- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- Black Men’s Blood Pressure Is Cut Along With Their Hair
- New Technologies Help Seniors Age In Place — And Not Feel Alone
- Women's Health 1
- 'We're All In Shock': Glitches At Two Different Fertility Clinics On Same Day Roil Industry
- Coverage And Access 1
- Creating Single-Payer System Would Put Calif. Taxpayers On Hook For At Least $200B A Year
- Courts 1
- Spouse Is Decision-Maker When Partner Is In Vegetative State, Judge Rules, Closing 'Gap' In State Law
- Public Health and Education 2
- California Students Prepare To Walk Out As Part Of National Protest Against Gun Violence
- An Unconventional Approach To Controlling High Blood Pressure In African American Men
- Around California 1
- Modesto Council Poised To Support Proposal To Open A Shelter And Day Center For Homeless
Latest From California Healthline:
A new study shows that educational sessions about high blood pressure at African American barbershops, coupled with prescribing and helping to manage medication, reduced hypertension rates significantly. (Susan Abram, 3/12)
Motion sensors, Alexa and other voice-assistive technologies give seniors the tools they need to live independently and safely. (Gabi Redford, 3/13)
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Summaries Of The News:
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine said it plans to review both storage tank incidents with the clinics and their equipment suppliers this week. There's no known connection between the incidents, but the episodes shine a light on vulnerabilities in the system.
San Jose Mercury News:
Two Major Failures At Fertility Centers Rock The Industry
Two major and near-simultaneous failures at fertility centers is sending shock waves through the fertility industry, triggering questions about the technology and oversight of egg and embryo storage, which is increasingly popular — and largely self-regulated. (Krieger, 3/12)
The Associated Press:
Fertility-Clinic Breakdowns Baffle Experts, Upset Couples
Simultaneous refrigeration failures at two fertility clinics in San Francisco and suburban Cleveland have damaged or destroyed potentially thousands of frozen eggs and embryos in the biggest such loss on record in the U.S. The malfunctions have left parents-to-be heartbroken and baffled experts. Here are some questions and answers about the two cases. (3/12)
The Washington Post:
Patients Mobilize To Take Legal Action Against Fertility Clinics With Malfunctions
An Ohio couple who lost both their frozen embryos when a fertility clinic’s storage tank overheated last week are the first in a wave of patients heading to court to hold the facility accountable for dashing their dreams of future children. Two Cleveland attorneys said they have been inundated in the days since the University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center’s Fertility Center disclosed late last week that it was notifying 700 patients that their eggs or embryos may have been damaged. The tissue was in a tank that lost liquid nitrogen, which is vital for temperature control. (Goldstein and Cha, 3/12)
The Sacramento Bee breaks down the obstacles that may keep single-payer legislation from becoming reality.
California Health Care: Raise Taxes For Single-Payer Or Ration?
Republican Gov. Earl Warren suggested a taxpayer-financed universal health care system in 1945. Voters considered and defeated a version of universal care in 2004. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a single-payer bill in 2006. Now there is renewed interest, as proponents like Sen. Kamala Harris and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom see single-payer as the solution to Republican-led efforts to unravel Obamacare. (Hart, 3/13)
The case revolved around a San Gabriel Valley man whose wife sought to remove his life support and feeding tube. The man's sister sued to gain control of the end-of-life decision from his wife.
Los Angeles Times:
Judge Rules That Spouse Has Authority To Remove Partner's Life Support If There's No Directive
Ruling in the case of a San Gabriel Valley man, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Thornton House said that in the event that there is no advance directive for a someone in a vegetative state, their partner can decide for them. ...The case is reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo case in Florida in which her husband sought to disconnect life support and her parents fought him for years in the courts in a highly publicized and prolonged series of legal challenges. (Winton, 3/12)
The nationwide school walkout is scheduled exactly one month after the school shooting in Florida. Participating students will leave class at 10 a.m. and not return for at least 17 minutes – one minute for each victim.
Orange County Register:
Students’ Gun Walkout Sends Message To Adults: Do Something
While they may not agree on specific solutions, thousands of students who plan to walk out of schools around Southern California on Wednesday are hoping their activism will spur adults and lawmakers to do something – anything – to stem gun violence. ...The nationwide school walkout is scheduled exactly one month after another school massacre — the rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a gunman shot and killed 17 people, most of them students. (Robinson, 3/12)
Bringing in a pharmacist to visit barber shops, as well as getting a helpful nudge from the barber himself, has proven to help lower blood pressure.
Los Angeles Times:
Take A Little Off The Top: How Visits To The Barbershop Helped Reduce Blood Pressure In African American Men
The study found that when a group of African American men with untreated high blood pressure got a screening and a friendly nudge from their barber, as well as a visit to the shop from a pharmacist, close to two-thirds of the men brought their blood pressure into a healthy range. (Healy, 3/12)
Black Men’s Blood Pressure Is Cut Along With Their Hair
“We’re a high statistic for … hypertension and everything, and it’s something we let go by,” Thomas said as he worked at the shop, A New You, on Friday. “Our customers, they’ll talk to us before they talk to anybody else.” And that can be good for their health. Thomas, who himself has high blood pressure, helped lead a group of customers as part of a study published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that providing information and inviting a pharmacist onsite can go a long way toward helping black men reduce their blood pressure. (Abram, 3/12)
Council members had already signaled informal support for the project, but questions about location and safety had remained.
'We Have To Do Something.' Modesto Considers Plan For Homeless Services Near Downtown
Modesto leaders Tuesday could formally support a proposal to open a shelter and day center for the homeless near downtown, which would operate for as long as three years until more comprehensive services are started. The City Council two weeks ago informally supported the proposal after hearing a presentation, but council members also had lots of questions, including how the facility will be kept safe, how it will be operated, and what steps will be taken to ensure it does not harm its neighbors. (Valine, 3/12)
In other news from across the state —
Weedmaps To California's Bureau Of Cannabis Control: You Don't Have The Authority To Police Us
A popular marijuana website has told the state's cannabis czar that she lacks the authority to make the company stop running advertisements for unlicensed pot retailers. ...They also said Weedmaps is protected from such action because the company is an "interactive computer service" covered under the federal Communications Decency Act. (Branan, 3/12)
While advocates argue that gun violence is woefully under-researched, some officials also say that there are clear steps that should be taken anyway. More research can help. But this is no excuse for inaction," said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who was CDC director from 2009 to 2017. Meanwhile, a look at President Donald Trump's evolving views on gun control measures.
The New York Times:
Congress Quashed Research Into Gun Violence. Since Then, 600,000 People Have Been Shot.
Guns in the home protect families. For decades, that has been an essential part of the National Rifle Association’s mantra in defending firearms ownership, repeated at congressional hearings, in advertisements and on T-shirts. Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who once headed research on firearm violence at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wondered if there was any evidence backing the N.R.A.’s assertion. (Kaplan, 3/12)
Gun Violence Research Gets Little Support So States Step In
As deaths from mass shootings have mounted across the United States, some states are moving to collect hard data to guide their decisions about guns — even as the federal government has retreated from such research in the face of pressure from pro-gun groups. The New Jersey legislature, for example, is weighing a measure that would create a gun-violence research center at Rutgers University. The center would be modeled on the new Firearm Violence Prevention Research Center at the University of California at Davis, which launched last summer with $5 million in state money over five years. (Ollove, 3/12)
The New York Times:
Trump’s Evolving Positions On Gun Issues
President Trump said on Monday that his administration would leave it to states to set an age limit for buying assault rifles. It was a reversal of weeks of repeated promises to act, and the latest of years of conflicting positions he has taken on a range of gun issues, from background checks to arming teachers. (Qiu and Bennett, 3/12)
The Wall Street Journal:
Designing A School To Stop Shooters
Designers of the new $19 million George W. Bush Elementary School had more in mind than education. The blueprint for this school in an upper-class Dallas suburban neighborhood was intended to stop a school shooter. Sparse landscaping and numerous windows in front provide a clear view of approaching visitors. Entry is a multistep process. Visitors enter a vestibule and must be buzzed inside the main office. From there, a government-issued ID must be scanned through a system called the “Raptor,” which alerts for child molesters and anyone flagged to keep out. (Hobbs, 3/13)
The Washington Post:
Sessions Calls On U.S. Attorneys To Aggressively Prosecute Gun Buyers Who Lie On Background Checks
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that U.S. attorneys will more aggressively enforce the law that makes it a crime for gun buyers to lie on their federal background checks, one of several steps Justice Department officials outlined as part of the Trump administration’s response to last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla. The Justice Department also will increase the presence of law enforcement officers at schools and continue to review the way law enforcement agencies respond to tips from the public, Sessions said. (Horwitz, 3/12)
Since the legislation took effect, the VA has fired only four senior leaders. The other 1,700 terminated people were low-level staffers with titles such as housekeeper.
Trump’s VA Is Purging Civil Servants
Last June, President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise by signing a bipartisan bill to make it easier to fire employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The law, a rare rollback of the federal government’s strict civil-service job protections, was intended as a much-needed fix for an organization widely perceived as broken. “VA accountability is essential to making sure that our veterans are treated with the respect they have so richly earned through their blood, sweat and tears,” Trump said that day. “Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide.” (Arnsdorf, 3/12)
In other national health care news —
Right-To-Try Drug Bill Could Needlessly Raise Patients' Hopes, Experts Say
Congress may be on a speedy path to lifting the hopes of terminally ill patients. Whether it’s anything more than a feel-good exercise is an open question. The House of Representatives is expected to deliver the deciding vote for a right-to-try bill Tuesday that President Donald Trump touted in his State of the Union address and would give terminally ill patients — or those likely to die prematurely — access to experimental medicines without the FDA’s blessing. The Senate, which already passed its own bill, is considered likely to adopt the changes. (Karlin-Smith, 3/13)
Big Health-Care Players Are Turning Their Partners Into Prey
Over 20 years, Brian Komoto built a thriving pharmacy in California’s Central Valley. Each day, his nurses would travel the vast agricultural region’s roads to help hepatitis C patients take a grueling regimen of shots. Then, in 2016, 20 percent of Komoto’s business vanished, practically overnight. The insurer Centene Corp. purchased the health plan that covered his patients -- many of them Hispanic farm workers who had developed a level of trust with Komoto’s traveling nurses. Centene had its own mail-order pharmacy, and it told the patients to go there instead, he said. (Langreth, 3/12)
Wendy Davis Leaves Door Open To Planned Parenthood Gig
Could Wendy Davis, the former Texas state senator who rose to national prominence after her marathon 2013 filibuster protesting an anti-abortion bill, be in the running to next head of Planned Parenthood? The prominent Democratic surrogate isn't ruling out the possibility. (Flores and Palmer, 3/13)
Kaiser Health News:
Medicaid Is Rural America’s Financial Midwife
Brianna Foster, 23, lives minutes away from Genesis Hospital, the main source of health care and the only hospital with maternity services in southeastern Ohio’s rural Muskingum County. Proximity proved potentially lifesaving last fall when Foster, pregnant with her second child, Holden, felt contractions at 31 weeks — about seven weeks too soon. Genesis was equipped to handle the situation — giving Foster medication and an injection to stave off delivery. After his birth four weeks later – still about a month early, at 5 pounds 12 ounces — Holden was sent to the hospital’s special care nursery for monitoring. (Luthra, 3/12)