- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- By Sharing Painkillers, Friends And Family Members Can Fuel Opioid Epidemic: Study
- Pharmaceuticals 1
- LA County Board To Consider Drug Take-Back Proposal That's Under Heavy Fire From Industry
- Hospital Roundup 1
- Kern Medical Center's Revival: From Draining The County's Coffers To Turning A Profit
- Covered California & The Health Law 1
- In Many States, Obamacare Opposition Leaves Those Struggling With Addiction Languishing On Waiting Lists
- Public Health and Education 1
- PCBs: The Sleeper Chemical That Was Banned In The '70s Still Poses A Risk To Kids Today
Latest From California Healthline:
New research also highlights the public’s lack of knowledge regarding the proper ways to store and dispose of these highly addictive prescriptions. (Shefali Luthra, 6/14)
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Summaries Of The News:
The vote on the ordinance has been postponed four times already.
LA County Supervisors Set — Again — To Vote On Drug Take-Back Ordinance
An oft-postponed prescription drug and needle take-back proposal is again scheduled for consideration by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The drug take-back measure would require pharmaceutical companies to design and pay for the collection and disposal of unused drugs, needles, lancets and other medical "sharps." The proposed ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Michael Antonovich, is under heavy fire from drug manufacturers. Amidst the lobbying, the board has postponed four previous votes on the measure. (O'Neill, 6/13)
The facility was officially turned over to the Kern County Hospital Authority on Monday, and officials touted the work that went in to turning around a struggling county hospital.
The Bakersfield Californian:
Hospital Authority Officially Takes Over KMC
County officials transferred Kern Medical Center to the Kern County Hospital Authority Monday morning with pomp, circumstance and celebration. Speakers hailed the cooperation and hard work that revived a struggling county hospital that was bleeding public cash and acting as a mill-stone on county finances. (Burger, 6/13)
In other hospital news —
The Press Democrat:
Sonoma West Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Sues Hospital, Dan Smith, After Dismissal
The former chief nursing officer at Sonoma West Medical Center has filed a lawsuit alleging she was illegally “forced out” of her position after she raised grave concerns about the hospital’s electronic medical records system, software that was designed by a company owned by a key medical center supporter and financial backer. (Espinoza, 6/13)
In the 19 states that haven't expanded Medicaid through the health law, poor patients aren't getting the help they need. "The best way to get treatment if you’re addicted to drugs in Missouri is to get pregnant,” said Dr. Joe Parks, director of that state’s Medicaid program.
Los Angeles Times:
Fighting Obamacare, Many Red States Find Fewer Tools To Fight Opioid Addiction Epidemic
Even as they race to control a spiraling heroin and prescription opioid crisis, doctors, public health officials and community leaders in many states are struggling to get care to addiction patients because of persistent opposition to the Affordable Care Act from local political leaders. As a result, thousands of poor patients are languishing on waiting lists for recovery programs or are unable to get medicine to combat addiction because they can’t afford prescriptions, according to health officials nationwide. Most states expanded their Medicaid programs through the health law, often called Obamacare, giving poor adults in those states health insurance and a way to pay for addiction treatment. (Levey, 6/13)
James Madara, the chief executive of the American Medical Association, praised some emerging technology as beneficial, but went on to warn about developments that may seem like advancements but really impede care and waste time.
San Francisco Business Times:
Is Digital Health 'The Digital Snake Oil Of The 21st Century'?
James Madara, M.D., chief executive of the American Medical Association, took some pointed shots at digital health Saturday at the AMA's annual meeting, comparing parts of the market to the snake oil salesmen of the late 19th century. Many health care technology offerings — like robotic surgery, telemedicine and "emerging biologics" — offer promise, Madara acknowledged, but "appearing in disguise among these positive products are other digital so-called advancements that don't have an appropriate evidence base, or that just don't work that well—or that actually impede care, confuse patients and waste our time." (Rauber, 6/13)
The expanded facility lets Planned Parenthood cut down on long wait times in a busy and underserved neighborhood.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Chula Vista Planned Parenthood Expands
Planned Parenthood recently doubled the size of its Chula Vista center to meet the growing demand for health care in the underserved South Bay area. The expansion broke ground in November, taking over a vacancy next door at the 99 cent store. The store was about 1,600 square feet. Staff members began welcoming patients into the newly expanded 4,600 square foot center at 1295 Broadway in Suite No. 201 in April. (Sampite-Montecalvo, 6/13)
Toxic polychlorinated biphenyls can cause anything from skin conditions to cancer — and they can be found in schools across the country.
Poison Lurking In Schools
Across the country, tens of thousands of public schools could be contaminated with toxic polychlorinated biphenyls – compounds more commonly known as PCBs, which were used widely in building materials such as window caulk. PCBs have been linked to everything from skin conditions to cancer. (6/11)
In other public health news —
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Are Preventable Medical Mistakes Declining?
America appears to be making headway in the protracted fight against medical errors, according to researchers from one of the nation’s top groups on health care quality. In an opinion piece published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, co-author Richard Kronick of UC San Diego cited several recent studies of Medicare patient data to show that after decades of concern over preventable mistakes, avoidable patient harm in hospitals seems to be decreasing. (Sisson, 6/13)
Orange County Register:
Zzzzz: California Startup Nappify Brings A Sleeping Space To You
Who says only children should take naps? A California startup believes anyone can take a nap — in its mobile sleeping pods. Kevin Pham, a 31-year-old Garden Grove resident, studied nap culture in countries like Japan and Vietnam. He found that a short nap can help workers feel refreshed, more productive, creative and focused. Pham has an master's in business administration from Cal State Fullerton. In 2014, he came up with the idea for Nappify and launched the concept with $100,000 crowdfunded from family and friends. (Madans, 6/13)
The study also found that the government's spending on health would decrease by $927 billion over 10 years, but, even so, the Congressional Budget Office says the deficit would actually increase if the law were repealed.
Study: Repealing ObamaCare Would Increase Uninsured By 24M
If ObamaCare were repealed, 24 million fewer people would have health insurance in 2021, according to a new study. The study from the Urban Institute finds that 14.5 million fewer people would have coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program and 8.8 million fewer people would have individual private coverage like that offered on the health law’s marketplaces. Another 700,000 fewer people would have health insurance through their jobs. (Sullivan 6/13)
In other national health care news —
The Wall Street Journal:
CMS Proposes Requiring Medicare Hospitals To Adopt New Antibiotic Controls
Concerned about the growing threat of bacteria immune to antibiotics, U.S. federal health officials proposed rules that would require hospitals to closely manage the use of antibiotics or be ejected from Medicare. The proposal, released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services late Monday, would require U.S. hospitals to adopt strategies to curb overuse of antibiotics, a problem widely cited by public health officials as a factor in the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs. The rule would be the first to make so-called antibiotic stewardship programs mandatory for hospitals to get paid by Medicare, which spent $250.3 billion on hospital care in 2014. (Evans, 6/13)
Obama Administration Signs Historic Health Agreement With Cuba
The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Cuban government on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding to encourage cooperation between the two countries on health matters, another step in the Obama administration’s efforts to normalize America’s diplomatic relations toward its island neighbor. The long-estranged countries will work together on global health issues, including infectious diseases like dengue fever, and the medical challenges that come with aging populations, the department announced. (Scott, 6/13)
The law, intended to protect patients' privacy, grants providers latitude in some circumstances to disclose certain information based on judgment, reason and compassion. Meanwhile, the proximity of the massacre to a Level 1 trauma center may have saved lives and experts speak about why it's dangerous to oversimplify mental illness in relation to mass shootings.
Confusion Over Whether Orlando Providers Needed HIPAA Waiver
Following Sunday's mass shooting that left 50 people dead and dozens of others wounded, there were reports that the White House waived federal privacy law restrictions that prevent healthcare organizations in Orlando from openly discussing patients cases. (Conn, 6/13)
Proximity To A Level 1 Trauma Center Helped Saved Lives, Doctors Say
Location was everything when it came to treating the victims from the Pulse nightclub mass shooting. "I think in trying to search for saving graces and silver linings, the fact that this tragedy happened within two blocks of one of the country's top Level 1 trauma centers was such an advantage," said Dr. George Ralls, director of health and public safety at Orange County Government, referring to Orlando Regional Medical Center. By Monday afternoon, 29 shooting victims remained at (Orlando Regional Medical Center), five of them in grave condition. Surgeons had performed more than 30 operations. (Miller, 6/13)
Mental-Illness Tag Not So Simple To Explain Shootings
The ex-wife of the man who shot up an Orlando gay club early Sunday quickly told reporters that he was bipolar and that “he was mentally unstable and mentally ill.” She and the imam of the Islamic center that the shooter attended both attributed the violence to mental illness. But mental-health experts say such acts rarely carry such tidy explanations. (Kurtzman, 6/14)
In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, pressure is mounting against the Food and Drug Administration's regulations on gay men donating blood.
Dems Call For End Of Blood Donation Ban From Gay Men
Democrats in Congress are reviving a national push to allow gay men to donate blood following the deadly mass shooting that targeted a gay nightclub in Orlando. ... The FDA policy — which has been condemned by the American Medical Association — has sparked national outrage that advocates now hope to convert into long-awaited action. The LGBT Equality Caucus, led by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), is giving new life to the years-old campaign for the FDA to repeal its blood donation ban. (Ferris, 6/13)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Gay Blood Donation Ban Infuriates Many Experts, Activists
In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, citizens rushed to donate blood to help the survivors. Many of them included gay men who were desperate to contribute but were turned away. (Colliver, 6/13)
Why Gay Men Still Can't Donate Blood
In the aftermath of the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people and injured 53, blood centers were overwhelmed with individuals who wanted to donate. Gay men, however, weren't all allowed to do so—a policy harking back to the height of the AIDS crisis, and one that was quickly derided as discriminatory and an insult to a community under attack. (Tozzi, 6/13)