- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- First Female Dean 'A Sea Of Change' At USC’s Scandal-Plagued Medical School
- Health Care Personnel 1
- USC Lawyer Defends University's Strategy To Oust Gynecologist Accused Of Misconduct
- Marketplace 1
- Questions To Watch For In Theranos Case: Will It Even Go To Trial? Will Anyone Play The 'Ex-Duped-Me' Card?
- Elections 1
- Democrats Launch Ad Campaign Against GOP Rep. David Valadao, Highlighting Vote For Health Law Replacement Plan
- Public Health and Education 2
- Despite Significant Progress, Need For Palliative Care In California Still Outpaces The Supply
- Full Autopsies Reveal That Many Deaths Attributed To Cardiac Arrest Were Classified
Latest From California Healthline:
Laura Mosqueda, a geriatrician, wants to train new doctors to better care for elderly people as the country’s population ages. She will face a big challenge as USC reels from drug and sexual misconduct scandals that have enraged students and landed the university in legal hot water. (Susan Abram, 6/19)
Sign up to get the daily edition in your inbox
Summaries Of The News:
The testimony struck a different tone than other officials who have expressed regret on how the controversy over Dr. George Tyndall played out. The lawyer, however, said it was ultimately efficient, and that Tyndall "never saw another USC student" once the university launched the investigation in June 2016.
Los Angeles Times:
USC Lawyer Says Secret Deal With Accused Campus Gynecologist 'Worked Efficiently'
Testifying before legislators at the state Capitol on Monday, an attorney for USC defended its response to misconduct reports against a campus gynecologist, saying the university’s decision to force the physician out through a secret internal process “worked efficiently.” ... The lawyer’s statements to a committee looking into how the medical profession deals with sexual misconduct complaints struck a different tone than previous messages in which university officials have expressed regret about their handling of Tyndall. (Ryan, 6/18)
Stat looks at these and other questions -- like what will happen to the company? -- following the charges against Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes and the company’s former president Ramesh Balwani.
7 Questions To Watch After Criminal Charges Filed In The Theranos Saga
Federal prosecutors on Friday filed criminal charges against Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes and the company’s former president Sunny Balwani — marking a pivotal turning point in a scandal that has rocked the business world and captivated the public imagination. So, what’s next for the Silicon Valley villains of the moment? Here are seven questions to watch as the case moves forward. (Robbins and Garde, 6/18)
Previously, Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) has said he voted for the American Health Care Act in part because of rising costs in his district, which is among the poorest in the nation.
Billboards, Ads Target Rep. David Valadao On Health Care Vote
A Democratic super political action committee is launching an ad campaign attacking Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, on his 2017 vote to replace the Affordable Care Act with a Republican-engineered health care plan. The Republican plan, known as the American Health Care Act of 2017, passed in the House but was ultimately voted down by the Senate. The eight-week campaign by House Majority PAC will consist of two billboards – one along Highway 180 in Mendota and another on Highway 99 just north of Pixley. Both claim 60,500 of Valadao's constituents would have lost health care had this legislation passed and point motorists toward a website, valadaovalues.com, that further attacks Valadao on health care and how often his votes line up with the agenda of President Donald Trump. (Appleton, 6/18)
The improvement in access to palliative care may in part be attributed to a new law, which took effect in January, making California the first state in the nation to make palliative care part of the services provided under a Medicaid managed care plan.
The California Health Report:
New Report On Palliative Care Finds Big Increase In Services Throughout California
More Californians are participating in palliative care programs, but the need still outpaces the supply, according to a new report. A mapping project just released by the California Healthcare Foundation found significant progress in the number of programs and participants participating in palliative care services compared to four years ago. Palliative care is aimed at relieving suffering and providing the best possible quality of life for people facing the pain, symptoms, and stresses of serious illness. ... The foundation’s report in 2014 found “uneven distribution” of palliative care services in the state, and only about 25 to 50 percent of needs met. But the 2018 report found that inpatient palliative care capacity for the entire state ranges from 43 percent to 66 percent of need and community-based capacity ranges from 33 percent to 51 percent of need. (Kritz, 6/18)
Researchers found that the cause of a good percentage of sudden deaths was something less obvious and easily missed — like coronary disease or an overdose.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Deaths Classified As Cardiac Arrest Often Aren’t, UCSF Study Finds
Many San Francisco fatalities attributed to sudden cardiac arrest were actually from other causes, according to a study that reviewed nearly every death in the city over a three-year period. And of those that were correctly classified, nearly half were not arrhythmic — involving an irregular heartbeat — meaning that defibrillators or CPR would not have saved the person, the study found. (Veklerov, 6/18)
In other public health news —
San Francisco Chronicle:
The Singular Needs Of LGBT Seniors: San Francisco Funds Training For Workers
The city of San Francisco, through its Department of Aging and Adult Services, is funding a $400,000 effort to train hundreds of workers at companies and public agencies on how to better communicate with aging LGBT adults. Primarily aimed at home care aides and staffers at senior centers, it is also offered to organizations that interact with seniors regularly, like Meals on Wheels and public transit employees. (Ho, 6/18)
The plans, which let small businesses and self-employed individuals band together for more affordable coverage, won't have to meet all the strict regulations laid out by the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration says they will help bring down premiums, but experts warn that they'll siphon healthy people away from the exchanges.
The New York Times:
Trump Clears Way For Health Plans With Lower Costs And Fewer Benefits
President Trump has said millions of people could get cheaper coverage from the new “association health plans.” But consumer groups and many state officials are opposed, saying the new plans will siphon healthy people out of the Affordable Care Act marketplace, driving up costs for those who need comprehensive insurance. The new entities would be exempt from many of the consumer protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act. They may, for example, not have to provide certain “essential health benefits” like mental health care, emergency services, maternity and newborn care and prescription drugs. (Pear, 6/18)
The Associated Press:
Trump To Finalize Small Business Health Insurance Option
The Trump administration is close to finalizing a health insurance option for small firms and self-employed people that would cost less but could cover fewer benefits than current plans, congressional officials and business groups said Monday. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the pending announcement. The Labor Department scheduled an announcement Tuesday morning. (6/18)
Meanwhile, a conservative group has proposed another plan to repeal the health law —
The Wall Street Journal:
Conservatives Make New Push To Repeal Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act should be repealed in August and replaced with a new system that lifts national consumer protections and gives control of health care to the states, according to a proposal by a conservative group set to be released Tuesday. The proposal risks irking centrist Republicans who want to focus on other subjects. Republican leaders have said they have no appetite for another push to repeal the ACA before the November midterm elections unless such a bill clearly has the votes to pass. Republicans faced a series of obstacles—including internal division and unified Democratic opposition—as their effort to repeal the ACA collapsed last year. There is little evidence those dynamics in Congress have changed. (Armour, 6/19)
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association have all issued statements against the Trump administration's new policy. “To pretend that separated children do not grow up with the shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in their minds is to disregard everything we know about child development, the brain, and trauma,” reads a separate petition from mental health professionals.
The New York Times:
A Troubling Prognosis For Migrant Children In Detention: ‘The Earlier They’re Out, The Better’
Some youngsters retreat entirely, their eyes empty, bodies limp, their isolation a wall of defiance. Others cannot sit still: watchful, hyperactive, ever uncertain. Some compulsively jump into the laps of strangers, or grab their legs and hold on for life. And some children, somehow, move past a sudden separation from their parents, tapping a well of resilience. The Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents has alarmed child psychologists and experts who study human development. (Carey, 6/18)
The Associated Press:
Immigrant Kids Seen Held In Fenced Cages At Border Facility
Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of immigrant children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets. One teenager told an advocate who visited that she was helping care for a young child she didn't know because the child's aunt was somewhere else in the facility. She said she had to show others in her cell how to change the girl's diaper. (6/18)
The Washington Post:
What Separation From Parents Does To Children: ‘The Effect Is Catastrophic’
This is what happens inside children when they are forcibly separated from their parents. Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites — the little branches in brain cells that transmit messages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and — especially in young children — wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain. (Wan, 6/18)
American Academy Of Pediatrics President: Trump Family Separation Policy Is 'Child Abuse'
The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday said President Trump's “zero tolerance” policy separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border “amounts to child abuse.” Dr. Colleen Kraft in an appearance on CNN described the many ways Trump’s policy emotionally harms children and laid out in detail what she witnessed when she toured an immigration detention center. (Wise, 6/18)
If it ends with them saving money, the younger consumers were happy to let insurers trawl through their digital data. As the ages went up, people were less inclined to be alright with the tactic.
Most Under-35s OK With Insurers Digital Spying If It Cuts Prices
The majority of people between 18 and 34 would be willing to let insurance companies dig through their digital data from social media to health devices if it meant lowering their premiums, a survey shows. In the younger group, 62 percent said they’d be happy for insurers to use third-party data from the likes of Facebook, fitness apps and smart-home devices to lower prices, according to a survey of more than 8,000 consumers globally by Salesforce.com Inc.’s MuleSoft Inc. That drops to 44 percent when the older generations are included. (Edde, 6/19)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
It Was Supposed To Be An Unbiased Study Of Drinking. They Wanted To Call It ‘Cheers.’
The director of the nation’s top health research agency pulled the plug on a study of alcohol’s health effects without hesitation on Friday, saying a Harvard scientist and some of his agency’s own staff had crossed “so many lines” in pursuit of alcohol industry funding that “people were frankly shocked.” A 165-page internal investigation prepared for Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, concluded that Kenneth J. Mukamal, the lead investigator of the trial, was in close, frequent contact with beer and liquor executives while designing the study. (Rabin, 6/18)
The Associated Press:
US Could Back 1st Pot-Derived Medicine, And Some Are Worried
A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to a decision on whether the U.S government will approve the first prescription drug derived from the marijuana plant, but parents who for years have used cannabis to treat severe forms of epilepsy in their children are feeling more cautious than celebratory. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide by the end of the month whether to approve GW Pharmaceuticals' Epidiolex. It's a purified form of cannabidiol — a component of cannabis that doesn't get users high — to treat Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes in kids. Both forms of epilepsy are rare. (Foody and Banda, 6/19)
Boundary-Breaking Neurologist Treats Patients Other Doctors Give Up On
Her neurology work at Massachusetts General Hospital involves plenty of gadgetry — she heads up the deep brain stimulation unit, and sometimes uses electroconvulsive therapy to help patients with depression or mania — but these days, that’s not the kind of tinkering that’s at the front of her mind. Instead, she has been toying with the boundaries of illness itself. She likes seeing patients other doctors have given up on. Many have faced questions about whether they’re really as sick as they say. For all of them, getting the proper treatment — pills or infusions or electrical currents — depends on a kind of collaboration with [Dr. Alice] Flaherty, a workshop in which motivations are re-examined, stories reshaped, turns of phrase redefined. (Boodman, 6/19)
The New York Times:
A Third Of Children Use Alternative Medicines
A third of children under 19 are regular users of dietary supplements or alternative medicines. Using data from a large national health survey, researchers found that multivitamins were the most common supplements, followed by vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and melatonin. Three percent of male teenagers took bodybuilding supplements, and so did 1.3 percent of teenage girls. Omega-3 fatty acids were used by 2.3 percent of children under 19. Melatonin and other sleep aids were used by 1.6 percent of adolescents and by 1.2 percent of children under 5. (Bakalar, 6/18)