- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- Despite Anger At Health Law’s Mandate, GOP Plans Could Also Have Penalties
- 'A Huge Improvement’: Study Finds Inmates Benefit From Much Shorter TB Treatment
- Public Health and Education 3
- Though Questions Remain, Many Say Mental Health System Failed Man Fatally Shot By Police
- About 40 Percent Of Fresno County Children Living In Poverty
- California Public Health Officials: When Planning Holiday Vacations, Keep Zika In Mind
Latest From California Healthline:
President-elect Donald Trump has suggested that he would like to keep the health law’s ban on preexisting conditions. But that only works if insurers can be guaranteed a robust market, so Republicans must figure out a way to coax in healthy customers. (Michelle Andrews, 11/15)
A three-month drug regimen to treat latent TB in a California jail system was just as effective as the standard nine-month approach — and the patients were far more likely to finish treatment. (Elaine Korry, 11/15)
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Summaries Of The News:
Sutter Medical Center was one of only two California hospitals to be recognized under the category of "teaching hospitals without cardiovascular residency programs."
Sacramento's Sutter Medical Center Rated Among Nation’s Best For Heart Care
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, has again been named one of the nation's 50 best cardiovascular hospitals by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven Health Analytics. The local hospital made the list for a fifth consecutive year, according to the results released last week. (Glover, 11/14)
He said his clients appear to have undergone excessive treatment at the clinic in order to bill the Medi-Cal system.
Orange County Register:
Attorney For Anaheim Dental Clinic Patients Says One Boy Could Lose Jaw Bone
An attorney for two dozen children who contracted serious infections after undergoing baby tooth root canals at an Anaheim clinic said Monday, standing outside Children’s Dental Group, that one patient could require an artificial jaw. (Perkes, 11/14)
Without the contraception mandate in the health law -- which has saved women $250 a year on average -- women would likely have to start paying a co-pay to get birth control.
Los Angeles Times:
Women Rush To The Doctor For Birth Control, Fearing Trump Will Limit Access To Contraception. But Will He?
Doctors and Planned Parenthood offices across the state report that in the last week an increased number of women have asked about IUDs... Experts and medical providers are quick to point out that access to health care hasn’t changed yet, and it might not do so after Trump takes office in January. Plus, any changes would take time to implement. (Karlamangla, 11/15)
In other news on women's health —
Los Angeles Times:
Statins' Expanding Reach Falls Short Among Women, Minorities
Use of cholesterol-lowering statin medications in the United States rocketed upward 80% in the decade between 2002 and 2013. But new research suggests that the drugs shown to prevent heart attacks and strokes remain underused, especially among women, ethnic minorities and the uninsured. (Healy, 11/14)
As the Santa Cruz community tries to figure out exactly why Sean Arlt, a mentally ill man, was shot to death by police, many turn their on a lack of mental health and behavioral services.
The Mercury News:
Santa Cruz Mental Health Services Under Microscope After Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting
Members of the greater Santa Cruz community sat inside the United Church of Christ Nov. 1 and took the first steps of a raw, difficult journey; a process that has become all too familiar in communities across the U.S. They asked why. Why, in the midst of a rainstorm at 3 a.m. Oct. 16, did a Santa Cruz police officer shoot Sean Arlt, 32, a mentally ill man — once in the head and once in the chest? (Masters, 11/14)
In a wide-ranging scorecard released by the nonprofit organization Children Now, Fresno County received two out of five stars for education, 2.5 stars for health and three stars for child welfare and economic well-being.
Fresno County's High Rates Of Concentrated Poverty For Children
Fresno County has more children living in communities of concentrated poverty than anywhere else in California. About 40 percent of Fresno County children live in poverty, according to a Children Now report being released Tuesday. The report tracks child welfare and well-being in part by the number of children who are not living in communities of concentrated poverty. That number is 53 percent in Fresno County, ranking it dead last in the state. Those numbers are worse for minority students, with 38 percent of Fresno County’s black children not living in communities of concentrated poverty, and 44 percent of Latino children not living in those communities. (Mays, 11/15)
In other news, Southern California has made dramatic strides in reducing veteran homelessness —
How Riverside County Reached 'Functional Zero' Veteran Homelessness
Homelessness continues to be a huge problem in Southern California, but Riverside County says that they've managed to reach "functional zero" veteran homelessness. As the 10th most populous county in the country, it's the largest county to hit this benchmark, Lynne Brockmeier with the Riverside University Health System's Behavioral Health Housing Crisis Response Team told KPCC. (Roe, 11/14)
Travelers to popular tourist destinations, such as Mexico and Puerto Rico, are still at risk of contracting the virus.
California Department Of Public Health Warns Holiday Travelers Headed For Mexico To Avoid Zika Virus Infections
Holiday travelers headed to Mexico this winter were warned Monday to protect themselves against Zika-carrying mosquitoes. Any travel to Mexico is now considered to be risky for Zika virus infections, especially for pregnant women, according to the California Department of Public Health, which specifically cited popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa and Mazatlan. (Buck, 11/14)
Meanwhile, efforts to keep Zika out of the U.S. blood supply seem to have paid off —
The New York Times:
Zika Infection In U.S. Is Still Rare So Far, Blood Donations Indicate
By the end of this week, all blood banks in the continental United States must begin testing donated blood for contamination with the Zika virus. Many banks are doing so already, and the early results indicate that the country has dodged a bullet — for now. Screenings in a dozen states suggest that Zika infection remains exceedingly rare. Among the approximately 800,000 blood donations tested in the past six months or so, about 40 were initially positive for the virus. (Saint Louis, 11/14)
“My view is that if they can come up with something better, that actually works ... I’ll be the first one to say that’s great, congratulations,” President Barack Obama said of Republicans' plans to overhaul the health law. But if they don't and millions lose coverage, "we're going to have a problem."
Obama Dares Trump To Do Better On Obamacare
President Barack Obama said Monday that President-elect Donald Trump is "pragmatic" — and Republicans' plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will test that approach. "Obviously, this has been the holy grail for Republicans: We gotta kill Obamacare," the president said at a post-election press conference. "But now that Republicans are in charge, they gotta take a look" at how the law is saving the government money and benefiting millions of people — both the 20 million covered directly by the law and millions more who receive insurance through employers and are getting extra protections under the health law, whether they recognize it or not. (Diamond, 11/14)
The Washington Post:
Despite Trump's Campaign Pledge, Obamacare Is Woven Into Nation’s Fabric, HHS Secretary Says
The nation's top health official made an appeal Monday morning for the preservation of the Affordable Care Act, insisting that the sprawling health-care law that President-elect Donald Trump is vowing to eliminate is “now woven into the fabric of our nation.” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell delivered the most extensive remarks of any Obama administration official since last week's election about the future of the law, suggesting that large numbers of Americans signing up now for ACA health plans will make it more difficult for Trump and congressional Republicans to take away that insurance or the federal subsidies that help pay for it. (Goldstein, 11/14)
Insurers Brace For ObamaCare Upheaval
President-elect Donald Trump says he wants to repeal ObamaCare but keep the protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Achieving that will be easier said than done. Insurance companies warn that requiring them to cover anyone, regardless of their health status, could have disastrous consequences if not paired with the right policies. Without a mandate requiring people to buy coverage, insurers warn, only sick people would have reason to buy coverage. (Sullivan, 11/15)
In other national health care news —
The Washington Post:
Trump Just Dropped A Big Hint To The Pharmaceutical Industry
A single sentence in President-elect Donald Trump's health-care platform sends a strong hint to the drug and medical device industry that they may have an easier time getting their products on the market under his administration. “Reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products,” his health plan states. (Johnson, 11/14)
Donald Trump's America Is Beset By Opioids. What's He Going To Do?
To stop the heroin and painkiller crisis killing thousands of Americans, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to build a wall on the Mexican border and provide more treatment to those who need it. After Trump’s shocking electoral upset, people who work in addiction recovery say they want to believe the new president will take the crisis seriously and hope Republicans in Congress who understand the problem will help guide the new administration. (Scott, 11/14)
The Wall Street Journal:
Medicare Identifies Which Prescription Drugs Were Costliest In 2015
Medicare released new data identifying prescription medicines that had sharp price increases and those that accounted for its largest total spending in 2015. Medicare spending on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.’s diabetes drug Glumetza more than quadrupled to $153 million in 2015 from 2014, driven by a total price increase of 381%, according to the data, released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Glumetza prescription unit volume within Medicare declined 7% over the same period. (Walker, 11/14)
Rand Study: Retail Clinics Don't Reduce ER Use For Low-Acuity Conditions
Some researchers and policymakers had hoped the surge of retail clinics across the country would reduce visits to the emergency department. A new study finds that hasn't been the case. The report, published Monday in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, found ERs in close proximity to retail clinics didn't experience a reduction of visits from patients with low-acuity illnesses like influenza, urinary tract infections and ear aches. The study, conducted by researchers at Rand Corp., was the first to explore the association between the opening of retail clinics and admissions to the ER. About 13.7% of all emergency department visits are for low-acuity conditions, the study notes. (Castellucci, 11/14)