Latest From California Healthline:
It’s easy to buy all the supplies online, and thousands of e-liquid recipes on the internet walk people through all the steps. But experts warn about safety. (Jenny Gold, 11/12)
Good morning! Reporting has uncovered that Google has been collecting health data on millions of patients without their knowledge through an initiative dubbed Project Nightingale. More on that below, but first here are your top California health stories of the day.
City Leaders Reconcile Dueling Plans To Overhaul San Francisco’s Broken Mental Health System: After months of sometimes bitter political bickering, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney have come to agreement over changes to the city’s mental health system. The mayor and the supervisors will announce their deal Tuesday, along with an agreement that both sides will pull their respective ballot initiatives for mental health reform from the March ballot. Instead, Breed, Ronen and Haney will introduce Mental Health SF as an ordinance at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, foregoing what was otherwise expected to be an expensive, hostile fight at the voting booth over two proposals with many meaningful similarities. Read more from Dominic Fracassa of The San Francisco Chronicle.
As First Responders Grapple With Trauma From Wildfires, Other Disasters, Advocates Turn An Eye Toward Prevention Methods: Peer support, employee assistance and licensed counseling certainly can help firefighters in the midst of crisis, advocates say, but they also think it’s possible to give first responders a number of tools to keep stress and trauma from becoming overwhelming. “There’s all sorts of research that proves that is a fact,” said paramedic Susan Farren, who has started her own company to teach first reponders resiliency techniques. First responders are “under more stress than most people, professionally speaking. If stress is the No. 1 contributing factor to disease, then reducing the stress is the No. 1 contributing factor to reducing disease.” There is a stigma attached with seeking mental health help, but some see progress being made. “There are some holdouts out there who don’t believe in seeking help, but that culture and those numbers are going away rapidly,” Cal Fire’s Deputy Chief Mike Ming said. “In Cal Fire specifically, our culture has broken through that stigma, and...we’re training all of our new folks who come on board with us in a curriculum of resiliency.” Read more from Cathie Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.
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 Washington Post:
Gavin Newsom Accused PG&E Of ‘Corporate Greed.’ The Utility Spent $700,000 Funding His Campaigns And His Wife’s Films.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has accused his state’s largest utility company of mismanaging funds he said it should have used to upgrade an aging electrical grid prone to deadly wildfires. But over the past two decades, Newsom (D) and his wife have accepted more than $700,000 from the Pacific Gas & Electric Co., its foundation and its employees as the utility has supported his political campaigns, his ballot initiatives, his inauguration festivities and his wife’s foundation, including her film projects, according to records reviewed by The Washington Post. (MacMillan and Satija, 11/11)
CA Police Access Background Check Database For Personal Use
On June 5, 2013, San Francisco police Sgt. John Haggett was working the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift in a third-floor office at the city’s Hall of Justice. At 11:48 that morning, someone logged into the department’s secure database inside that office and used Haggett’s sign-on and password to run a criminal background check on a San Francisco woman through the department’s local records. Within minutes, Haggett’s account was used to run a Department of Motor Vehicles check on the same woman, as well as an FBI criminal records check and another background check run through the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, known as CLETS. (Stanton, Smith and Wailoo, 11/12)
Capital Public Radio:
How Much Cannabis Do Californians Use? Researchers Want To Ask In Order To Set Safe Pesticide Limits.
Starting this January, California cannabis users can get a $20 gift card by anonymously sharing their consumption habits with a state-funded survey team.Researchers from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and Sacramento State are trying to calculate how much cannabis the average California user consumes on a daily basis. The information will help them set more accurate safety levels for pesticide use on cannabis crops. (Caiola, 11/11)
The Bakersfield Californian:
Kern County Asthma Summit To Take Place On Thursday
The Asthma Coalition of Kern County will host its annual Kern County Asthma Summit on Thursday at the Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, according to a news release. The free summit will take place from 2 to 8 p.m. It will feature speakers and information on community asthma education programs, air quality, asthma diagnosis, treatment, and management of asthma in schools, according to the release. (11/11)
Homeless Torn As Modesto CA Tent City Closes, Shelter Opens
Officials will give an update Wednesday on the effort to close the Modesto Outdoor Emergency Shelter — the tent city that is home to about 450 people — in the coming weeks and relocating its residents to other shelters. The briefing will take place at the Stanislaus Homeless Alliance meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place. The meeting is open to the public. (Valine, 11/11)
Modesto Recovery Program Will Reinstate Services Dec. 1
A Modesto residential recovery program will be open again Dec. 1 after reaching a settlement agreement with the California Department of Health Care Services over a state order to suspend the center’s license. In July, the state shut down most services at the 40-bed New Hope Recovery House on East Orangeburg Avenue. New Hope was accused of not following standard protocols for detoxification services for drug-addicted clients. New Hope contested many of the allegations and said there were multiple errors in the state investigation. (Carlson, 11/11)
The Wall Street Journal:
Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ Gathers Personal Health Data On Millions Of Americans
Google is engaged with one of the U.S.’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states. The initiative, code-named “Project Nightingale,” appears to be the biggest effort yet by a Silicon Valley giant to gain a toehold in the health-care industry through the handling of patients’ medical data. Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are also aggressively pushing into health care, though they haven’t yet struck deals of this scope. Google began Project Nightingale in secret last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, a Catholic chain of 2,600 hospitals, doctors’ offices and other facilities, with the data sharing accelerating since summer, according to internal documents. (Copeland, 11/11)
The New York Times:
Big Nurses Union Backs Bernie Sanders And His Push For ‘Medicare For All’
The country’s largest nurses union will endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for president this week, a significant boost to his campaign from a major ally in the fight for his signature health care proposal. The union, National Nurses United, fervently supported Mr. Sanders’s last bid for the White House in 2016, and its members have been significant players in Democratic politics since then, showing up in red T-shirts to support Mr. Sanders’s progressive allies in intraparty battles. They have also canvassed neighborhoods in swing congressional districts, urging voters to get behind “Medicare for all,” Mr. Sanders’s plan for a nationalized health insurance system. (Epstein, 11/12)
Federal Health Contract Funneled Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars To Trump Allies
At least eight former White House, presidential transition and campaign officials for President Donald Trump were hired as outside contractors to the federal health department at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, according to documents newly obtained by POLITICO. They were among at least 40 consultants who worked on a one-year, $2.25 million contract directed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. The contractors were hired to burnish Verma’s personal brand and provide “strategic communications” support. They charged up to $380 per hour for work traditionally handled by dozens of career civil servants in CMS's communications department. (Diamond and Cancryn, 11/12)
Trump To Meet With Vaping Industry As He Mulls Tighter Regulation
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he will be meeting with vaping industry representatives as his administration considers tightening e-cigarette regulations amid a nationwide outbreak of vaping-related injuries and deaths. "Will be meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma. Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!" he wrote on Twitter. (11/11)
The New York Times:
E.P.A. To Limit Science Used To Write Public Health Rules
The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking. A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal, titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, would require that scientists disclose all of their raw data, including confidential medical records, before the agency could consider an academic study’s conclusions. (Friedman, 11/11)
The New York Times:
As Vietnam Veterans Age, Hospices Aim To Meet Their Needs
When Timothy Hellrung was told he had aggressive cancer this past June and had only days or weeks to live, he knew where he wanted to die. Mr. Hellrung, a 73-year-old veteran of the Vietnam War disabled by Agent Orange, spent his last 10 days in hospice care at the community living center of the V.A. Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Michigan. The staff provided him with a roomy suite. A social worker wheeled in a bed for his wife of 44 years, Brenda, and gave her pajamas so she could be comfortable spending every night with him. (Halpert, 11/11)
The Associated Press:
US Held Nearly 70,000 Migrant Kids In Custody In 2019
The 3-year-old girl traveled for weeks cradled in her father's arms, as he set out to seek asylum in the United States. Now she won't even look at him. After being forcibly separated at the border by government officials, sexually abused in U.S. foster care and deported, she arrived back in Honduras withdrawn, anxious and angry, convinced her once-beloved father abandoned her. He fears their bond is forever broken. (11/12)