Latest From California Healthline:
Dozens of frail nursing home residents have been informed by their Medi-Cal managed-care plans that they are no longer eligible for long-term care. Some health care advocates and legal aid attorneys fear that such terminations will increase as the state implements mandatory managed care for nursing home residents. (Jocelyn Wiener, 10/29)
Good morning! San Francisco-based Juul has announced that it will cut about 500 jobs as part of a “necessary reset” for the e-cigarette industry. Read more about that below, but first here are your top California health stories for the day.
Californians Reaching For Masks Amid Smoke Pollution From Raging Wildfires, But Do They Actually Work?: Although plenty of Bay Area residents have masks, not enough know which kinds work best, or how to wear them for peak efficiency. Online or in hardware stores, look for masks marked as either N95 or P100. The designation indicates that the respirator blocks at least 95-99% of particulate matter floating in the air. Those microscopic specks can cause respiratory issues and trigger heart attacks. Do not use dust or surgical masks; they're not up to the job. And do not buy an adult-sized mask in the hope that it may protect your child. Some masks do come in smaller sizes, but they will probably be too large to form a tight enough seal around a small child’s nose and mouth to ensure protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health does not certify any childrens’ respirator masks. Pediatricians warn that masks may also offer parents a false sense of security, encouraging them to spend more time outdoors exposing their children to hazardous smoke.
More than 10,000 students across the Santa Monica and Malibu areas were forced to stay home Monday after being alerted about 6:30 a.m. that all schools in their district would be closed because of the Getty fire. In the Bay Area, air quality officials said air quality had degraded considerably Monday and warned that smoke from the Kincade fire was expected to push south into the Bay Area, combining with smoke from the local Suisun Marsh fire.
Read more from Jenny Jarvie of the Los Angeles Times; Lesley McClurg of KQED; Nicole Hayden of the Palm Springs Desert Sun; Tony Barboza of the Los Angeles Times; and Sarah Mervosh of The New York Times.
VA Secretary Warns Newsom Of Potential ‘Life-Threatening Consequences’ For Veterans Effected By Power Outages: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, warning of the potential consequences of wildfire-related power outages for the state’s 1.6 million veterans. Wilkie’s letter, sent Monday, warns that preemptive outages — designed to prevent wildfires — “could create significant life-threatening issues for the region’s veterans. The secretary asked the governor to update the VA about his plans to “mitigate the potential hardship.” The secretary’s office did not indicate how it wants California VA to handle the outages. Veteran Health Administration facilities have backup generators. Individual veterans and private VA providers may not. Read more from Steve Walsh of KPBS.
‘It’s Not Just A Matter Of Convenience’: How Lifelines Are Being Severed By Power Outages, Fires: The recent blackouts aimed at preventing fires have also cut power to many cellphone towers, blocking the main communications source for many in harm’s way. “You don’t appreciate how essential cellphone service is until you lose it,” said Chris Ungson, deputy director for communications and water policy for the California Public Advocates Office, an independent agency within the state’s Public Utilities Commission. “It’s not just a matter of inconvenience; it’s a matter of public health and safety. It’s a lifeline to many, many people.” Emergency calls to 911 are one indicator: The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said more than 80 percent of such calls in California last year were made by cellphone. Read more from Carol Pagosh and Brian X. Chen of The New York Times.
In more wildfire coverage:
The New York Times: With California Ablaze, Firefighters Strain to Keep Up
The Washington Post: As Fires Rage, California Refines An Important Skill: Evacuating
Marketplace: Who Pays For California's Wildfires?
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
Google V. Apple: While One Takes On The Housing Crisis, The Other Stands Back
A side-by-side comparison reveals that Google is taking a far more proactive approach to corporate citizenship than Apple, a disparity that illuminates the question many tech companies struggle with today: How much should they be expected to help the people and communities who fall victim to Silicon Valley’s success? The answer will play a major role in shaping the future of the valley as residents grapple with sky-high demand for housing, soaring prices and painfully clogged roadways. (Kendall, 10/28)
Capital Public Radio:
Californians Could See New Rent Control Measure On November 2020 Ballot
Less than a year after California voters decisively rejected Proposition 10, backers of that measure say they are close to qualifying a similar rent control initiative for the November 2020 ballot. The campaign for the Rental Affordability Act says this measure is different from Prop. 10 because it would chip away at the state law blocking rent control on units built after 1995, but not get rid of it entirely. (Nichols, 10/28)
The New York Times:
Sugary Drink Ban Tied To Health Improvements At Medical Center
In recent years, hospitals and medical centers across the country have stopped selling sugar-sweetened beverages in an effort to reduce obesity and diabetes. Now a new study carried out at the University of California, San Francisco, has documented the health impact of a soda sales ban on its employees. Ten months after a sales ban went into effect, U.C.S.F. workers who tended to drink a lot of sugary beverages had cut their daily intake by about half. (O'Connor, 10/28)
Sacramento, CA Pedestrian Deaths Part Of Fatality Trend
Last week, police found a pedestrian lying on the ground near Fruitridge Road after a car struck him and fled. Earlier this month, a man was killed after a hit-and-run just outside of Midtown on X and 23rd streets. In a North Sacramento neighborhood, another man died after being struck twice in September by two different vehicles, and one of the drivers left the scene. (Lightman and Finch, 10/28)
Elk Grove Billboard Pitches Girls, Women On Skipping Periods
A Stanford Medical School professor is putting up a billboard in Elk Grove to let Sacramento-area girls and women know that they can consider menstrual periods an optional part of life unless they are trying to conceive a child. Dr. Sophia Yen, who founded a company that delivers birth control directly to customers, said: “The research has shown that we really don’t need to have this many periods. (Anderson, 10/29)
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Scripps Joins Push For Third Avenue Psychiatric Services Hub In Hillcrest
The push to transform a weed-choked and derelict county property in Hillcrest into a hub for psychiatric services has passed its first hurdle and gained a new partner. Hospital executives and government leaders gathered on the property, which used to house children separated from their parents, at the behest of county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher Monday to highlight the results of a feasibility study for the Third Avenue property. Fletcher said he believes the property, which was once slated for condominium development, has the potential to provide a new way of caring for the region’s ever-growing number of residents in need of mental health care. Today, he said, too many end up in local jails and emergency departments. (Sisson, 8/28)
Parents Sue Yuba City School District Over Daughter’s Suicide
The Ocheltrees have filed a lawsuit against Yuba City Unified School District, and the Andros Karperos School principal and counselor — both of whom, the Ocheltrees allege, knew that Madison had shared with a friend that she planned to kill herself. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 7 in Sutter Superior Court, claims that the school district, Madison’s K-8 school principal Clint Johnson and counselor Todd Tyler, and other unnamed defendants “demonstrated deliberate indifference” when they failed to intervene when they learned Madison was bullied, and neglected to inform her parents when they learned she planned to die by suicide. (Morrar, 10/29)
How California’s Data Privacy Law Will Change Your Online Experience — No Matter Where You Live
Whether it’s a Social Security number or your mother’s maiden name, it could be easier to find out the personal data companies have about you — and ask them to delete it — starting Jan. 1. That’s when a strict California law goes into effect requiring businesses, including many in Colorado, to make changes like adding a “Do Not Sell My Info” button on their homepage. (Chuang, 10/29)
The Wall Street Journal:
Juul To Cut About 500 Jobs
Juul Labs Inc. plans to cut roughly 500 jobs by the end of the year, according to people familiar with the matter, reversing the embattled e-cigarette maker’s rapid staff growth as the company braces for a proposed ban on flavors that make up more than 80% of its U.S. sales. The number of positions to be eliminated could range from 10% to 15% of the workforce but isn’t final, the people said. (Maloney, 10/28)
Juul Plans To Cut About 500 Jobs By The End Of The Year
In a statement to CNBC, the company said the cuts were part of a broad review of the company’s practices and policies by its CEO K.C. Crosthwaite. The cuts will represent about 10 to 15% of Juul’s workforce. The San Francisco-based company currently employs about 4,100 people. Juul was hiring about 300 people a month as it grew from a small start-up in 2015 to a company valued at $38 billion late last year. (Setty, 10/28)
The Wall Street Journal:
Vitamin-Based Vaping Products Proliferate Online
Sherry Musso doesn’t like swallowing pills. To take her vitamins, she inhales them from a penlike device that vaporizes them. “I puff on the B12 as soon as I get up. It gives me that little boost of energy and helps me wake up,” said the 31-year-old former smoker from an Atlanta suburb. Her vaporized vitamins are part of her wellness regimen. At night, she puffs melatonin. (Hernandez and Falk, 10/28)
Exclusive: Google Owner Alphabet In Bid To Buy Fitbit-Sources
Google owner Alphabet Inc has made an offer to acquire U.S. wearable device maker Fitbit Inc, as it eyes a slice of the crowded market for fitness trackers and smartwatches, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. While Google has joined other major technology companies such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in developing smart phones, it has yet to develop any wearable offerings. (10/28)
Budget Watchdog Group Outlines 'Medicare For All' Financing Options
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) on Monday released a paper providing its preliminary estimates for various ways to finance "Medicare for All," as the issue of how to pay for such a health plan has taken center stage in the Democratic presidential primary. "Policymakers have a number of options available to finance the $30 trillion cost of Medicare for All, but each option would come with its own set of trade-offs," the budget watchdog group wrote. (Jagoda, 10/28)
Harris: 'I Knew I'd Be Called A Flip-Flopper' On 'Medicare For All'
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) says she knew she would be “called a flip-flopper” when she backed away from her initial support for "Medicare for All" in favor of developing her own health care plan. Harris has come under criticism in the Democratic presidential race for shifting her position on Medicare for All, originally saying in January, “Let’s eliminate all that,” in reference to private insurance. (Sullivan, 10/28)
The New York Times:
New TB Vaccine Could Save Millions Of Lives, Study Suggests
In what may be a watershed moment in the fight against tuberculosis, the world’s most lethal infectious disease, an experimental new vaccine has protected about half the people who got it, scientists reported on Tuesday. While a 50 percent success rate is hardly ideal — the measles vaccine, by contrast, is about 98 percent protective — about 10 million people get tuberculosis each year, and 1.6 million die of it. Even a partly effective vaccine may save millions of lives. (McNeil, 10/29)
Justice Department Issues Grand Jury Subpoenas In J&J Opioid Probe: Filing
Johnson & Johnson received grand jury subpoenas in August from the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York related to its opioid medication policies, the company said in a regulatory filing on Monday. J&J said the subpoenas were related to anti-diversion policies and procedures and the distribution of its opioid medications developed by its Janssen pharmaceuticals unit. (10/28)
The New York Times:
Is Crispr The Next Antibiotic?
For decades, scientists and doctors have treated common bacterial and viral infections with fairly blunt therapies. If you developed a sinus infection or a stomach bug, you would likely be given a broad-spectrum antibiotic that would clear out many different types of bacteria. Antiviral drugs help treat viral illnesses in much the same way, by hindering the pathogen’s ability to reproduce and spread in the body. (Sheikh, 10/28)