly any response to external stimuli. SPD is believed to affect 5% to 16% of children in the U.S., various studies have found. Not all doctors accept the existence of SPD, which isn’t listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (Reddy, 8/15)