- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- Retail Clinics Add Convenience But Also Hike Costs, Study Finds
- State Finalizing Plans To Close Centers For The Severely Disabled
- Marketplace 2
- Despite Erratic Quality-Control Results, Theranos Continued To Run Blood Tests
- GOP Lawmakers Frustrated By Probe Into California's Possible Violation Of Abortion Law
- Public Health and Education 2
- Health Experts: Threat Of Zika Virus Low In Bay Area
- Processed Meat Consumption Increases Cancer Risk For Latinas By 42 Percent, Study Finds
- Around California 1
- New Clinic Opens In Coachella, Bringing Care To Medically Underserved Population
Latest From California Healthline:
Researchers say the clinics tucked in stores and pharmacies lead patients to seek more medical attention than they otherwise would for minor ailments. (Chad Terhune, 3/8)
A two-year fight over the near-total closure of the last three large state centers for the severely disabled is winding down, and some families fear wrenching transitions in care for their loved ones. (David Gorn, 3/8)
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More News From Across The State
Inaccurate results from the test can be especially serious for patients taking blood thinners such as warfarin.
The Wall Street Journal:
Theranos Ran Tests Despite Quality Problems
A federal inspection report said a Theranos Inc. laboratory ran an important blood test on 81 patients in a six-month period despite erratic results from quality-control checks meant to ensure the test’s accuracy, people familiar with the report said. The report hasn’t been publicly released but is far more detailed than the letter that summarized the results of last fall’s inspection of the Newark, Calif., lab by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and was sent to Theranos in late January, these people said. (Carreyrou and Weaver, 3/7)
Senate Republicans are threatening to hold up an otherwise non-controversial HHS nomination over the lack of movement on an investigation into California's HMO overseer ordering its health plans to cover all legal abortions.
GOP Growing Impatient Over Possible Abortion Violation
Republicans on Capitol Hill are seeking to force the Obama administration to act on a 15-month-old abortion law investigation that could result in gargantuan fines against the state of California, affecting funding for programs like Medicaid and education. The 2005 abortion rule, called the Weldon amendment, prohibits recipients of federal funds from requiring entities they regulate to provide or fund abortions. But in 2014, California’s HMO overseer ordered its health plans to cover all legal abortions — a clear violation, say GOP lawmakers. (Haberkorn, 3/7)
Merck & Co. wants $3 billion from Gilead Sciences to license two patents for compounds used in Sovaldi and Harvoni. Opening arguments began in a San Jose federal court this week to determine if those patents are valid.
Gilead, Merck Spar Over Hepatitis C $1,000-Pill Royalties
Gilead Sciences Inc., which pioneered a cure for hepatitis C, is trying to fend off a demand by Merck & Co. for more than $3 billion in a patent dispute over the liver disease treatment. A compound in Gilead’s blockbuster drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni was found by a judge last month to have infringed Merck’s patents. Now, a jury must decide whether those patents are still valid, and if so, how much Gilead owes Merck in royalties. Gilead plans to show jurors that scientists were working on the foundation for its medicine at least as early as 2001, a year before Merck got the patent rights that it’s seeking to enforce in the case, Juanita Brooks, a lawyer for the world’s largest biotechnology firm, said Monday during opening arguments at a trial in federal court in San Jose, California. (Mehrotra, 3/7)
The Los Angeles Times' analysis shows that California delivery hospitals brought down the number of procedures performed in 2014.
The Los Angeles Times:
Thinking About A C-Section? Here's Why Your Hospital May Say No.
At hospitals across California, administrators are pushing doctors to perform fewer caesarean deliveries, hiring birth coaches and asking pregnant women to stay in labor longer. For years, medical experts have said that C-sections — a surgical procedure in which a doctor makes an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus to remove the baby — were being done too often, yet the rates kept climbing. (Karlamangla and Menezes, 3/8)
The Bay Area is too cool for the mosquito to thrive, and most homes have window and door screens, they say.
Bay Area News Group:
Zika Outbreak Unlikely In Bay Area, Health Experts Say
While Zika is a real potential threat worldwide, the threat of a Bay Area outbreak is very low, health experts stressed Monday. Top Bay Area health professionals gathered at a symposium to share information on the Zika virus, which may cause birth defects, including abnormally small heads and vision problems. Zika is most commonly spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. (Parr, 3/8)
Meanwhile, an investigation finds a San Francisco-based company took actions during the Ebola outbreak that made a chaotic situation worse —
The Associated Press:
San Francisco Company Bungled Ebola Response, Investigation Finds
San Francisco-based Metabiota, a company that bills itself as a pioneer in tracking emerging epidemics made a series of costly mistakes during the 2014 Ebola outbreak that swept across West Africa -- with employees feuding with fellow responders, contributing to misdiagnosed Ebola cases and repeatedly misreading the trajectory of the virus, an Associated Press investigation has found. (Satter and Cheng, 3/7)
The study's findings suggest that race, ethnicity, genetics, culture and lifestyle choices could all affect cancer risk.
The Sacramento Bee:
Latinas’ Cancer Risk Rises With Meat Eating, Study Suggests
In one of the few studies to analyze meat consumption among Latinas, researchers from the University of Southern California discovered that Latinas may be more likely than white women to develop cancer from eating processed meats such as sausage and bacon. (Caiola, 3/7)
In other public health news, studies are undercutting the reliability of BMI to determine health, and scientists are studying fruit flies to determine what effects cinnamon and other common substances have on lifespan —
The Los Angeles Times:
As Measures Of Health, Fitness And Fatness Matter More Than Weight
Researchers are nurturing a growing suspicion that body mass index, the height-weight calculation that distinguishes those with "normal healthy weight" from the overweight and obese, is not the whole picture when it comes to telling who is healthy and who is not. Two new studies drive that point home and underscore that BMI offers an incomplete picture of an individual's health. (Healy, 3/7)
The Wall Street Journal:
Seeking Elixir Of Life, A Scientist Studies Fruit Flies
A research lab at a University of California campus has a big ambition—to extend the number of years people live disease-free. The animal model it uses for its experiments is decidedly smaller: the tiny fruit fly. The Jafari Lab, located at UC Irvine, has run tests on substances as diverse as green tea, cinnamon and an Arctic plant called Rhodiola rosea, looking for an elixir of life. To pass muster, each experimental compound must help the fruit flies live longer and not have adverse effects. (Chen, 3/7)
Coachella has only three other primary care clinics and zero licensed medical beds.
The Desert Sun:
New Clinic Adds Much-Needed Doctor To Coachella
A new medical clinic opened its doors in Coachella on Monday in what officials hope will provide much-needed health care for the city in which doctors are rare. Desert Oasis Healthcare started taking patients Monday in the primary care facility at 49-201 Grapefruit Blvd. in the office space next to the Wells Fargo. The clinic will be staffed with a family physician and a nurse practitioner specializing in pediatrics, so patients can continue to come back from childhood to their golden years. (Rumer, 3/7)
In other news from around the state, the author of the "pH Miracle" will be going back to court —
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
pH Miracle Author To Face New Trial
The author of the popular “pH Miracle” book series, convicted last month on two counts of practicing medicine without a license, will be retried on six other charges, including theft by fraud, a prosecutor said Monday. Robert Oldham Young has been jailed since Feb. 3, when a jury found him guilty of the two counts, acquitted him on one count and deadlocked on several others. Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas announced Monday she would pursue a second trial on the remaining counts. (Figueroa, 3/7)
At Fox News' town hall on Monday, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both said they support a woman's right to choose after moderator Bret Baier grilled them on late-term abortions. The lack of questions on the topic in debates and town halls sparked an #AskAboutAbortion movement from those who want the candidates to solidify their positions.
The Washington Post:
Clinton, Sanders Asked About Abortion At Fox News Town Hall — Some Say Too Late
For more than a generation, the Democratic Party has been the party of choice. With the Republican field tripping over itself to prove its anti-abortion bona fides, there seems no need to ask Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders what they think about the procedure, or what limits, if any, should be imposed on the women who seek abortions and the doctors who provide them. Not in the minds of some. For months now, as seven Democratic debates have passed without a question about abortion, those who want Sanders and Clinton to clarify their positions on Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood and the right to choose have been complaining about unasked questions. Hashtag: #AskAboutAbortion. (Moyer, 3/8)
The New York Times:
Bernie Sanders And Hillary Clinton Draw Sharp Questions At Fox News Forum
The night after a testy Democratic debate, Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had the chance to confront another adversary: Fox News. ... Pressed on his budget-busting plans for universal health care, Mr. Sanders reiterated his belief that health care is a right for all people. “Excuse me, where does that right come from, in your mind?” Mr. Baier asked. “Being a human being,” Mr. Sanders replied, “being a human being.” Both Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton said they believed abortion — a topic that rarely comes up at Democratic debates but that sometimes dominates the Republican stage — is a decision best left to women, their doctors and their families.
And on the Republican side of the 2016 race, the candidates tout health savings accounts —
Trump, Cruz And Rubio Push HSAs As Key Part Of Post-ACA Coverage, But Details Are Scarce
The leading Republican presidential candidates say health savings accounts should figure prominently in replacing the Affordable Care Act. That would require significant changes to HSAs and to healthcare more broadly. Even then, higher income Americans would benefit most. ... Joe Antos, a health policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-of-center think tank, said for HSAs to be a bigger factor in the healthcare system, there would need to be far more transparency in pricing. (Muchmore, 3/7)