- Coverage And Access 1
- Deep-Pocketed Organizations Form Coalition Geared Toward Killing Any Further Attempts At Single-Payer
- Hospital Roundup 1
- Patrick Soon-Shiong Brought Hope To Deeply Indebted California Health System. A Year Later It's Been Dashed.
- Public Health and Education 2
- Suicidal Students Devastated By Universities' Responses To Crises: 'I Reached Out For Help And Now I’m Suddenly Getting Blamed For It'
- Declaring Homelessness Problem A 'Crisis' Could Net Local Agencies Millions In State Funds
- The Opioid Crisis 1
- Experts See 'Enormous Change' After Massive Overhaul Of State's Substance Abuse Treatment System
- Around California 1
- NCAA Didn't Properly Warn College Football Players About Head Injury Risks, Wrongful Death Suits Allege
- Veterans Health Care 1
- Veterans More Vulnerable To Suicide And Can Have A Harder Time Reaching Out For Help
Latest From California Healthline:
Overall, Californians are beating cancer for longer due to earlier detection and better treatment of the disease, a new study reveals. But the gains are not felt equally: Whites fare better than blacks, and younger patients better than older. (8/28)
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More News From Across The State
One of the measures would impose a lifetime ban on individuals convicted of domestic violence, while another restricts the number of rifles and long guns someone can buy.
Los Angeles Times:
California Lawmakers Approve New Restrictions On Who Can Possess Firearms
California lawmakers on Monday approved a trio of bills that would reduce the number of people with access to firearms, including lifetime bans on owning guns for people convicted of domestic violence and individuals placed on involuntary psychiatric holds twice in a year by the courts. The three bills now head to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration. (McGreevy, 8/28)
Capital Public Radio:
New Firearm Restrictions Passed By California Lawmakers
The state already limits most gun buyers to purchasing no more than one handgun each month. Senate Bill 1177, which the Assembly passed, would extend that restriction to rifles and long guns. Democratic Assemblyman Miguel Santiago recounted the story of a gun owner with 144 weapons. “No one needs 144, no one needs 200 of these things, 10 of these things, or 30 of these things, outside of the exemptions that we’ve just stated,” he said. (Bradford, 8/27)
Lawmakers Pass New Firearm Restrictions, Send Bills To Gov.'s Desk
A second measure, AB 3129, would prohibit people convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors from ever possessing a gun. "Half of all female homicide victims are killed by intimate partners," said the bill's author, Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park). "We must do more to ensure the safety of our survivors of domestic violence." (Orr, 8/27)
In other news from Sacramento —
Los Angeles Times:
California Lawmakers Want The State To Collect Data On Drivers Under The Influence Of Pot
After she was injured in a car accident allegedly caused by a driver impaired by pot, state Controller Betty Yee is backing a bill approved Monday by the Legislature that aims to begin addressing the problem of drugged driving on California roads. The measure sent to Gov. Jerry Brown would require the California Highway Patrol to report on how many motorists stopped for impaired driving are allegedly under the influence of marijuana. (McGreevy, 8/28)
Instead of single-payer, the coalition is expected to press for alternatives, which could include expanding state insurance subsidies, allowing undocumented adults to sign up for Medi-Cal and creating a state-based individual mandate for everyone to have coverage.
Another Fight Over Single-Payer Is Brewing In California
A group of influential, deep-pocketed business and health care organizations that have long helped shape the legislative agenda in California have joined forces to oppose any future effort to craft a universal, single-payer health care system for the nation’s largest state. The main focus of the coalition, called “Californians against the costly disruption of our health care,” is to kill any single-payer health care bill in the state Legislature, said Ned Wigglesworth, a political strategist for the coalition. (Hart, 8/28)
Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong promised great improvements for the struggling Verity Health System when he took it over last year. Now it stands on the edge of bankruptcy.
Did Patrick Soon-Shiong’s High-Tech Gamble Help Bring 6 Hospitals To The Brink?
In the year since Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong took control of a deeply indebted California hospital system, it invested millions in technology that advanced his for-profit interests while cutting charity care and neglecting earthquake preparedness. Now, it stands at the brink of sale or, possibly, bankruptcy. Soon-Shiong, the Los Angeles surgeon and entrepreneur whose empire includes health technology firms and foundations, part of the L.A. Lakers and, most recently, ownership of the Los Angeles Times, bought a controlling stake in the firm that operates the struggling Verity Health System hospital chain in July 2017. Soon-Shiong saw Verity as a place to fulfill his longtime dream of advancing high-tech approaches to cancer treatment, and promised to provide “the highest level of care with the best outcomes at lowest cost for all Californians.” (Tahir, 8/28)
A series of legal challenges against universities' policies on students' mental health highlights the way the organizations struggle to respond to the young people in need. In other mental health news, conversion therapy is getting attention because of big-screen movies as states work to limit and ban the practice.
The New York Times:
Feeling Suicidal, Students Turned To Their College. They Were Told To Go Home.
When Harrison Fowler heard about the counseling center at Stanford, where he enrolled as a freshman last fall, he decided to finally do something about the angst he had been struggling with for a long time. The results were not what he had expected. Asked if he had ever considered suicide, he said yes. The center advised him to check himself into the hospital. From there, he was sent to a private outpatient treatment center, where he was prescribed an antidepressant that he said triggered horrible suicidal fantasies. It wasn’t long before he was back in the hospital, being urged to go home to Texas. (Hartocollis, 8/28)
'Conversion Therapy' Hits The Big Screen While Laws Play Out In States
A therapist forbade 16-year-old Mathew Shurka from speaking to his mother and sisters for three years. The youngest child and only son in a tight-knit Long Island family, Shurka said that his mom wasn't physically or emotionally abusive. Instead, the therapist told the teen to give the women the silent treatment because it would help make him straight. "When I first came out to my dad when I was 16, I was looking for his acceptance and approval about being gay. He was loving in that moment and said he cared and he'd be there for me, but he thought it was a phase, and he wanted to get me help," said Shurka, now 30. "He didn't raise us religious or anything. He just didn't think I'd be successful if I was a gay man." (Christensen, 8/27)
Local jurisdictions may declare a crisis if a compelling number of people are without shelter and their health and safety are threatened. In addition to the funding, the declaration allows government-owned buildings to be converted for shelter use, and it also may relax standards for temporary housing.
Is Homelessness A Crisis? Declaring It One Could Bring Money To Stanislaus County
Stanislaus County could ask its nine cities to declare that homelessness is a crisis, thereby positioning local agencies for millions of dollars in state funds. ... By concurrently declaring an emergency-shelter crisis, the county and its cities would clear an eligibility hurdle for some of the $11 million in state funds for housing, emergency solutions and other assistance, a county report says. (Carlson, 8/27)
In other public health news —
Los Angeles Times:
Climate Change Will Be Deadlier, More Destructive And Costlier For California Than Previously Believed, State Warns
Heat waves will grow more severe and persistent, shortening the lives of thousands of Californians. Wildfires will burn more of the state’s forests. The ocean will rise higher and faster, exposing California to billions in damage along the coast. ... The state’s assessment draws on the latest science, including more than 40 new peer-reviewed studies, to project the effects of the continued rise in greenhouse gases on California’s weather, water, ecosystems and people and offer guidance on how officials across the state might adapt. (Barboza, Boxall and Xia, 8/27)
The changes are part of a five-year pilot program authorized by the federal government. So far, 19 counties have adopted the program, and another 21 are scheduled to in the coming months.
The California Health Report:
More Californians Getting Addiction Treatment Under New Program, Counties Report
A massive overhaul of the state’s substance abuse treatment system is making it easier for counties to help people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, a new report by the California Health Care Foundation has found. For decades, people enrolled in Medi-Cal—the state’s low-income health insurance program—had difficulty accessing substance abuse treatment. Medi-Cal covered only a small selection of addiction treatment services, and there was no organized system to help them find quality care. Under the new Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System, participating counties can offer a much broader array of services to people with substance use disorders, coordinate and manage those services, and monitor the quality of care. Counties can also pay providers better rates, encouraging more of them to accept Medi-Cal patients, according to the Aug. 3 report. Medi-Cal covers more than a quarter of the state—about 10.7 million people. (Boyd-Barrett, 8/27)
The lawsuits, coming from the families of USC fullback Douglas MacKenzie and former UCLA running back Rodney Stensrud, are just the first in what could be dozens of challenges to the association.
Los Angeles Times:
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed Against NCAA On Behalf Of Former USC And UCLA Football Players
Family members of former USC fullback Douglas MacKenzie and former UCLA running back Rodney Stensrud have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the NCAA in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The complaints are among the first in a wave of suits expected to be filed against the NCAA and its conferences and universities in the coming months, that allege the sport’s governing body did not properly inform college football players of the risks of head injuries and the impact that traumatic brain injury could have on their long-term quality of life. (McCollough, 8/27)
In other news from across the state —
Were UCD Employees Recorded While Changing Clothes? Officials Say No
UC Davis Health employees are contending that a manager installed a video camera in a supply room where employees changed into their scrubs. But UCD officials said Monday that the camera had not been hooked up to record anything. (Anderson, 8/27)
Clovis Medical Centers Plans Skilled Nursing Facility On Herndon And Coventry
The area around Clovis Community Medical Center is going to see construction once again, as Community Medical Centers plans a $65 million skilled nursing facility just south of the hospital. ... It will have 150 beds and is designed for patients who need extended medical care, including rehabilitation services, from nurses and doctors.(Rodriguez, 8/27)
“When they’re in the military, it’s ingrained into them to be self reliant … and asking for help would negate all of that training," said Nichole Mulford, the executive director of Victory Village, a facility in Amador County that offers support to veterans in need.
Capital Public Radio:
Why Veterans Face Heightened Suicide Risk In Amador County And Other Rural Areas
About 12 percent of Amador County residents are veterans, compared to 6 percent nationally. Post-traumatic-stress disorder, substance use, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury and experience with firearms make veterans about 22 percent more likely to die by suicide than the rest of the population, according to research from the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Caiola, 8/27)
A surprising number of Americans are unable to pay for basic needs such as health care, a new survey finds.
The Associated Press:
Despite Strong Economy, Many Americans Struggling To Get By
Despite a strong economy, about 40 percent of American families struggled to meet at least one of their basic needs last year, including paying for food, health care, housing or utilities. That's according to an Urban Institute survey of nearly 7,600 adults that found that the difficulties were most prevalent among adults with lower incomes or health issues. But it also revealed that people from all walks of life were running into similar hardships. (8/28)
In other national health care news —
The Associated Press:
Law Firm Criticizes ICE For Toddler's Death After Release
A law firm representing the family of a toddler reported to have died after being released from an immigration detention facility issued new information Monday about what it called a "needless and devastating loss." Washington-based Arnold & Porter's statement Monday identifies the child by her first name, Mariee, and says she was 21 months old when she died in May. A Vice News story also released Monday said Mariee arrived with her mother, Yazmin Juarez, at the detention center in Dilley, Texas, in March, and died about six weeks after her release. (8/27)
How The Opioid Crackdown Is Backfiring
Last August, Jon Fowlkes told his wife he planned to kill himself. The former law enforcement officer was in constant pain after his doctor had abruptly cut off the twice-a-day OxyContin that had helped him endure excruciating back pain from a motorcycle crash almost two decades ago that had left him nearly paralyzed despite multiple surgeries. (Ehley, 8/28)
The New York Times:
Women Struggling To Get Pregnant Turn To Fertility Apps
When Nicole and Christopher Roberts of North Stonington, Conn., decided to start a family in 2016, Nicole quickly became pregnant, but then miscarried three months later. Getting pregnant a second time became far tougher than they expected. Mrs. Roberts, 32, started taking neonatal vitamins, tracking her menstrual cycle carefully, taking over-the-counterovulation tests, and even trying a few wacky internet suggestions, such as putting her legs up in the air after sex and not moving for half an hour. (Morrissey, 8/27)
Big Study Of Sepsis Is Risky For Patients, Says Consumer Group Trying To Stop It
A consumer advocacy organization is asking federal health officials Tuesday to halt a large medical study being conducted at major universities nationwide. Public Citizen says that the study, involving treatment for sepsis, puts patients at risk and will at best produce confusing results. (Harris, 8/28)
The Washington Post:
‘Survival Of The Laziest’: Finally, There’s A Scientific Reason To Not Get Off The Couch
No one is questioning whether leaving the couch to go for a walk or run or to lift heavy objects would personally do you some good — accelerating your heart rate, burning some calories, maybe even adding a few years to your life. But consider this: All that exercise may be a selfish act, a shortsighted game of checkers in an evolutionary chess match that’s been going on for eons. And by not stepping, you may have already taken the first step toward saving the species. (Wootson, 8/27)