- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- Money For Housing Californians With Mental Illness Heads To Ballot Box
- Elections 1
- Lawmakers May Have Just Passed A Ban On Local Soda Taxes, But Is Reprieve For Industry Short-Lived?
- Hospital Roundup 1
- LA Hospital To Pay $550K Following Investigation Into Hundreds Of Cases Of Patient Dumping
- Public Health and Education 1
- Clinic See Success In Upending Traditional Model Of Addiction Treatment
Latest From California Healthline:
About $2 billion in funding approved by the legislature to provide housing for homeless people with mental illness has been stalled by a legal challenge. In an attempt to bypass the lawsuit, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators have agreed to bring the issue to voters in November. (Alex Leeds Matthews, 7/3)
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More News From Across The State
Health groups want to get an initiative on the ballot that would protect local governments' rights to impose soda taxes.
Los Angeles Times:
Healthcare Groups Want California Voters To Tax Soda
Soda companies got a respite last week from battling local taxes on sugary beverages, after California lawmakers grudgingly passed a 12-year ban on cities and counties imposing the levies. That reprieve might be short-lived. Major healthcare groups announced Monday that they will pursue a statewide soda tax initiative on the 2020 ballot to pay for public health programs. And in another jab at the beverage industry, the initiative would enshrine in the California Constitution the right of local governments to impose soda taxes. (Mason, 7/2)
Dumping homeless patients -- discharging them when they have nowhere to go other than a shelter unequipped to handle their medical needs -- is a national issue that has hit California particularly hard.
The Associated Press:
LA Hospital To Pay $550K In Homeless Patient Dumping Case
A Los Angeles hospital suspected of discharging hundreds of homeless patients and dumping them at bus and train stations instead of shelters or other facilities agreed to pay a $550,000 legal settlement, prosecutors announced Monday. Silver Lake Medical Center, which operates a 118-bed psychiatric facility, agreed to stop the practice and put policies in place to make sure homeless patients are delivered to facilities that can care for them, City Attorney Mike Feuer said. (7/2)
"Healthcare provider organizations need to start thinking about what data they have and whether or not it is covered by HIPAA and what data they might be getting from other sources they may not be covered by HIPAA," said Dominique Shelton, co-chair of Perkins Coie's ad tech privacy and data management group.
California Law Introduces New Data Concerns For Healthcare Organizations
California legislators are giving companies dealing in personal data—including some health information—yet another set of restrictions to contend with thanks to a new broad privacy law passed last week. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 gives consumers more control over the personal data that businesses collect. Companies have to tell people what data they've collected, what they're using the data for, and which third parties they've given access to the data, among other requirements. (Arndt, 7/2)
“Traditionally, substance use disorders were treated in more of a crisis episodic way – go away for 28 days of treatment, come home and maybe it all works out,” said Christopher Yadron, vice president Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation West Region. The clinic takes a different approach.
The Desert Sun:
Betty Ford Center Using Controversial Drugs In Opioid-Addiction Treatment
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency and outlined five major priorities in addressing the opioid problem. ...[The] fifth priority is promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs – which is at the heart of the COR-12 program created by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and combines the use of opioids with a traditional 12-step abstinence program. It’s part of an ongoing effort to find and develop new ways to help more people coming to the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage – and Hazelden’s 17 facilities nationwide – to get sober and stay sober, said Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and a creator of the COR-12 program. (Barkas, 7/2)
In other public health news —
The Mercury News:
Spike In County Child Drownings Prompt Calls For Safety Reminders
Since May, three children have drowned in swimming pool accidents in Santa Clara County, and there has been as many near-drownings so far this summer as all of last summer. Concerned health care providers are reminding parents and adults about safety precautions in and around water, especially during the summer. (Lam, 7/2)
Capital Public Radio:
First Drug Using Cannabis Compound Gets Federal Approval, But Will California Docs Be Able To Prescribe It?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just approved the first-ever drug containing cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It’s an ingredient derived from marijuana plants, but it isn’t psychoactive like THC. The new CBD drug is called Epidiolex, and it’s now approved to treat two rare forms of childhood-onset epilepsy — Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. (Caiola, 7/2)
San Diego Parkinson's Fighters Battle Disease As Researchers Close In On Breakthrough
Parkinson’s progressively deteriorates motor skills, balance and speech. ...That’s why Rode and her 20 fellow Parkinson's fighters are taking matters into their own hands. (Murphy, 7/3)
Air District Explains Why Smoke Advisory From Wildfires To The North Came Late
Local air regulators issued a smoke advisory Sunday afternoon, hours after many people in the Bay Area woke up to an orange sky, ash falling to the ground and the smell of smoke in the air. Winds had pushed smoke and debris from the massive County Fire burning in Yolo and Napa counties into the central Bay Area, causing a flurry of photos on social media and alerts from some local agencies and elected officials. (Goldberg, 7/2)
The pilot project would cost about $625,000 to run 12 hours a day, seven days a week, the city manager's office estimates.
Sacramento Homeless: City Council Will Consider New Bathroom
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday will consider opening more restrooms for homeless people in the downtown area, following months of researching ways to reduce human waste and address public health concerns. The city manager's office is recommending that the council allow homeless people to use restrooms in an existing building at North A and 14th streets in the River District, and contract with the county to help connect bathroom users with housing and medical and social services. (Hubert, 7/3)
In other news from across the state —
Los Angeles Times:
UC Irvine And Other Colleges Are Increasing Mental Health Services
The newest Youth Risk Behavior Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released in June, while containing some good news — including declines in sexual activity and drug use — also indicates the continuation of troubling trends regarding stress, depression and suicidal ideation among teens. When teens enter college those problems don’t go away; indeed, they can become amplified because of the added pressures of performing in a new, academically rigorous environment, coupled with the challenge of making new friends. (Apodaca, 7/2)
The Bakersfield Californian:
Medicare Issuing New, More Secure Cards, Prompting Scams
California residents on Medicare should expect to receive new, more secure insurance cards in the mail by the end of summer, and be on the lookout for potential scams. Cate Kortzeborn, the deputy regional administrator for Medicare in California, said these new cards, which use randomly generated identification numbers rather than Social Security numbers, are a step in the right direction for preventing fraud. However, scams have been reported across the country in which people are using the new cards as an opportunity to request personal information. ...Scammers may ask for personal information, your new Medicare number or for a fee to receive your card, which will automatically come in the mail. (Allen, 7/2)
California Prison Buys Bottled Water Because Of Penalties
California's corrections department is spending $46,000 a month to buy bottled water for inmates and staff at a prison in Tracy where it opened a state-of-the-art water treatment plant eight years ago. Deuel Vocational Institution draws water from brackish wells on its grounds and runs it through a two-step treatment process before providing it to 2,300 inmates and 1,000 employees for drinking or for showers. (Ashton, 7/2)
A new group is pouring millions into the fight over the Supreme Court pick. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's widely publicized list of potential nominees was a winning part of his campaign strategy, but it may now have become a liability.
The Associated Press:
Trump Talks To 4 Possible Court Nominees As Interviews Begin
President Donald Trump has interviewed four prospective Supreme Court justices and had plans to meet with a few more as his White House aggressively mobilizes to select a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Eager to build suspense, Trump wouldn't divulge whom he's talking to in advance of his big announcement, set for July 9. But he promised that "they are outstanding people. They are really incredible people in so many different ways, academically and in every other way. I had a very, very interesting morning." (7/3)
Liberal Group Launches $5 Million Push Against Trump’s SCOTUS Pick
A new group aiming to serve as a liberal counterweight to the right on judicial nominations plans to spend $5 million opposing President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick. Demand Justice will invest in radio, TV, digital and voter mobilization, an official said. The campaign will focus on Maine and Alaska, homes of moderate Senate Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, respectively, as well as Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia, where vulnerable Senate Democrats are seeking reelection. (Everett, 7/2)
The List Won Trump The White House. Now Democrats Are Using It Against Him.
It’s the list that won him the presidency. President Donald Trump’s widely publicized list of potential Supreme Court nominees brought conservative doubters — including evangelicals — to the highly unconventional Republican nominee’s side. It prevented them from fleeing as the “Access Hollywood” tape threatened to tank Trump’s campaign. And it reassured them throughout Trump’s turbulent presidency, especially when he pulled from it to ensure Justice Neil Gorsuch’s smooth ascent to the high court. (Woellert and Cadelago, 7/2)
How Amy Coney Barrett Vaulted Onto Trump’s Supreme Court Shortlist
If nominated to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett may have Sen. Dianne Feinstein to thank. A confrontation with the California senator during her confirmation hearing to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last October vaulted Barrett, 46, onto the national stage. As Feinstein pressed her on whether she would be able to render judicial rulings faithful to the law given her deeply held religious beliefs, Barrett became a hero to religious conservatives who believe liberal Democrats target them for their faith. (Johnson, 7/2)
Collins Voices Skepticism That New Supreme Court Will Overturn Roe V. Wade
GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) is voicing skepticism that the Supreme Court will overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion regardless of who is confirmed to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. In an interview with "The Daily" podcast that was posted on Monday, Collins said she believes Chief Justice John Roberts could be a vote against overturning the ruling. (Carney, 7/2)
Pro-Abortion Rights Activists Sending Coat Hangers To GOP Senator: Report
Pro-abortion rights activists are reportedly sending Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) wire coat hangers in the mail in an effort to press her to vote against any Supreme Court nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade. The Cut reported Monday that advocates are sending Collins wire coat hangers as a graphic reminder of some of the steps historically taken when access to abortion has been restricted (Gstalter, 7/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Chief Justice Roberts Moves To Man In The Middle On The Supreme Court
Though John Roberts has been chief justice of the United States for 13 years, this fall’s term may see the true birth of the Roberts Court. With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice Roberts will be the new man in the middle on the Supreme Court. He will have four steadfastly liberal justices on his left and likely four deeply conservative ones to his right, including a second justice appointed by President Donald Trump. (Kendall, 7/2)
The Associated Press:
Things To Know About Abortion And The Supreme Court
Abortion rights is emerging as a litmus test for the next Supreme Court nominee, with Democrats and at least one moderate Republican declaring they wouldn't support a nominee who opposes the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that established a woman's right to abortion. But there's less here than meets the eye. Here's why. (7/2)
The data shows that, even though the total number of people choosing a health plan for 2018 dipped, a higher proportion of those who picked coverage went on to make a premium payment so that they would actually be insured.
The Washington Post:
More Americans Pay For ACA Health Plans, Despite Trump Administration Moves To Undercut Law
The number of Americans who bought and began to pay for Affordable Care Act health plans grew slightly this year, despite repeated efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the insurance marketplaces created under the law, new federal figures show. As of February, a month after the start of 2018 coverage, 10.6 million people had paid premiums for ACA health insurance, about 3 percent more than the year before, according to enrollment analyses released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). (Goldstein, 7/2)
The New York Times:
When Health Insurance Prices Rose Last Year, Around A Million Americans Dropped Coverage
Last year, as insurance prices rose by an average of just over 20 percent around the country, people who qualified for Obamacare subsidies hung onto their insurance. But the increases appear to have been too much to bear for many customers who earned too much to qualify for financial help. According to a new government report, about a million people appear to have been priced out of the market for health insurance last year. (Sanger-Katz, 7/3)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
The Online Gene Test Finds A Dangerous Mutation. It May Well Be Wrong.
Dr. Joshua Clayton, a 29-year-old radiology resident at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, wanted to learn about his ancestry. So he sent a sample of his saliva to 23andMe, the genetic testing company. His report was pretty mundane — no new revelations. But then he sent the profile created by 23andMe to a separate company called Promethease, which promises to do a more in-depth analysis for genetic mutations that cause disease. The news was not good. Dr. Clayton got back a report with a sinister red box at the top saying he had a mutation linked to Lynch syndrome, a frightening genetic disorder that leads to potentially deadly cancers at an early age. (Kolata, 7/2)
The New York Times:
Why Amazon’s Push Into Prescription Drugs Isn’t A Guaranteed Success
When Amazon announced last week that it was buying the online pharmacy PillPack, it sent stocks of drugstore companies like Walgreens and Rite Aid tumbling, as investors worried that the retail behemoth would soon upend the pharmacy market. But even though Amazon has transformed the way Americans buy products as different as books and diapers, it may not have such an easy time with prescription drugs. That’s because to succeed, it will have to do business with powerful entrenched companies who are not necessarily wishing Amazon well. (Thomas and Ballentine, 7/2)
The New York Times:
How Many Teenage Girls Deliberately Harm Themselves? Nearly 1 In 4, Survey Finds.
Up to 30 percent of teenage girls in some parts of the United States say they have intentionally injured themselves without aiming to commit suicide, researchers have found. About one in four adolescent girls deliberately harmed herself in the previous year, often by cutting or burning, compared to about one in 10 boys.The overall prevalence of self-harm was almost 18 percent. “These numbers are very high for both genders — that surprised me,” said Martin A. Monto, a sociologist at the University of Portland and lead author of the new research. (Baumgaertner, 7/2)
The Washington Post:
Zapping The Brain Appears To Decrease Aggressive Intentions, New Study Says
The possibility of using brain stimulation to help prevent future violence just passed a proof of concept stage, according to new research published Monday in the Journal of Neuroscience. In a double-blind, randomized controlled study, a group of volunteers who received a charge to their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that lies directly behind the forehead and is responsible for planning, reasoning and inhibition were — were less likely to say they would consider engaging in aggressive behavior compared to a similar group that received a sham treatment. (Nutt, 7/2)
Documents Raise New Concerns About Lithium Study On Children,
Newly obtained records raise additional concerns about the research and oversight of Dr. Mani Pavuluri, a star pediatric psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago whose clinical trial studying the effects of the powerful drug lithium on children was shuttered for misconduct. (Cohen, 7/3)
The Wall Street Journal:
Do Dietary Supplements Help Or Hurt Children?
More and more children in the U.S. are taking alternative dietary supplements that have scant proven benefits and could pose health risks. According to a recent analysis, the rate of children taking alternative or herbal supplements nearly doubled, to 6.3% from 3.7%, between 2003 and 2014. The increase was fueled by melatonin, a hormone used to aid sleep, and omega-3 fatty acids, or fish-oil supplements, which often are given to children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism despite little evidence that they help. (Reddy, 7/2)
Sepsis Is The Third Leading Cause Of Death. Can A Blood Test Change That?
In his spare time, when he feels up to it, Ronnie Roberts walks through hospital parking lots slipping informational flyers onto every windshield.Roberts wants people to know the signs of sepsis, the body’s overwhelming response to a blood infection, which can lead to organ failure and even death. If he had known the signs and insisted that his fiancee was treated appropriately, he believes she’d still be alive. (Weintraub, 7/3)