- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- California Hospitals Improve Infection Rates But Threat Remains
- Women Doctors May be Better for Patients’ Health
- Please, Baby, Please: Some Couples Try Crowdfunding For IVF
- Covered California & The Health Law 1
- Going Beyond Talking Points On Uninsured: Repeal Will Affect Employer-Sponsored Care, Too
- Public Health and Education 2
- Less Than 20% Of LA Fifth-Graders Test In Healthy Fitness Zone
- So You've Had Your Genes Tested. Now What?
Latest From California Healthline:
Hospital-acquired infections kill 100,000 U.S. patients every year and cost $20 billion. (Ana B. Ibarra, 12/19)
Older patients who were treated in the hospital by women physicians were less likely to be die or be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, according to a new study. (Shefali Luthra, 12/19)
Infertility treatment rarely is covered by health insurance. And more couples who need it to conceive are turning to crowdfunding sites. (Stephanie O'Neill, 12/20)
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More News From Across The State
The Affordable Care Act mandates certain consumer protections — such as banning lifetime coverage caps — that affect all people with insurance, not just those on the exchanges, and could be stripped if Republicans dismantle the law.
Los Angeles Times:
If You Have Employer-Provided Health Insurance, An Obamacare Repeal Would Affect You Too
One of the first things Tracy Trovato did — once she overcame the shock of learning her 42-year-old, marathon-training husband had leukemia — was look through their health insurance documents.She dug up one paper that said the plan would pay no more than $1 million for medical services in a lifetime. The Chicago woman and her husband, Carlo, called their insurance company in a panic. (Schencker, 12/19)
In other news —
The Bakersfield Californian:
Coalition To Protest McCarthy's Stance On ACA
A rally protesting Rep. Kevin McCarthy's stated intent to work toward repeal of the Affordable Care Act will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday outside his Bakersfield district office. Activists cited the House majority leader's support of an ACA repeal with no replacement plan, despite the fact that counties represented by McCarthy have California’s largest Medi-Cal populations and therefore stand to lose the most under any Donald Trump/GOP plan that may be brought forward. Organizers say McCarthy can expect to see more than 100 constituents who stand to lose health coverage outside his Bakersfield office. They say repeal of the ACA would strip 30 million Americans of health care coverage. (12/19)
“Economically I don't see how [tobacco] is sustainable as an industry down the road,” said state Controller Betty Yee, a CalPERS board member who introduced the motion to expand the ban.
Los Angeles Times:
CalPERS Widens Its Ban On Tobacco-Related Investments
CalPERS on Monday rejected its staff’s recommendation to again invest in tobacco stocks and instead widened the ban on tobacco investments for the nation’s largest public pension fund. The staff of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System had recommended that the system’s board approve ending restrictions on tobacco investments managed by its own staff. The ban began 16 years ago. (Peltz, 12/19)
The company that owns the building will fight the decision, though.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Tri-City Says It Wants To Abandon Eminent Domain Fight
After spending millions of dollars on a court battle, Tri-City Medical Center announced Friday that it will try to abandon its eminent-domain claim on a three-story medical office building at its Oceanside campus. In a short statement, the public-district hospital said its board members voted 5-0 to drop the condemnation proceeding they started in 2014 because the $16.8 million value a jury put on the building in June is “double its actual value.” Tri-City said it will seek to pull back a $4.7 million deposit it made on the building and give the structure back to owner Medical Acquisition Company of Carlsbad. (Sisson, 12/19)
Despite enacting several health-oriented policies, the school system saw the number of healthy students drop slightly this year.
Los Angeles Times:
A State Fitness Test Suggests LA Students Have Some More Exercising To Do
How fit are the students of the Los Angeles Unified School District? According to a statewide test, not nearly as fit as they should be. L.A. Unified students at two of three tested grade levels performed a tad less well on the California Physical Fitness test last year than they did the year before. And overall, fewer than one-third of the tested students passed each fitness area assessed. (Resmovits, 12/19)
In other fitness news —
UC Davis Takes Part In Nationwide Study On The Biology Of Exercise
We all know exercise is good for us. But how does it really work inside our bodies? That’s the question behind a $2.3 million grant recently awarded to two UC Davis researchers who will study how intense bouts of exercise change the minute, molecular structures inside tissue, muscle and organs. It’s part of a nationwide, six-year study by researchers at more than 20 universities and health research centers, funded by the National Institutes of Health. (Buck, 12/19)
Many College Students Graduate 10 Pounds Heavier Than When They Started, Study Finds
The term “freshman 15” describing the dozen or so pounds that college students typically put on during their first year of school may be a bit of a misnomer, according to a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The study, led by researchers from the University of Vermont, found that students gain an average of just 3 pounds during their freshman year but about 10 pounds by the time they graduate. (Caiola, 12/19)
One company wants to help its customers use the data they receive from testing their genes in more productive ways, such as selling it to researchers or sharing it with their doctors.
A Complete Genetic Profile For You And Your Doctor, And Science
Over the years, a handful of direct-to-consumer genetic testing kits have come on the market. You take a swab, run it inside your check, send it to to a company, and they send back a breakdown of your genes. But once you have your genes on paper, what do you do next? One new company, Genos, is producing a more detailed profile for customers and they're giving them the ability to forward on their genetic information in the interest of science and research. (Paskin and Martínez, 12/19)
In other public health news —
Capital Public Radio/KXJZ:
Another Increase In Sacramento Homeless Deaths
A review of Sacramento County Coroner reports from 2015 found an increase in homeless deaths for the third year in a row. The annual report from the Sacramento Regional Coalition To End Homelessness says there were 78 coroners reports on homeless people in 2015 compared to a total of 71 in 2014 and 60 in 2013. (Moffitt, 12/19)
California Population Hits 39.4 Million, Birth Rate Falls
California’s birth rate has fallen to the lowest levels in modern state history, according to new Department of Finance estimates, which peg the state population at 39.4 million after growing by 295,000 from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016. (Miller, 12/19)
The state will be monitoring the children who received procedures at the dental clinic, which has now been ordered to shut down after bacteria was found in its new water system.
Orange County Register:
17 More Children To Be Monitored For Dental Infections
Seventeen children who received pulpotomies, or baby tooth root canals, at Children’s Dental Group in Anaheim since the clinic reopened last month will be monitored for signs of mycobacterial infection, the county Health Care Agency said Monday. On Friday, the agency ordered the clinic to close after multiple samples from its new water system tested positive for mycobacterium. (Perkes, 12/19)
In other news from across the state —
Ventura County Star:
Judge To Listen To Voicemails Cited In Health District Suit
A county judge has decided to listen to 180 voicemails left on the cell phone of former Camarillo Health Care District CEO Jane Rozanski in a case centering on the public's right to know versus the right to privacy. The district claims the voicemails show Rozanski's alleged romantic relationship with attorney Ralph Ferguson and the attempts by the two to respond to questions the district board was raising about Ferguson's legal fees. The district sued Rozanski in October on fraud and other grounds, contending that her actions had led to more than $425,000 in damages tied to overpayments to the Roseville attorney. (Wilson, 12/19)
San Jose Mercury News:
Oakland Dance Company Reaches Out To Disabled Veterans
[Dwayne] Scheuneman’s newfound cross-training regimen soon became a passion. It eventually brought him to AXIS Dance Co., a pioneering physically integrated contemporary dance group based in Oakland, which he joined in 2014. Today, Scheuneman, 48, is a member of the widely respected troupe known for pairing dancers with and without disabilities in dynamic commissioned works by renowned choreographers, including Bill T. Jones, Sonya Delwaide and Joe Goode. (Modenessi, 12/19)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Cancer Survivors At Rady Children'S Hospital To Ring In Treatment Victories
Finishing cancer treatment is a feat worthy of celebration, and patients at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego will soon have a new way to ring in such a milestone. On Thursday, the Emilio Nares Foundation, the homegrown nonprofit that provides about 4,100 free rides to and from Rady Children’s for families of kids undergoing cancer treatment at the hospital, plans to install a special Survivor Bell for the facility’s inpatient oncology unit — a place where patients often stay for days, weeks or even months at a time. (Sisson, 12/19)
LA Supervisors Want To Beef Up Home Visitation Programs
Two Los Angeles County Supervisors are calling for steps to better coordinate and expand the work of several voluntary home visitation programs that help parents raise healthier children. Arguing that the various programs and their funding are disjointed, Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Janice Hahn proposed a motion for Tuesday's board of supervisors meeting that would order the County Department of Public Health to develop a plan "to coordinate, enhance, expand and advocate for high quality home visiting programs." (Plevin, 12/20)
New Vallejo Mayor Wants Oil Industry To Pay For Air Monitors
The incoming mayor of Vallejo is calling on oil companies to foot the bill for new air monitors in five Bay Area cities that sit near local refineries. Mayor-elect Bob Sampayan wants the fossil fuel industry to pay for new devices in his city, Benicia, Martinez, Rodeo and Crockett — communities near the Valero, Shell, Tesoro and Phillips 66 facilities. (Goldberg, 12/19)
A new study finds that patients tend to do better with a female doctor. While the researchers weren't exactly sure why, they say the improved quality of care, if the techniques women use are broadly accepted as industry standards, could save 32,000 lives a year.
The Associated Press:
Does A Doctor's Gender Affect Your Chance Of Survival?
What if your doctor's gender could influence your chance of surviving a visit to the hospital? A big study of older patients hospitalized for common illnesses raises that provocative possibility — and also lots of questions. Patients who got most of their care from women doctors were more likely to leave the hospital alive than those treated by men. (12/19)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
Harnessing The U.S. Taxpayer To Fight Cancer And Make Profits
Enthusiasm for cancer immunotherapy is soaring, and so is Arie Belldegrun’s fortune. Dr. Belldegrun, a physician, co-founded Kite Pharma, a company that could be the first to market next year with a highly anticipated new immunotherapy treatment. But even without a product, Dr. Belldegrun has struck gold. (Richtel and Pollack, 12/19)
The Wall Street Journal:
GlaxoSmithKline’s New Drug Challenges AIDS Treatment Orthodoxy
GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s ViiV Healthcare announced positive phase-three trial results for its new HIV drug in a dual-drug regimen, supporting the company’s audacious bet that it can shift the AIDS treatment orthodoxy away from three-drug combinations. U.K.-based Glaxo said its HIV pill dolutegravir plus Johnson & Johnson’s rilpivirine suppressed the virus as well as traditional three- or four-drug combinations in two identical, yearlong trials, each involving around 500 patients. (Roland, 12/20)
Kaine To Serve On HELP Committee Next Congress
Sen. Tim Kaine, the former Democratic nominee for vice president, will serve on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee next Congress. The Virginia Democrat made the announcement Monday in Richmond, while speaking at a roundtable with health care providers and advocacy groups. He noted the post will give him an opportunity to work on health and education issues, which he said were “two longtime passions.” (McIntire, 12/19)
52 Weeks, 52 Faces: Obituaries Narrate Lives Lost To The Opioid Epidemic
As the death toll from the opioid crisis mounts, families are increasingly weaving desperate warnings into the obituaries of loved ones about the horror that can result when people abuse painkillers, heroin, and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl. Many words of remembrance have been transformed into pleas for help — directed at lawmakers, families suffering similar experiences, and the general public. Families are using these public notices to push for better and more treatment options while spreading the message that addiction is a disease and not something to be endured in shameful silence. (Armstrong, 12/20)