Latest From California Healthline:
Jorge A. Perez and his management company, EmpowerHMS, helped run an empire of rural hospitals. Now, in a staggering implosion, 12 of them have entered bankruptcy and eight have closed their doors, leaving hundreds of residents without jobs and their communities without lifesaving emergency medical care. So, what happened? (Barbara Feder Ostrov and Lauren Weber, 8/20)
Good morning! Among unusual fanfare, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed use-of-force legislation that was prompted by last year’s fatal police shooting of a young, unarmed man in Sacramento. More on that below, but first here are your top California health stories for the day.
As 'Red Flag' Legislation Grows In Popularity, UC-Davis Study Adds Weight To Theory That The Laws Prevent Mass Shootings: A study by University of California-Davis medical school researchers published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine examined 21 cases in which gun violence restraining orders were obtained through the courts because of potential mass shooting threats. The study found no subsequent indication of violence involving the subjects of the gun-seizure orders.
State Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, has written one of nearly 10 bills pending that would enlarge California’s red flag law. His legislation would expand the number of people who can petition the court for orders to include co-workers, employers and school employees who believe individuals are a public risk of gun violence.
California adopted its Gun Violence Restraining Order law after a disturbed 22-year-old man stabbed three men to death in his apartment and fatally shot two women and a man in a 2014 Isla Vista rampage before killing himself in a shootout with police. Weeks before, his parents, alarmed over his worsening behavior and online posts, had urged police to intervene. But officers left him alone after he told them it was a misunderstanding.
Community Clinics Try To Do Damage Control In The Aftermath of Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Rule: Low-income families have been pulling out of government aid programs like Medi-Cal and CalFresh since the Trump administration finalized its “public charge” rule, which allows immigration officials to consider the enrollment in such programs while making green card decisions. “Our patients are confused and fearful,” said Gilbert Soto, a community clinic enrollment specialist. “We’re letting them know and we’re reassuring them that the children are not impacted by the new public charge rule,” but they’re still pulling out. Even before the “public charge” rule was finalized Aug. 12, organizations working with immigrants reported an uptick in clients dropping out of benefits and forgoing medical care, including for their children. Read more from Claudia Boyd-Barrett of The California Health Report.
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
Gavin Newsom Signs Landmark Police Use-Of-Force Bill
California will soon have a tougher new legal standard for the use of deadly force by police, under legislation Gov. Gavin Newsom signed today that was inspired by last year’s fatal shooting of a young, unarmed man in Sacramento. Newsom signed the legislation amid unusual fanfare, convening numerous legislators, family members of people who have died in police shootings and advocates including civil-rights leader Dolores Huerta in a courtyard at the Secretary of State’s building used in the past for inaugurations and other formal events. (Morain and Rosenhall, 8/19)
California's New Police Use-Of-Force Law, Explained
In the culmination of one of the fiercest political battles of the year, California will have a new legal standard tightening the rules around when police can use deadly force. Flanked by lawmakers, activists and family members of people who have been killed by police, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law the new standard, which will take effect the first day of 2020. After unarmed Stephon Clark was killed by Sacramento police last year, the Legislature attempted to pass a new use-of-force standard, but the bill stalled. Its sponsor, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a San Diego Democrat, vowed to keep working at it until it prevailed. (Lyons and Rosenhall, 8/19)
California Northstate Seeks State Bonds For Elk Grove Hospital
California Northstate University hopes to sell up to $900 million in tax-exempt bonds through a state agency to finance its proposed medical center in Elk Grove, indicating the hospital may become a nonprofit operation. The private university’s proposed 250-bed, 12-story hospital has been mired in controversy since its initial announcement. Residents have expressed concern about its size, location, planned helistop, flooding issues, the demolition of Stonelake Landing shopping center required to make way for the project, and a lack of transparency. (Yoon-Hendricks, 8/20)
The Bakersfield Californian:
Four-Story, 106-Bed Patient Care Addition Planned At Mercy Southwest
When one considers the geographic locations of Bakersfield's major hospitals, four of them are concentrated in or near the city's downtown core. But most of Bakersfield's growth has been ever westward, placing pressure on the city's only major hospital west of Highway 99, Mercy Hospital Southwest. Soon, it seems, some of that pressure will be alleviated in a big way. On Wednesday, the Friends of Mercy Foundation will announce two significant donations from long-time supporters of Mercy Hospitals, the David and Catherine Gay Family and Drs. Ravi and Naina Patel. (Mayer, 8/19)
Ventura County Star:
St. John's Nurses Say They'll Strike Aug. 30 Unless Agreement Reached
Nurses at St. John's hospital's in Oxnard and Camarillo told their employer Monday they will leave their jobs on a 10-day strike starting Aug. 30 unless contract disputes are resolved. About 97% of voting nurses authorized a strike late last week, according to officials of the Services Employees International Union Local 121RN. The work stoppage could draw as many as 725 nurses at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo.Nurses said the action is driven primarily by disputes over security and staffing issues they contend jeopardize patient and staff safety. (Kisken, 8/19)
The Bakersfield Californian:
Omni Family Health Opens Newest Location In Delano
Omni Family Health celebrated the grand opening of its newest and largest state-of-the-art health center, located at 912 Fremont St., in Delano on Aug. 14. Scores of residents and would-be patients attended and heard special remarks from the office of Congressman TJ Cox and Delano Mayor Joe Aguirre, a ribbon cutting ceremony, lunch and tours of the facility. (Lyday, 8/19)
Breastfeeding Awareness Month
Breast milk — it does a baby good!Perhaps a catchy slogan can rally the community support that breastfeeding mothers are missing. Without the needed support, some Stanislaus County mothers stop breastfeeding their infants sooner than doctors recommend. (Mink, 8/19)
Orange County Register:
Tustin Woman Is 1st Human Case Of West Nile Virus In Orange County In 2019
A female resident of Tustin, in her 50s, is the first human case of West Nile virus reported in Orange County this year, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced Monday, Aug. 19. Last year, the virus affected 12 people in the county and resulted in one death, according to the Health Care Agency. The first human case reported in 2018 also was a Tustin woman. (Truong, 8/19)
What Is The Federal Government Doing To End Homelessness In LA?
Los Angeles' homelessness crisis is costing local governments and the state of California billions of dollars. Most of the money being spent to address it comes from taxpayers who live in L.A. County. But on the national level, L.A. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is sponsoring a bill that would boost federal spending on homelessness by $13 billion over the next ten years, according to the Congressional Budget office. (Tinoco, 8/19)
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Fountaingrove’s Vista Clinic Returns Two Years After Tubbs Fire
Demolition crews last summer had stripped Santa Rosa Community Health’s Vista Campus down to its metal frame and concrete floors, eliminating even the slightest hint or smell of smoke, mold and ash. ...The Tubbs fire torched a nearby play structure that, in turn, flung flames and embers onto the clinic’s roof, destroying it, according to health center officials. That triggered the building’s sprinkler system, which then flooded the entire two-story medical complex on Round Barn Circle. Water, mold and smoke damage rendered the site useless. (Espinoza, 8/19)
The Associated Press:
Wildfire Acreage Way Down In California This Year — So Far
California is not burning. At least not as much as it has in recent years. Acreage burned through Sunday is down 90% compared to the average over the past five years and down 95% from last year, according to statistics from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The stats are good news for a state that has seen terrifyingly destructive and deadly blazes the past two years, but the worst of those fires occurred in the fall. (8/19)
The New York Times:
Planned Parenthood Refuses Federal Funds Over Abortion Restrictions
Planned Parenthood said Monday that it would withdraw from the federal family planning program that provides birth control and other health services to poor women rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule that forbids referrals to doctors who can perform abortions. Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million annually through the federal program, known as Title X. The funds have enabled the group to provide more than 1.5 million low-income women each year with services like birth control and pregnancy tests, as well as screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and breast and cervical cancer. In some rural communities, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of such services. (Belluck, 8/19)
The Associated Press:
Planned Parenthood Leaves Federal Family Planning Program
Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood's acting president and CEO, said the organization's nationwide network of health centers would remain open and strive to make up for the loss of federal money. But she predicted that many low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood services would "delay or go without" care. "We will not be bullied into withholding abortion information from our patients," said McGill Johnson. "Our patients deserve to make their own health care decisions, not to be forced to have Donald Trump or Mike Pence make those decisions for them." (8/19)
Planned Parenthood Opts Out Of U.S. Subsidies In Fight Over Abortion Referrals
Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States, said its move was spurred by a federal appeals court decision last month clearing the administration's way to restrict Title X grants under a new policy critics have branded a "gag rule." In addition to barring recipients from making abortion referrals, the policy requires financial and physical separation between facilities funded by Title X and those where actual abortions are performed. (8/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
Planned Parenthood To Withdraw From Title X Funding Program Over Abortion Restrictions
Planned Parenthood has called the new rules a direct attack against the largest provider of federal family-planning services by a Republican administration that believes in using any legal and policy tools at its disposal to curb access to abortion and some forms of contraception. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said Planned Parenthood rejected the federal funds at the expense of its patients. “Some [Title X] grantees are now blaming the government for their own actions…and they are abandoning their obligations to serve their patients under the program,” said Mia Palmieri Heck, a spokeswoman for the HHS office running Title X. (Hackman, 8/19)
Los Angeles Times:
Planned Parenthood Leaves Title X Over Abortion 'Gag Rule'
Several states have pledged to try to come up with new funding to replace the federal dollars. The impact is likely to vary state by state. In some parts of the country, Planned Parenthood is the only Title X grantee, and in some regions, the state acts as a grantee, with several subgrantees, including Planned Parenthood facilities and other healthcare providers. The decision by Planned Parenthood — which gets about $60 million in funding and is the program’s largest grantee — is the latest in a years-long battle between abortion-rights supporters and Republicans, who have advocated the elimination all federal funding for abortion providers and the “defunding” of Planned Parenthood. (Haberkorn, 8/19)
The New York Times:
After Lobbying By Gun Rights Advocates, Trump Sounds A Familiar Retreat
Days after a pair of deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, President Trump said he was prepared to endorse what he described as “very meaningful background checks” that would be possible because of his “greater influence now over the Senate and over the House.” But after discussions with gun rights advocates during his two-week working vacation in Bedminster, N.J. — including talks with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association — Mr. Trump’s resolve appears to have substantially softened, and he has reverted to reiterating the conservative positions on the gun issue he has espoused since the 2016 campaign. (Karni and Haberman, 8/19)
The Associated Press:
Detained Immigrants Sue Over Conditions, Medical Care
Immigrants held in U.S. detention facilities filed a lawsuit Monday decrying what they called shoddy medical care and a failure by authorities to provide accommodations for disabilities. In the suit filed by disability and civil rights advocates in U.S. District Court, immigrants said they’re placed in isolation as punishment and denied recommended medical treatment and surgery. Some said they’ve been denied wheelchairs and a deaf detainee who communicates in American Sign Language said he has not been provided an interpreter. (Taxin, 8/19)
The Car Seat Industry Helped Delay A Child Safety Regulation — Again
A long-awaited federal safety standard to test child car seats for their effectiveness in side-impact car crashes has been delayed to March 2020 — more than six years since the regulation was first proposed and nearly two decades since Congress urged the Department of Transportation to address the issue. Attempts to improve car seat safety have bogged down because of a lack of good data on accidents involving children, antiquated technology and industry lobbying. The car seat industry has sought to delay the side-impact rule, arguing that the government should not act without also updating its other safety standards for car seats. (Porat, 8/20)
Juul, Philip Morris Sued Under Racketeer Act For Targeting Kids
E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc.and Philip Morris USA Inc.were sued for illegally marketing nicotine-delivery devices to minors and deceiving consumers about the risks of vaping. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a 19-year-old, Christian Foss, who says he became addicted to nicotine and suffered worsening asthma symptoms after he began using Juul’s device at 16, and seeks to represent all Illinois minors who used it. It alleges that Juul and Philip Morris violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, adopting the tobacco industry’s past use of catchy ad campaigns aimed at children. The Justice Department invoked RICO to sue the industry two decades ago. (Hanna, 8/19)