- California Healthline Original Stories 5
- Elderly Hospital Patients Arrive Sick, Often Leave Disabled
- Better Access To Medi-Cal For Kids Living In California Illegally
- Syncing Up Drug Refills: A Way To Get Patients To Take Their Medicine
- ‘Lost In Translation:’ Hospitals’ Language Service Capacity Doesn’t Always Match Need
- In Later Years, Disabilities End Blacks’ Active Lives Sooner Than Whites’
- Covered California & The Health Law 2
- Draft To Open Covered California To Those Living In Country Illegally Released For Review
- Study: ACA's Expanded Medicaid Safety Net Dramatically Improving Access To Care
- Public Health and Education 4
- Drinks And Dancing -- With A Side Of Meningitis Vaccination
- California Teen Birth Rate Dips To Record Low
- Drinking Water Contaminated By Toxic Chemicals From Firefighting Foam, Study Finds
- Marijuana-Laced Candy Sickens Unsuspecting Partygoers, Including 13 Children
- Around California 1
- E-Cigarette Retailers Braced For Another Blow As Tighter Federal Regulations Go Into Effect
Latest From California Healthline:
Some hospitals try to avoid sharp declines in the health of elderly patients by treating them in special units geared to their specific needs. (Anna Gorman, 8/9)
Nearly 134,000 immigrant kids in California now receive full government health benefits because of a state law expanding their coverage. (Ana B. Ibarra, 8/9)
A study published in Health Affairs concludes that the idea of coordinating prescription refill timelines for people with multiple chronic conditions could improve their medication adherence and health outcomes. (Shefali Luthra, 8/8)
A study in Health Affairs finds that nationwide hospital-based language services are not available in a systematic way. (Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 8/8)
Elderly black women suffer most from shorter active life expectancy free of disabilities, showing no improvement since the early 1980s, Health Affairs study finds. (Rachel Bluth, 8/8)
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More News From Across The State
The most controversial measure in the package would require annual monitoring of high-prescribing doctors -- and allow the California Medical Board to crack down on violators by revoking their licenses.
San Jose Mercury News:
Drugging Our Kids: Legislation To Halt Overmedicating Foster Children Faces Key Votes
California's sweeping efforts to curb the overprescribing of psychiatric drugs to foster children face crucial votes in Sacramento this week, as legislators scramble to negotiate behind the scenes with doctors' groups and the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown whose support is key to the fate of the reforms. At stake is a series of bills that would monitor and investigate doctors for dangerous prescribing; require that judges have a second opinion for the most dangerous prescribing requests; and require better transparency and tracking of mental health services for foster kids in every California county. (Seipel, 8/8)
Read the series by the Mercury News: "Drugging Our Kids"
The state says that an estimated 17,000 people would gain coverage as a result of the waiver, which needs to be approved by the federal government.
The Press Democrat:
Covered California Draft Waiver Under Review By Federal Government
Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, has released a draft of a waiver under Obamacare that must be approved by the federal government before the exchange can begin selling health plans to undocumented immigrants. If approved, the draft waiver would allow Covered California to sell health plans in the individual market to undocumented immigrants, though the income-based subsidies available to U.S. citizens would not apply. (Espinoza, 8/8)
The study finds that in states that have expanded Medicaid patients were 16.1 percentage points more likely to have had a checkup in the past year, and 12 percentage points more likely to be getting regular care for a chronic condition.
Los Angeles Times:
Obamacare Is Helping More Poor Patients Get To The Doctor Even As Political Battles Continue
Even as the Affordable Care Act remains a political flash point, new research shows it is dramatically improving poor patients’ access to medical care in states that have used the law to expand their Medicaid safety net. After just two years of expanded coverage, patients in expansion states are going to the doctor more frequently and having less trouble paying for it. At the same time, the experience in those states suggests better access will ultimately improve patients’ health, as patients get more regular checkups and seek care for chronic illnesses such diabetes and heart disease. (Levey, 8/8)
Because of a meningitis outbreak that is disproportionately affecting gay and bisexual men, health officials are setting up pop-up free vaccination clinics at gay bars and clubs over the next two months.
Where To Get A Free Meningitis Shot In LA And Orange Counties
People hanging out this past Saturday night at Velvet Lounge, a gay bar in Santa Ana, might have been surprised by a special offer: Along with drinks, gay and bisexual men could also get a free meningitis shot inside the venue.The event was the first in a series of pop-up vaccination clinics that the Orange County Health Care Agency plans to hold at gay bars and clubs during August and September. It was a hit, with 31 people getting the shot and many expressing appreciation that the agency was there, says Jenna Sarin, the health care agency's division manager for family health. (Plevin, 8/9)
FAQ: What You Need To Know About Meningitis
It's a bacterial form of meningitis, which is an infection that inflames the lining surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. It's a serious medical condition that can cause brain damage, hearing loss and death. Viral and fungal forms of meningitis also exist, says Dr. Otto Yang, associate chief of infectious diseases and professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. (O'Neill, Fox and Plevin, 8/8)
The teen birth rate has decreased by more than half since 2000.
California Health Report:
Teen Birth Rate At Record Low In California
California’s teenage birthrate continues to decline and was at a record low in 2014, the state Department of Public Health announced today. Still, racial disparities persist in the state, where African American and Hispanic adolescents are three to four times as likely to give birth as white teens. Statewide, there were 20.8 births per 1,000 girls and women between the ages of 15 and 19 in 2014. (Guzik, 8/8)
The chemicals have been linked to cancer, high cholesterol and obesity.
Capital Public Radio:
Study: Chemicals From Firefighting Foam In Drinking Water
A study by UC Berkeley and Harvard University researchers finds a firefighting foam containing highly fluorinated chemicals is contaminating drinking water supplies around many of the nation's military bases, airports and industrial sites. ... Study co-author Arlene Blum says 6 million or more people may be drinking water contaminated with the highly fluorinated chemicals, including people in California's Central Valley. "The ones that we're finding the most of are used in firefighting foams used for practices at military bases and airports," says Blum, who is a visiting scholar in the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley. "Turns out fluorinated chemicals are pretty good at putting out oil and gas fires." (Joyce, 8/9)
A public health official calls the incident “a strong warning about the dangers of edibles.”
San Francisco Chronicle:
Edible-THC Gummies Suspected Of Sickening 19 At Quinceañera Party
Gummy-ring candy laced with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is the suspected culprit in a weekend incident in which 19 people fell ill at a quinceañera party in the Mission District, San Francisco health officials said Monday. Partygoers who ingested the candy Saturday night reported symptoms including heart palpitations, high blood pressure, dizziness and nausea. Nineteen people were taken to hospitals, 13 of them 18 years old or younger, health officials said. (Veklerov and Lyons, 8/8)
Candy That Sickened 19 People At San Francisco Birthday Party Contained Marijuana
A San Francisco birthday party took an upsetting turn on Saturday when guests began feeling ill after consuming orange candy gummy rings that were later found to contain edible marijuana. The candy sickened 19 people who unknowingly ate the marijuana-laced candy at a quinceañera party. They were all taken to area hospitals after experiencing symptoms including rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, lethargy and confusion, which can occur with edible marijuana consumption, San Francisco Department of Public Health officials said. (Fine, 8/8)
In other news —
LA Daily News:
Is Marijuana Safe For Pregnant Moms?
There’s a growing body of research that suggests marijuana can help with conditions such as nausea and pain while posing only modest health risks for adults. But as Californians get ready to vote Nov. 8 on whether to legalize recreational marijuana, there are broader public health questions to consider, from whether it effects developing fetuses to the impact of secondhand smoke. ...Southern California News Group is continuing an occasional series that surveys current research and interviews experts on common questions about marijuana use: the potential health risks, issues of government regulation and the experience of states where recreational cannabis is legal. (Edwards Staggs, 8/8)
Retailers who were already adjusting to the state's new laws surrounding e-cigarettes were hit with more limitations on Monday. “We’re having a hard time meeting our bills,” says one. “I can’t restock product.”
LA Daily News:
Tough New Vaping Rules Are Suffocating E-Cig Retailers
New federal regulations kicked in Monday for electronic cigarettes and some tobacco-related products, giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration greater control over what can be sold and limiting the way retailers interact with customers. ... All products that use a device in which a flavored liquid is heated into vaporized so it can be inhaled must now earn government approval. Also, merchants can no longer give free samples to customers, must ask customers for age-verifying identification and cannot claim that their products help smokers quit tobacco, store owners say. (Wilcox, 8/8)
They're particularly focused on waivers that would allow states to replace the law's insurance exchange structure with their own models.
Could Trump Loss Spur ACA Deal With Clinton?
With Donald Trump's presidential campaign faltering, Republican health policy experts are gaming out Plan B for working with a Hillary Clinton administration to achieve conservative healthcare goals. Their focus is on a possible “grand bargain” that would give conservative states greater flexibility to design market-based approaches to make coverage more affordable and reduce spending in exchange for covering low-income workers in non-Medicaid expansion states. (Meyer, 8/6)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
An Alternative Form Of Mental Health Care Gains A Foothold
Some of the voices inside Caroline White’s head have been a lifelong comfort, as protective as a favorite aunt. It was the others — “you’re nothing, they’re out to get you, to kill you” — that led her down a rabbit hole of failed treatments and over a decade of hospitalizations, therapy and medications, all aimed at silencing those internal threats. At a support group here for so-called voice-hearers, however, she tried something radically different. She allowed other members of the group to address the voice, directly: What is it you want? (Carey, 8/8)
Federal Officials Seek To Stop Social Media Abuse Of Nursing Home Residents
Federal health regulators have announced plans to crack down on nursing home employees who take demeaning photographs and videos of residents and post them on social media.The move follows a series of ProPublica reports that have documented abuses in nursing homes and assisted living centers using social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. These include photos and videos of residents who were naked, covered in feces or even deceased. They also include images of abuse. (Ornstein and Huseman, 8/8)
The Wall Street Journal:
A Better Safety Net For Young Doctors
In hospitals, summer is the season when newly minted medical school graduates start their first year of residency, taking on patient care with little hands-on experience. For patients, that means a visit from a doctor who might look young and untested. To make sure residents ask for help from a senior doctor, more hospitals are developing formal “escalation-of-care” policies with clear guidelines on when it’s time to call one. Residents may fail to ask for help due to overconfidence, lack of knowledge or fear of seeming incompetent, studies show. (Landro, 8/8)
The New York Times:
Minorities Suffer From Unequal Pain Treatment
Roslyn Lewis was at work at a dollar store here in Tuscaloosa, pushing a heavy cart of dog food, when something popped in her back: an explosion of pain. At the emergency room the next day, doctors gave her Motrin and sent her home. Her employer paid for a nerve block that helped temporarily, numbing her lower back, but she could not afford more injections or physical therapy. ... The experience of African-Americans, like Ms. Lewis, and other minorities illustrates a problem as persistent as it is complex: Minorities tend to receive less treatment for pain than whites, and suffer more disability as a result. (Goodnough, 8/8)
Cool Temperatures, Few Mosquitoes Make Games Zika-Free, So Far
So far, at the Olympics many feared would be the Zika Games, so good. With as many as one million people expected to attend the spectacle, half of them foreigners, Rio de Janeiro has not turned out to be the Zika hothouse some athletes and visitors feared as the virus wreaked havoc in Brazil earlier this year. Despite some hot days, swings back to cooler temperatures in Brazil's winter mean that the population of the mosquito responsible for spreading the virus has dwindled. (8/8)