Latest From California Healthline:
The renewed squabble over vaccinations obscures a large group of parents who aren’t anti-vaxxers but spread out their children’s vaccines at a more gradual pace than doctors recommend. Pediatricians warn that could leave small children vulnerable to disease. (Bernard J. Wolfson, 3/19)
Good morning! A new report on HIV transmissions finds that to conquer the epidemic, doctors are going to have make a concerted effort to reach the hard-to-reach patients. More on that below, but first, here are some of the top California health stories for the day.
California Schools Tap Students To Help Fight Vaping Epidemic So That Message Is Coming From A Friend Instead Of An Adult: As part of a growing trend to curb the teen vaping epidemic, California schools are asking students to help each other quit. "When [the message] comes from an adult, it sounds so antagonistic but also like they don't understand us," said one student. Even with things as simple as the language around the crisis, students and young people have a better chance of connecting with the person who is addicted. For example, adults use the term “e-cigarette” when talking about vaping, while teens call them "Juuls," which is a dominant brand on the market. There are plenty of studies to back-up peer-driven intervention, but experts caution that the message needs to keep up with the times. You can't just insert an "e" in front of "cigarettes" and expect older programs to work, they say. Read more from CNN.
What Strategies Have Proven Successful In Tackling Homeless Crisis In Other States?: As Sacramento considers a pricey proposal to add shelter beds as part of a larger strategy to address homelessness in the city, experts talk about what has worked in other places. One idea that’s found success is an Atlanta-based company’s plan to provide hundreds of homeless people with jobs. First Step Staffing purchases staffing agencies in cities, then as employees naturally leave jobs, the company fills those vacancies with homeless people. In Atlanta, the company gained control of about 1,200 jobs, and after six months, homeless people were working about 600 of those jobs. Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties are reportedly close to finalizing an agreement with First Step Staffing. Elsewhere, officials have upped the frequency of the counts they do on homeless people. The frequent count will give officials the opportunity to see whether new programs are working, in real time. Read more about the different strategies in the Sacramento Bee.
San Jose’s Fire, Police Departments Still Aren’t Answering Emergency Calls Fast Enough: When someone dials 911 in California, the state says that 95 percent of calls should be answered within 15 seconds. In 2017, state officials notified San Jose that it was not meeting the target and must improve or risk losing funding for public safety services. Call answering times have improved, but that’s because the city is relying heavily on expensive overtime. On average, they worked enough overtime hours in 2017-18 that the department could have hired an additional 15 full-time employees. Read more from The Mercury News.
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.
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More News From Across The State
The California Health Report:
As California’s Ports Expand, Neighboring Communities Fight Back Against Pollution
Community members and local advocates say the plan—which envisions transporting up to 76 cars most weekdays to the facility and storing almost 5,000 cars at a time—would effectively cement a wall of heavy industry between South Oxnard residents and the beach. Many see the plan as the latest example of a pattern of disregard for poor communities living near California’s ports. These neighborhoods are often saddled with disproportionate amounts of industrial pollution compared to more affluent locales further away from port facilities. And as these ports expand to meet the demands of international trade, the inequities are getting worse, advocates said. (Boyd-Barrett, 3/18)
Chevron's Richmond Refinery Flaring Incidents At Highest Level In More Than A Decade
The number of flaring incidents in 2018 at Chevron's Richmond refinery was at its highest level in 12 years, according to data the Bay Area Air Quality Management District released Monday at a board of directors committee meeting. The refinery experienced nine flaring events last year, more than any other refinery in the Bay Area. (Goldberg, 3/18)
Ventura County Star:
Oxnard Could Pay Significantly More Toward Police Health Care
Oxnard police officers will receive more compensation in the form of medical benefits if the City Council on Tuesday approves an agreement that’s nine months in the making. Police officers and their managers will see their medical benefits increase by nearly 350 percent in the next two years under the proposed memorandum of understanding. ...The city currently pays police officers $344 per month in health care contributions. Under the proposed agreement, which has been voted on by both unions, the city will incrementally increase the health care contributions to $1,543 by June 2021. (Leung, 3/18)
Modesto, CA Care Center Residents Stricken With Diarrhea, Vomiting
Public health officials are investigating the outbreak of an intestinal illness at an assisted living and memory care facility on McHenry Avenue in Modesto. The illness has sickened an undetermined number of residents at Stacie’s Chalet. (Carlson, 3/18)
Los Angeles Times:
CalOptima Plans To Launch Mobile Medical Program For The Homeless In April, But Do Calls Pace Too Slow
A county health organization that serves the medical needs of the poor and homeless will roll out a new program next month that sends mobile clinical teams into the streets to directly treat the ailing and destitute. CalOptima’s announcement follows criticism from Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, who accused the agency for moving “too slowly.” (Brazil, 3/18)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Homeless With HIV: SF General Program Aims To Help Those Most Vulnerable
San Francisco has made remarkable strides against HIV over the past half decade: New infection numbers are the lowest since the start of the epidemic. Two-thirds of people with HIV have the virus so well under control that it’s undetectable in their blood. But these health improvements in the overall population stand in stark contrast to the stubborn effect of HIV among one subset of patients: people who are homeless. (Allday, 3/18)
CDC: Most New HIV Infections Come From Those Not Receiving Treatment
Thirty-eight percent of people with HIV weren't receiving treatment and were linked to 81 percent of new infections of the virus, according to 2016 data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monday. Of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. in 2016, 15 percent were unaware they had the virus and were linked to 38 percent of new infections, according to the data. (Hellmann, 3/18)
The New York Times:
Trump Plans To End The AIDS Epidemic. In Places Like Mississippi, Obstacles Are Everywhere.
“I come from the smallest town in Mississippi, in the buckle of the Bible Belt,” said Gerald Gibson, outreach manager at Open Arms Healthcare Center, the only clinic created to serve gay black men in this state. “Growing up, I didn’t know anybody like me,” he added. “I come from a culture that says you’re going to hell for being homosexual and AIDS is God’s wrath.” President Trump’s plan to end America’s epidemic of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, within 10 years is not going to succeed easily in places like this. (McNeil, 3/18)
New Program Aims To Reduce New HIV Infections In US By At Least 90% Over 10 Years
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday detailed its new initiative to reduce new human immunodeficiency virus infections in the United States by at least 90% over 10 years. President Donald Trump called for the elimination of HIV transmissions in the United States by 2030 during the State of the Union address in February. On Monday, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome M. Adams highlighted four key elements of the HIV program -- diagnose, treat, protect and respond in more detail than previously outlined. (Scutti, 3/18)
Dem Group Launches Ads Attacking Trump's 'Hypocrisy On Medicare And Medicaid Cuts'
A leading Democratic health group is launching a national ad campaign against vulnerable 2020 lawmakers for supporting what the group calls President Trump's "blatant hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts." The five-figure ad from Protect Our Care targets four senators and six House members and calls Trump a hypocrite for proposing massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, despite his repeated promises on the campaign trail to save those programs. (Weixel, 3/18)
VA’s Private Care Program Headed For Tech Trouble, Review Finds
As the Trump administration prepares to launch a controversial program to expand private medical care for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is developing a software tool to determine who’s eligible. But the tool is so flawed, according to an independent review obtained by ProPublica, that it threatens to disrupt the health care of about 75,000 veterans every day. “This degradation goes against the spirit of the Mission Act to improve the veterans experience and quality of care,” the review said, referring to the 2018 law that authorized the program to expand private care. The program is supposed to start in less than three months. (Arnsdorf, 3/18)
The Washington Post:
Amazon Pulls Books Promoting False Claims About Autism And Vaccines
YouTube said it was banning anti-vaccination channels from running online advertisements. Facebook announced it was hiding certain content and turning away ads that contain misinformation about vaccines, and Pinterest said it was blocking “polluted” search terms, memes and pins from particular sites prompting anti-vaccine propaganda, according to news reports. Amazon has now joined other companies navigating the line between doing business and censoring it, in an age when, experts say, misleading claims about health and science have a real impact on public health. (Bever, 3/18)
The Wall Street Journal:
New Doubt On Treatment To Prevent Preterm Birth
For more than a decade, the recommended treatment for most pregnant women who previously had given birth prematurely was a weekly injection of a synthetic progestin hormone. AMAG Pharmaceuticals , which sells such a treatment, recently announced the results of a new study: It wasn’t effective. On March 8, the company said a long-term clinical trial revealed no difference in the preterm birth rates of 1,700 pregnant women who took either their treatment, named Makena, or a placebo. The trial also showed no increased risk of complications. (Reddy, 3/18)
The New York Times:
Professional Hair Removal Catches On With The Preteen Set
Dr. Roopa Kohli-Seth, a surgeon who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, noticed that something was off at one of her 12-year-old daughter’s swim meets last year: She wasn’t lifting her arms out of the water. “A boy on her swim team had meanly told her that she shouldn’t swim so hard and lift her arms up because everyone could see her underarm hair,” she said. “I realized then that the hair was a serious issue for her and that she should have it removed.” Her daughter became one of a rising number of preteens turning to professionals for hair removal. (Vora, 3/19)
The New York Times:
Broken Heart Syndrome Is Not All In The Head
Poets and politicians have long known that hearts and minds are linked. Now neuroscientists and cardiologists have shown again, in a study published this month in The European Heart Journal, that the connection is more than metaphorical. It turns out that those afflicted by a rare, serious condition known as “broken-heart syndrome” have brains that work differently from those of healthy people, suggesting that what happens in the head can hurt the heart. The condition, known medically as Takotsubo syndrome, usually follows the experience of extreme stress, such as that felt after the loss of a loved one. (Reynolds, 3/19)