Latest From California Healthline:
The widespread availability of naloxone, which reverses overdoses, has radically changed the culture of opioid use on the streets, giving drug users a sense of security and inducing them to seek out the more powerful high of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. (Brian Rinker, 6/11)
Good morning! California's budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 is close to being “in the books.” What does that mean for health care priorities. Check out more on that below, but first here are some of your top California health stories for the day.
'We Know We Could Have Done Better': UCLA Apologizes For How It Handled Allegations Against Former Gynecologist: Dr. James Heaps pleaded not guilty Monday to sexual battery by fraud against two patients in 2017 and 2018. The patients weren't UCLA students but were seen at Heaps' office on the UCLA campus. Heaps held medical staff privileges at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from 1988 to 2018. UCLA acknowledged first receiving a complaint against Heaps in 2017; he was placed on leave the following year, but the university did not publicize the reason for his departure until this week. UCLA officials apologized to the campus community Monday and vowed to review how such complaints will be handled in the future. “Sexual abuse in any form is unacceptable and represents an inexcusable breach of the physician-patient relationship,” UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block and Vice Chancellor John Mazziotta, UCLA Health chief executive, said in a joint statement. The arrest comes more than a year after USC was rocked by allegations that its former campus gynecologist had acted inappropriately toward hundreds of students for nearly three decades. The Times revealed that USC allowed Dr. George Tyndall to leave the university with a settlement and without notifying authorities or his patients. Tyndall has denied the allegations, which are the subject of a criminal investigation. Read more from Jaclyn Cosgrove, Matt Hamilton, Richard Winton and Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio of the Los Angeles Times.
Mobile Toilets Are An Obvious Solution To Help LA’s Homeless Population, But They Come With Eye-Popping Price Tags: Los Angeles has estimated that staffing and operating a mobile bathroom can cost more than $300,000 annually. Two years ago, a report from homeless advocates found that people on skid row had less access to bathrooms at night than Syrian refugees in a United Nations camp. So as of this spring, the city is operating toilets in 16 staffed “pit stop” locations across L.A., from Echo Park to Venice to Wilmington, according to the Department of Public Works. Advocates, who want to see even more pit stops, say the price tag upfront is worth it because it cuts down on costs that would occur otherwise. A big part of the cost for bathrooms is staffing: To prevent portable toilets from being trashed or taken over for illicit activity, such restrooms are monitored by trained attendants for 12 hours a day at a cost of more than $117,000 annually, according to city officials. The automatic ones cost the city less. Read more from Emily Alpert Reyes of the Los Angeles Times.
Advocates ‘Thirsty For Justice’ Call On Lawmakers To Pass Budget With Funding For Safe Drinking Water: The proposal advocates are rallying over allocates $130 million of the state’s annual budget to improving water systems in communities with contaminated drinking water. It also commits to continuously funding the water cleanup until 2030, through various bills called “budget trailers.” Prominent Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, 89, joined in the calls for clean water. Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers labor union alongside Cesar Chavez in 1962, said that her own daughter pays $200 a month for water she can’t drink. The state’s budget must be passed by Saturday, but the Legislature can wait until the last day of session, Sept. 13, to pass the budget trailers. Read more from Akira Olivia Kumamoto of the Sacramento Bee.
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.
Sign up to get the daily edition in your inbox
More News From Across The State
Capital Public Radio:
Breaking Down Gov. Gavin Newsom's First California Budget Deal
California's budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 is close to being “in the books.” It’s the first state budget for Gov. Gavin Newsom. The process is always a series of compromises, but some of the biggest issues surrounding taxes, health insurance, family leave and homelessness. CapRadio’s Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler breaks down the budget topic by topic, including tax conformity, expansion of Medical for undocumented Californians and bills affecting renters. (6/10)
CalPERS Loyalton Retirees Have Pensions Restored After Cuts
The Sierra County town of Loyalton has reached a settlement agreement with three retired city workers who sued the town and CalPERS after CalPERS reduced the retirees’ pension checks.The terms of the agreement are confidential, including when it was reached, but the 706-person town will pay at least a portion of what it owes the retirees, their attorney said. “Loyalton will pay certain retirement benefits to plaintiffs as part of the settlement,” Seth Wiener, the San Ramon-based attorney representing the retirees, said in a statement. (Venteicher, 6/11)
Capital Public Radio:
Sacramento Filmmaker Examines Life With Incurable Diseases In New Doc
Filmmaker Victoria Suan used to create videos with her cousin, Leo, that showcased fitness events. The husband and father of three was in his best physical shape and training for a marathon when he began to feel the symptoms of a neurological movement disorder. He was completely disabled by the time he was diagnosed with Dystonia, a disease similar to Parkinson’s. (6/10)
Planning On Enjoying The Great Outdoors In This Heat Wave? Be Prepared
Over the last few days, San Diego weather has heated up. If you’re planning on enjoying the great outdoors, it’s important to be prepared for hot weather. At Cowles Mountain in Mission Trails Regional Park, the thermometer is going places it hasn’t been in months. It had hit 100-degrees by noon on Monday.But the sizzling temperatures aren’t keeping hikers from hitting the trails. (Carroll, 6/10)
PG&E Power Blackouts Offer Warning During CA Wildfire Season
The era of available electricity whenever and wherever needed is officially over in wildfire-plagued California. Pacific Gas & Electric served stark notice of that “new normal” this past weekend when it preemptively shut power to tens of thousands of customers in five Northern California counties. The utility warned that it could happen again, perhaps repeatedly, this summer and fall as it seeks to avoid triggering disastrous wildfires. (Bizjak, 6/11)
The Wall Street Journal:
As Sharing Health-Care Costs Takes Off, States Warn: It Isn’t Insurance
Religious organizations where members help pay each other’s medical bills have grown from niche insurance alternatives to operations bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars, an increase that is also driving more consumer complaints and state scrutiny. More than a million people have joined the groups, known as health-care sharing ministries, up from an estimated 200,000 before the Affordable Care Act, which granted members an exemption from the law’s penalty for not having health insurance. The organizations generally provide a health-care cost-sharing arrangement among people with similar religious beliefs, and their cost is often far lower than full health insurance. (Armour and Wilde Mathews, 6/10)
‘Death By A Thousand Lawsuits’: The Legal Battles That Could Dog ‘Medicare For All’
The road to health reform always ends up under a pile of lawsuits. “Medicare for All” would be no different. Championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressive Democrats, Medicare for All faces enormous political obstacles — not the least of which is a major industry lobbying effort against the plan and anything that resembles it. But should it ever become law, it would also invite constitutional challenges. Just like the lawsuits targeting Obamacare — not to mention the blue state challenges against all sorts of Trump administration anti-Obamacare initiatives — the legal battles could directly threaten or undermine the new system for many years. (Tahir and Ollstein, 6/10)
The Washington Post Fact Checker:
Did Bernie Sanders ‘Consistently’ Vote Against The Hyde Amendment?
The Hyde Amendment has sharply limited federal funding for abortions since 1976. But it’s back in the news again after former vice president Joe Biden suddenly reversed his position and said he now supports taxpayer funding for abortions. As Biden came under fire for his stance — before he reversed himself — one of his top rivals for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), tweeted that he had “consistently voted against the Hyde Amendment.” (Kessler, 6/11)
Missouri's Only Abortion Clinic To Stay Open After Injunction Issued
The only abortion clinic in Missouri can stay open after a St. Louis judge issued a preliminary injunction on Monday saying the state must make an "official" decision on the facility's license before it can be reviewed, a court document showed. Women's healthcare and abortion provider Planned Parenthood sued Missouri two weeks ago after state health officials refused to renew the license of the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. (6/10)
Company Executives Denounce Abortion Restrictions In New York Times Ad
Scores of technology, media and fashion executives took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times on Monday to denounce restricting access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare. The advertisement follows a string of company executives in recent weeks who threatened to pull investments in states enacting new laws that limit abortion rights. Nine states, including Alabama, Georgia and Missouri have passed abortion laws this year that all but ban the procedure. (6/10)
The New York Times:
A Judge Rules Against One Stem-Cell Clinic. There Are Hundreds Of Them.
A judicial ruling this month that will stop questionable stem-cell treatments at a clinic in Florida is widely seen as a warning to a flourishing industry that has attracted huge numbers of patients, who pay thousands of dollars for unproven, risky procedures. But with little regulatory oversight for the hundreds of clinics operating these lucrative businesses across the country, it’s too soon to tell how far the impact might reach. (Grady, 6/10)
Stem Cell Clinics Co-Opt Clinicaltrials.Gov To Push Unproven Therapies
A few weeks ago, if you’d been scouring the ever-expanding mass of digitized federal paperwork, you might have noticed a contradiction. On the one hand, the Food and Drug Administration issued a letter stating that what an Arizona distributor was selling as stem cell therapies were “unapproved” and posed “safety concerns.” On the other, a National Institutes of Health database — clinicaltrials.gov — went right on listing the same merchant’s studies, with a link to the company’s website and the word “Recruiting” displayed invitingly in green. (Boodman, 6/11)
The New York Times:
Insys, The Opioid Drug Maker, Files For Bankruptcy
The opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, days after agreeing to pay $225 million to settle a federal investigation into the marketing practices for its powerful fentanyl painkiller. The company said it would continue operating while it comes up with a plan to pay its creditors, including the Justice Department, under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code. Under an agreement released last week with the federal government, the company has promised to divest of Subsys, its lead product and the painkiller that had come under scrutiny. (Thomas, 6/10)
The Associated Press:
Medical Pot Laws No Answer For US Opioid Deaths, Study Finds
A new study shoots down the notion that medical marijuana laws can prevent opioid overdose deaths, challenging a favorite talking point of legal pot advocates. Researchers repeated an analysis that sparked excitement years ago. The previous work linked medical marijuana laws to slower than expected increases in state prescription opioid death rates from 1999 to 2010. The original authors speculated patients might be substituting marijuana for painkillers, but they warned against drawing conclusions. (6/10)