- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- When Pretend Play Is Real For Alzheimer’s Patients
- Young Boy’s Struggle To Survive Sparked Push For Drugs For Terminally Ill
- Campaign 2016 2
- A Look At Prop. 52: Private Hospital Fees For Medi-Cal
- Advocates: Trump's Comments About Strength Of Vets With PTSD 'Dangerous'
- Public Health and Education 2
- Sending Zika Money To States Could Still Take Months
- New Routine Screening At Birth Could Allow Intervention For Rare, Deadly Disease
- Around California 1
- Following Police Shooting Of Mentally Ill Man, PERT Director Talks About Team's Importance
Latest From California Healthline:
Playing with dolls is good therapy for some elderly people with dementia. They may think the dolls are real babies, but does it matter? (Anna Gorman, 10/4)
Ten-year-old Josh Hardy died last month. His struggle to survive helped to spur laws to get unapproved drugs to the terminally ill. (Liz Szabo, 10/3)
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Summaries Of The News:
Thousands of assaults a year are leaving taxpayers on the hook for at least $135 million in workers’ compensation and overtime.
At California Psychiatric Hospitals, Epidemic Of Patients’ Assaults On Staff Goes Untreated
In the years following Gross’ death, workers at Napa, Patton, Metropolitan, Coalinga and Atascadero state hospitals have suffered on average 2,795 assaults a year, costing California taxpayers over $82.7 million in workers’ compensation claims over the past two fiscal years alone, according to data obtained through state public records requests. Patients at the five hospitals committed nearly 26,000 assaults between 2011 and 2014, the latest year for which data are available, according to aggressive incident report records obtained from the Department of State Hospitals, which oversees the facilities. Staff were the victims of 11,000 — more than 42 percent — of those assaults, the records show. (Gross, 10/3)
In other hospital news —
The Washington Post:
Transgender Boy’s Mom Sues Hospital, Saying He ‘Went Into Spiral’ After Staff Called Him A Girl
Just shy of his 15th birthday and the promise of testosterone treatments to help make him a man, Kyler Prescott was dead. Overcome with anxiety and depression, the Southern California teen committed suicide in May 2015, his mother said. In the weeks before his death, Kyler had been treated for “suicidal ideation,” Katharine Prescott said: She had taken him to the emergency room at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, which has a Gender Management Clinic to treat children with gender dysphoria and other related issues. (Bever, 10/3)
Capital Public Radio breaks down what exactly Prop. 52 is, who is supporting it and it's fiscal impact.
Capital Public Radio:
Election 2016 FAQ: Proposition 52, Private Hospital Fees For Medi-Cal
Hospitals also contribute around $1 billion annually for children’s health care. This extra money acts like a handling fee that hospitals pay the state so the Legislature partners with them on Medi-Cal matching funds. Hospitals want to cement this law rather than have it re-upped every few years to avoid uncertainty and to make sure the amount of the extra fee for children’s health care doesn’t continue to increase, as it has in years past. Proposition 52 requires a two-thirds vote in the state Legislature to end the program or to divert money from the hospital fee away from Medi-Cal. (Klivans, 10/3)
The Desert Sun:
What This Election Means For The Future Of Palm Springs' Hospital
The Desert Healthcare District board of directors is facing some historic decisions, making the election of new members this November voters' best chance to influence health care in the Palm Springs area for years to come. (Newkirk, 10/3)
In other ballot news —
Los Angeles Times:
How The Campaign Against Tobacco Tax Says It Affects California Schools
A central attack of the tobacco industry on Proposition 56, the measure to increase cigarette taxes by $2 a pack, is about schools. The tax hike, opponents say, keeps money out of the state’s education system, a point they’ve tried to hammer home through a television advertisement and political mailers, both featuring a Long Beach high school teacher criticizing the initiative. The tobacco companies even went to court to successfully sue over the official ballot summary to more explicitly detail the measure’s effect on school funding. (Dillon, 10/4)
"The biggest barrier we have to people getting help is the stigma of getting help," says Zach Iscol, a Marine veteran and executive director of the nonprofit Headstrong Project. "It just shows a complete misunderstanding of what post-traumatic stress disorder is."
The Associated Press:
Trump Angers With Suggestion That Vets With PTSD Are Weak
Donald Trump is drawing scorn from veterans' groups after he suggested that soldiers who suffer from mental health issues might not be as strong as those who don't. Trump was speaking at an event organized by the Retired American Warriors political action committee Monday when he was asked about his commitment to faith-based programs aimed at preventing suicides and helping soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other issues. (10/3)
Los Angeles Times:
Biden Says Trump 'Completely Uninformed' On Mental Health Of Combat Vets. Veteran Calls Trump 'Thoughtful'
Vice President Joe Biden called Donald Trump “completely uninformed” about war veterans' mental health on Monday after Trump told a military group that they were strong but others “can’t handle” post-combat stress. Biden’s comments came as the Trump campaign said the Republican nominee’s remarks in Virginia on Monday morning were taken out of context by critics. (Finnegan, 10/3)
San Diego Union-Times:
Did Trump Snub Vets With PTSD 'Not Strong' Comment?
Did Donald Trump blow it with veterans with a comment Monday in which he seems to imply that “strong” people don’t get PTSD, the condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder? (Steele, 10/3)
A new study finds that on certain topics — like abortion, marijuana use and gun control — physicians' political views influence how they treat their patients.
Los Angeles Times:
The Care You Get From Your Doctor May Depend On His Or Her Political Views
Even in our increasingly partisan society, you might have figured that your doctor’s office would be neutral territory. But that just goes to show how naive you are. A new study from researchers at Yale University details significant differences in the way primary care physicians from across the political spectrum approach medical issues that touch on hot-button topics, such as abortion and gun control. (Kaplan, 10/3)
The trial for the lawsuit is set for December 2017.
KPBS Public Media:
Judge Rejects Motion To Dismiss Suit Against Anti-Abortion Group
A federal judge has decided not to dismiss a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood against an anti-abortion rights group that released a series of allegedly misleading videos last year. The videos and the motion to dismiss the case came from a group called the Center for Medical Progress. Their videos claimed to show Planned Parenthood officials illegally involved in selling fetal tissue. (Goldberg, 10/3)
The technology behind the device — which converts ultrasound energy to electrical pulses that synchronize the heart’s large pumping chambers — has received the green light from the FDA.
The Mercury News:
Medical Tech Investor Allan Will Betting On Wireless Pacemaker
Among [Allan] Will’s latest ventures is EBR Systems, which develops devices for cardiac rhythm management. In September, the Sunnyvale-based company’s WiSE technology — wireless stimulation endocardially — got the greenlight from the FDA for clinical testing of its rice-sized implantable pacemaker...The wireless device converts ultrasound energy to electrical pulses that synchronize the heart’s large pumping chambers. By improving their performance, Will said, heart failure symptoms decline and mortality improves. (Seipel, 10/3)
Health officials unveil the plan for distributing the $1.1 billion Congress approved last week after months of political stalemate.
Los Angeles Times:
With $1.1 Billion In New Funding, U.S. Health Officials Outline Plan For Fighting Zika
The nation’s top health officials on Monday laid out their plans for spending $1.1 billion in newly appropriated federal funds to combat the threat posed by the Zika virus. At the same time, they vented frustration at Congress for taking so long to make the money available as the virus spread to more than 25,000 people in U.S. states and territories, including 3,600 on the mainland. (Healy, 10/3)
Adrenoleukodystrophy strikes during childhood, but by the time the symptoms start to show the damage has already been done. Now that the test for it has been added to routine screening for newborns, early intervention could save lives.
What’s ALD? A New Genetic Test Will Identify California Newborns With Debilitating Disease
Starting last month, a rare but devastating genetic disease is now part of the routine blood screening given to all California babies shortly after birth. Adrenoleukodystrophy – commonly called ALD – is a tongue-twisty name for a brain disease that primarily strikes boys, often in the prime of childhood. Until now, it’s usually been detected too late to save children from deteriorating into a vegetative state, if not early death. (Buck, 10/3)
The Psychiatric Emergency Response Team was handling another call and were unable to assist Alfred Olango. In the wake of the fatal encounter, San Diego County's PERT Director Mark Marvin speaks with KPBS about what his team does.
KPBS Public Media:
Director Talks About San Diego County PERT
A Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) was unable to aid Alfred Olango last week because, according to El Cajon police Chief Jeff Davis, the team was responding to another call and could not make it to the scene in time. There are 41 PERT teams in San Diego County. PERT Director Mark Marvin said more PERT teams would help because since 2009 there has been an 84 percent increase in mental health calls in San Diego County. In the same time period, the population has increased 5 percent. (Cavanaugh and Ruth, 10/3)
In other news from across the state —
Orange County Register:
Mite Specialist Tours Lake Forest Elementary To Determine Source Of Skin Irritations
In a continued effort to determine whether insects on campus are the cause of what appear to be welts and bug bites on students and staff members, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District deployed a vector ecologist to Lake Forest Elementary School on Monday. Vector control spokesman Jared Dever said Steve Bennett, who has a specialty in mites and other biting arthropods, and a team of staff members went to the school around 10 a.m. to survey the campus.Dever said Bennett and the team planned to spend time around the fields and the adjacent portable buildings, the presumed hot spots for the outbreak. (Percy, 10/3)
The Obama administration is actively targeting young adults who have not enrolled in the exchanges in the numbers needed to balance out the costlier older population. Meanwhile, the president talks about his signature law's "real problems," but says they're fixable with help from Congress.
Obamacare’s Millennial Problem
The 18- to 34-year-olds who helped elect Barack Obama could consign his signature domestic policy achievement to failure. That’s because not enough millennials have signed up for Obamacare to make it work well. Despite repeated outreach — including entreaties from all manner of celebrities, including NBA stars and Obama himself — young people make up less than 30 percent of Obamacare customers. The White House had set a goal of 40 percent in that age bracket to sustain a healthy marketplace because millennials tend to be healthier and, therefore, balance the costs of sicker, older customers. (Pradhan and Demko, 10/4)
Obama: Affordable Care Act Has ‘Real Problems’
President Obama says his signature domestic policy, the Affordable Care Act, needs some fixes. “In my mind the [Affordable Care Act] has been a huge success, but it’s got real problems,” Obama said in an interview with New York Magazine published Sunday. ... In the interview, Obama suggested ways the marketplace could be improved: “They’re eminently fixable problems in terms of strengthening the marketplace, improving the subsidies so more folks can get it, making sure everybody has Medicaid who was qualified under the original legislation, doing more on the cost containment,” he said. (McIntire, 10/3)
In other national health care news —
The Wall Street Journal:
House Committee Taps Mylan For More Information On EpiPen Price Figures
A U.S. House committee sent a letter to Mylan NV demanding a fuller explanation of why the company omitted key information that it used to calculate the profit figure for the lifesaving EpiPen drug that its chief executive provided during a congressional hearing last month. ... House committee leaders, in a letter to Ms. Bresch dated Sept. 30 and released Monday, said her testimony “omitted key tax assumptions that affect the company’s profit per pack.” They said the omission ”raises questions.” (Loftus, 10/3)
Medicare Encourages People To Try Dialysis At Home
About half a million Americans need dialysis, which cleans toxins from the body when the kidneys can't anymore. It can cost more than $50,000 a year, and takes hours each week at a dialysis center. To meet the need, roughly 7,000 kidney dialysis centers have opened across the country. Patients go several times a week and spend half a day undergoing the life-sustaining procedure. Medicare is now taking steps to make it easier for people to do their own dialysis at home. (Whitney, 10/4)
The Associated Press:
Could Drug Checking Have Prevented Prince's Overdose Death?
As the investigation into Prince's death homes in on the source of the fatal fentanyl, some observers are suggesting that the United States explore a lifesaving strategy used in Europe: services that check addicts' drug supplies to see if they are safe. In Spain, the Netherlands and a handful of other countries, users voluntarily turn in drug samples for chemical analysis and are alerted if dangerous additives are found. The pragmatic approach saves lives, proponents say. (Johnson, 10/4)