- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- GOP Gubernatorial Candidate John Cox: Limit Government In Health Care
- Hospital Roundup 1
- 'Patient Dumping' Controversy Prompts New Law That Requires Hospitals To Develop Safe Discharge Policies
- Quality 1
- 'I Have No Control Over My Life': Continuing Care Homes Can Be Double-Edged Sword For Vulnerable Seniors
- Public Health and Education 3
- Mental Health Services For New Mothers Get Boost From Recently Signed Laws
- Extreme Weather Stresses Mental Health, Finds New Report That Paints Dire Picture On Climate Change
- 'They Want To Steal My Daughter': Flawed System Could Let Judges Grant Full Custody Of Migrant Children To American Families
- Around California 1
- San Diego County Lawyers Face Allegations They Snooped In Psychiatric Nurse's Patient Files
- The Opioid Crisis 1
- Counterfeit Prescription Drugs Laced With Fentanyl Falling Into Unsuspecting Hands Thanks In Part To Social Media
Latest From California Healthline:
John Cox, California’s Republican candidate for governor, contends that policies on abortion, health insurance and health care access should be guided by the conservative ideals of free market competition and personal responsibility. He hasn’t offered specific policy positions on health care, except that government should largely stay out of it. (Samantha Young, 10/9)
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More News From Across The State
The issue of patient dumping -- discharging homeless patients who have nowhere to go -- grabbed local and national headlines recently sparking a new focus on the practice. The law does not carry specific penalties, but hospitals that violate the law could face repercussions from the state Department of Public Health and the federal government.
Homeless Patients Were Left On The Streets By Hospitals. This Law Could End ‘Dumping’
Spurred by news stories about hospitals “dumping” poor people onto the streets, a new law will soon require health care providers to develop specific policies for safely discharging homeless patients. Beginning in July, hospitals must document in writing that shelters have beds for homeless patients before sending them to the facilities. (Hubert, 10/9)
While the facilities can offer aging Americans peace of mind as they navigate the challenges of medical care and the need for help, but some residents say the contracts that come with the places and the lack of freedom make them feel helpless.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Continuing Care Homes Offer Peace Of Mind, But Some Loss Of Agency, For Those Who Choose Them
The need for senior housing has been growing steadily as the baby-boom generation ages. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people 75 and over was 6.1 percent of the nation’s population in 2012. By 2040, 11.7 percent of the population is expected to be 75 or older, some 45 million people. The statistics underscore the escalating demand for housing for the nation’s eldest residents. In addition to thousands of stand-alone assisted-living homes and skilled-nursing facilities, the state of California licenses about 80 continuing care retirement communities like Vi at La Jolla Village. (McDonald, 10/9)
Currently, less than 1 in 4 women with maternal depression receive treatment for the disorder, usually because they’re never screened for it. New legislation seeks to improve those statistics.
The California Health Report:
New Bills Boost Mental Health Access For Moms, Low-Income Kids
Children and new moms stand to gain improved access to mental health services under two bills recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The Maternal Mental Health bill requires doctors working with pregnant women and new moms to screen these patients for postpartum depression and other mental health conditions. Under the bill, signed by Gov. Brown on Sep. 30, health insurers must also develop treatment programs for maternal mental health issues and guidelines for obstetricians on what to do when a woman screens positive for a postpartum mood disorder. Kelly O’Connor Kay, interim executive director for the Los Angeles-based non-profit Maternal Mental Health Now, said the bill will help ensure more women get treated for postpartum depression. The second part of the bill requiring guidelines for obstetricians is especially important, she said, because it’s designed to make California’s law more effective than bills in some other states that only require screening. (Boyd-Barrett, 10/8)
In other mental health news —
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Mental Health Forum Empowers Grieving Parents
On Saturday, Rózsa and Aaron Harris will be among some 600 audience members at the Forum for Healthy Minds at Cal State San Marcos. It will be the third year in a row that the San Marcos couple will attend the free, all-day conference in memory of their son, also named Aaron, who died by suicide in 2015 at the age of 21. The forum was launched 12 years ago by the Community Alliance for Healthy Minds to provide the community with support, education, resources and stigma-reducing strategies about treating mental illness and suicide prevention. (Kragen, 10/9)
Researchers found that in warmer summers the mental health problems increased by about the same amount of percentage points as degrees. Short-term weather patterns, like rainy days, are also linked to an increase of self-reported symptoms.
Los Angeles Times:
Study Gives Depressing Look At How Climate Change Puts Americans’ Mental Health At Risk
Is climate change stressing you out? A new study linking weather and mental health in the United States suggests things could get much worse. The study outlines three separate ways that hotter and more extreme weather stand to undermine the mental well-being of the people forced to experience it. The effects will be most pronounced for women and for low-income Americans, the findings indicate. “Ultimately, if observed relationships from the recent past persist, added climate change may amplify the society-wide mental health burden,” the study authors wrote Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Kaplan, 10/8)
In other public health news —
San Francisco Chronicle:
Cannabis Confusion: Trendy CBD Is In Legal Limbo. Here’s What You Need To Know.
Today, CBD, whether it’s derived from heady cannabis or its sober botanical twin, hemp, is being touted as a super-cannabinoid, both a wellness agent and a natural therapeutic medicine that’s predicted to be a $22 billion industry by 2020, sold online and in convenience stores and cannabis dispensaries near you. An increasing body of scientific research encompasses more than 60 ways CBD affects humans. (Murrieta, 10/8)
The decisions can be made by state judges without notifying the biological parents, and the cases are hard to track at a federal level. Meanwhile, the number of young children forced to have a day in court is ever-increasing.
The Associated Press:
Deported Parents May Lose Kids To Adoption
As the deportees were led off the plane onto the steamy San Salvador tarmac, an anguished Araceli Ramos Bonilla burst into tears, her face contorted with pain: "They want to steal my daughter!" It had been 10 weeks since Ramos had last held her 2-year-old, Alexa. Ten weeks since she was arrested crossing the border into Texas and U.S. immigration authorities seized her daughter and told her she would never see the girl again. (10/9)
The New York Times:
Migrant Children In Search Of Justice: A 2-Year-Old’s Day In Immigration Court
The youngest child to come before the bench in federal immigration courtroom No. 14 was so small she had to be lifted into the chair. Even the judge in her black robes breathed a soft “aww” as her latest case perched on the brown leather. Her feet stuck out from the seat in small gray sneakers, her legs too short to dangle. Her fists were stuffed under her knees. As soon as the caseworker who had sat her there turned to go, she let out a whimper that rose to a thin howl, her crumpled face a bursting dam. (Yee and Jordan, 10/8)
And a detainee at the troubled Adelanto detention facility reports on the conditions inside —
Los Angeles Times:
L.A. Immigrant Who Spent Six Months In Detention Describes Harsh Conditions At Adelanto Facility
From his cell at the Adelanto immigration detention facility on July 11, 2017, Romulo Avelica Gonzalez scrawled out a journal entry on lined notebook paper. “Another person hanged himself,” he wrote in Spanish. “Lost asylum.” It was one of five suicide attempts over the course of eight months at the facility that houses nearly 2,000 detainees. Four months earlier, a Nicaraguan man had been found hanging in his cell from his bed sheets. (Castillo, 10/8)
The lawyers, however, said they complied with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the federal law that protects confidential medical information.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
For Third Time, San Diego County Is Accused Of Accessing Private Records To Defend Lawsuit
Lawyers for the County of San Diego are once again being accused of snooping through confidential records to defend a civil lawsuit, the third time in recent months that plaintiffs have leveled such an allegation. The new accusation was contained in a motion plaintiffs’ lawyers filed last Thursday in U.S. District Court, where the mother of a man who died in sheriff’s custody three years ago claimed her son was not properly supervised at the Vista Detention Facility. (McDonald, 10/8)
People buying drugs like Xanax online are taking the pills, not realizing that they are fake and some are tainted with a potent opioid. The mistake can be fatal.
The Wall Street Journal:
The Uphill Fight Against Fake Prescription Drugs
Tosh Ackerman took part of what he thought was a Xanax pill to help him sleep one night three years ago. His girlfriend found the 29-year-old dead the next day. The Xanax he obtained from an acquaintance was counterfeit, says his mother, Carrie Luther, who lives in Mount Hermon, Calif. Toxicology reports found it contained a fatal dose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often produced illicitly for the black market. “It looked like Xanax to the untrained eye,” says Ms. Luther, who now regularly speaks about the dangers of counterfeit drugs. (Reddy, 10/8)
An analysis of campaign ads for the upcoming midterms reflects polls that find that the percentage of Americans who hold favorable views of the law has surpassed the share opposing it -- a gap that has grown since Republicans’ failed repeat efforts. But many candidates focus on buzzwords like "preexisting conditions" rather than naming the contentious law itself. Media outlets take a look at advertisements and campaigns in races across the country.
The Wall Street Journal:
Health Care Crowds Out Jobs, Taxes In Midterm Ads
Eight years ago, the newly passed Affordable Care Act was so widely criticized that it contributed to Democrats losing control of the House of Representatives. But in this midterm election, health care is the party’s most-mentioned topic in advertising—far above anything else, including opposition to President Trump. Meanwhile, Republicans—who have made repealing the Affordable Care Act one of their top advertising messages since the 2010 election—are barely mentioning it this year, after the GOP-led Congress tried unsuccessfully to overturn the law last year. The party has instead turned its attention to touting the tax legislation Mr. Trump signed into law late last year. (McGill and Bykowicz, 10/9)
House Republicans Distort And Dissemble In Slashing TV Ads
Attacks ads have always been a staple of campaign season. But Republicans have twisted facts in some ads to an extraordinary degree as they fight to save their House majority, weaving narratives about Democratic candidates that are misleading at best — or blatantly false at worst. ... Some Republican candidates have launched similar attacks impugning the motives or patriotism of their opponents. West Virginia Republican candidate Carol Miller ran a clip of her Democratic rival, Richard Ojeda, saying “the United States of America is not the greatest country.” One vet in the spot accuses Ojeda, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, of “stepping on the graves of every dead soldier.” What Ojeda actually said is that U.S. isn't the greatest country because homelessness is rampant, the health care system is lacking and the opioid epidemic has been allowed to fester. Ojeda issued his own ad in response, talking about the names of fallen soldiers tattooed his back. (Bade, 10/9)
Dem Ad Accuses Heller Of 'Lying' About Record On Pre-Existing Conditions
A new Democratic ad is accusing Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) of “lying” about helping people with pre-existing conditions. The ad from Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), who is seeking to unseat Heller in a close Senate race, features people with pre-existing conditions, one of whom says, “Dean Heller is lying about helping us.” (Sullivan, 10/8)
NARAL To Launch $1M Ad Campaign Targeting GOP Over Kavanaugh
Pro-abortion rights advocacy group NARAL is launching a $1 million ad campaign hitting vulnerable House Republicans over the GOP's support for newly-confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The NARAL campaign is seeking to turn Democratic anger over Kavanaugh into votes during the midterm elections. (Birnbaum, 10/8)
The Associated Press Fact Check:
Trump Distorts Democrats' Health Care Ideas
Forget "Obamacare." President Donald Trump has found a new target when it comes to ideas from the Democrats for the nation's health care system. In rallies for the November midterm elections, Trump is going after "Medicare for All," the rallying cry of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats. Trump is trying out attack lines echoed by other Republicans that a government-run system would wreck the existing and enormously popular Medicare program for seniors and disabled people. (10/9)
Ryan Says 'Medicare For All' Shows Democratic Party Has 'Gone Off The Rails'
The embrace of “Medicare for all” shows that the Democratic party has “gone off the rails,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Monday. In a speech at the National Press Club, Ryan warned that the plan favored by “the Left” would result in Americans having no choice about the cost or coverage of their health insurance. (Weixel, 10/8)
Senate Dems To Force Vote This Week To Overrule Trump ObamaCare Change
Democrats are planning to force a vote in the Senate this week on overturning a Trump administration rule expanding non-ObamaCare insurance plans. The Democratic resolution, which will likely get a vote on Wednesday, would overturn a rule finalized in August that expanded the availability of short-term health insurance plans. (Sullivan, 10/8)
Planned Parenthood’s political arm only began scoring Supreme Court nominees in 2005, so Justices David Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy pre-date that shift. Moreover, Planned Parenthood even praised O'Connor's nomination. The office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) acknowledged the error she made when defending her vote for Brett Kavanaugh.
The Washington Post Fact Checker:
Susan Collins’s Wrong Claim On Planned Parenthood And Supreme Court Justices
Collins is a prominent Republican supporter of abortion rights. In defending her vote to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, she argued that she believed he would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that made abortion legal across the United States. After CNN’s Dana Bash noted that Planned Parenthood had once given her an award but that its political arm denounced her siding with “those who disbelieve, disrespect and even mock survivors,” Collins became upset. (Kessler, 10/9)
Meanwhile, an ad campaign focusing on the Supreme Court's threat to overturning the health law has launched against Collins —
New Ads Target Collins For Supporting Kavanaugh
A pro-ObamaCare group is targeting Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in new TV and digital ads for voting to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The ad imitates a breaking news alert, with a narrator saying that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn ObamaCare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. (Hellmann, 10/8)