Latest From California Healthline:
By 2030, an estimated 1 in 5 Californians will be 65 or older, and the state is creating a “master plan” to address their needs. Lawmakers, advocates, local officials and others gathered in Sacramento on Monday to tackle issues of greatest concern, such as long-term care and housing for low-income seniors. (Anna Almendrala and Ana B. Ibarra, 9/17)
Good morning! Unions representing more than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers said their members will participate in a weeklong strike starting Oct. 14, which would affect California and five other states. However talks are ongoing. Read more about that below, but first here are some of your other top California health stories for the day.
California Governor Targets E-Cigarettes With New Campaign But Laments That He Lacks Authority To Institute An Outright Ban: Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced an executive order to curb youth vaping — making California the third state to take executive action in the past two weeks to address what federal health officials are calling a growing epidemic among teens. Newsom’s executive actions instruct state regulators to “reduce youth vaping consumption” by finding ways to ban illegal and counterfeit vaping products. The Democratic governor also set aside $20 million for a vaping awareness campaign and instructed state health officials to develop signs warning against the hazards of vaping to be placed at retailers and on advertising for e-cigarettes and accessories. Newsom said he would sign a bill banning flavored e-cigarettes if the state legislature sent one his way. “I’d like to see that bill on my desk,” Mr. Newsom said at a Sacramento, Calif., press conference on Monday. “I would like to sign a bill to eliminate the legal use of flavored e-cigarettes.”
"We fully support the Governor's belief that these products should be banned, and we look forward to working with him to pass legislation that will bring an end to this public health crisis and protect the youth in our state," Sen. Jerry Hill and Assemblymen Jim Wood and Kevin McCarty, all Democrats, said in a statement. Hours after the governor's announcement, health officials in central California said a resident of Tulare County died of "severe pulmonary injury" connected to the use of e-cigarettes. The person's name and age weren't released.
In related news:
Politico: Juul’s Greatest Threat Isn’t Trump
The Associated Press: As Illnesses Spread, Fake Vape Gear Sells On LA Streets
Newsom Defends Eleventh-Hour Changes To Vaccination Law, But Experts Say The Decision Could Leave A Political Bruise: Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday defended his request for last-minute changes to SB 276, a bill that gives the state more oversight of vaccine medical exemptions for school kids. After initially asking for and receiving earlier amendments, Newsom said he would sign the measure. But in the final weeks of the legislative session, he said he wanted more changes to the bill. “We were surprised at the late tweet,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon told The Sacramento Bee early Saturday morning after the Legislature adjourned for the year. Newsom’s wavering, especially on such a tense topic, will be remembered in the state Capitol as his first year crafting bills with lawmakers comes to a close. The Democratic governor can cite action on multiple fronts, but Newsom’s first legislative year is demonstrating he still has some learning to do, which is typical for new governors, said Wesley Hussey, a political science professor at California State University Sacramento. Read more from Sophia Bollag of the Sacramento Bee and Katie Orr of KQED.
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
Los Angeles Times:
80,000-Plus Kaiser Workers May Strike Oct. 14, But Talks Continue
Unions representing more than 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers said their members will participate in a weeklong strike starting Oct. 14 to protest the company’s labor practices. The healthcare giant’s workers will strike in California and five other states as well as the District of Columbia, the unions said. (Hussain, 9/16)
80,000 Kaiser Workers To Strike In California, 6 Other States
“We believe the only way to ensure our patients get the best care is to take this step,” said Eric Jines, a radiologic technologist at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. “Our goal is to get Kaiser to stop committing unfair labor practices and get back on track as the best place to work and get care. There is no reason for Kaiser to let a strike happen when it has the resources to invest in patients, communities and workers.” Patients will see picket lines at Kaiser Permanente hospital, medical office buildings and other facilities in California as well as in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. (Anderson, 9/16)
Disaster Days: How Megafires, Guns And Other 21st Century Crises Are Disrupting CA Schools
Each year, millions of Californians send their children to public K-12 classrooms, assuming that, from around Labor Day to early summer, there will be one given: A school day on a district’s calendar will mean a day of instruction in school. But that fixed point is changing, according to a CalMatters analysis of public school closures. From massive wildfires to mass shooting threats to dilapidated classrooms, the 21st century is disrupting class at a level that is unprecedented for California’s 6.2 million students. Last year, the state’s public schools closed their doors and sent kids home in what appear to be record numbers, mainly as a result of sweeping natural disasters. It was the third significant spike in four years. (Cano, 9/16)
What Wildfire Did To One California Town's Schools In Four Years
Catherine Stone pulled into a packed parking lot at Middletown High School on the hot and excessively windy Saturday of September 12, 2015. A small but fast-growing fire had erupted hours earlier, a dozen miles away on Cobb Mountain. First responders needed an evacuation center and wanted to use Middletown High. Just two months on the job in the small Northern California district between Clearlake and Calistoga, the new superintendent of Middletown Unified struggled against gusting wind to open the door of her office. Inside at her window, Stone called the Red Cross and peeked outside. (Cano, 9/16)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Surge Of Critical Injuries On SF’s Streets Mirrors Spike In Fatalities
As San Francisco reels from a recent string of traffic fatalities, new city data points to another vexing trend: a surge in the number of pedestrians gravely injured by cars. Fifty-five pedestrians were critically hurt in crashes last year, according to the Department of Public Health. (Swan, 9/16)
Los Angeles Times:
About 1 In 16 U.S. Women Say They Were Forced Or Coerced Into Losing Their Virginity
Almost 7% of women surveyed said their first sexual intercourse experience was involuntary. It occurred when they were 15 years old, on average, and the man was often several years older. Almost half of the women who said intercourse was involuntary said they were held down, and slightly more than half of them said they were verbally pressured to have sex against their will. (Tanner, 9/16)
Capital Public Radio:
California Sex Trafficking Study Invests $1.5 Million To Focus On Stockton Boulevard In South Sacramento
California officials say there's a lack of reliable data on sex trafficking. To fix that, they’re planning to study an area not far from the state Capitol: Stockton Boulevard in south Sacramento. ...Guerra, who along with state Sen. Richard Pan, helped secure $1.5 million for Sacramento County to study the problem of sex solicitation and find solutions to curb it. (White, 9/16)
Capital Public Radio:
Sacramento Fined Homeowners $94 Million For Illegal Cannabis Grows — But Many Claim They’re Innocent
Sacramento only issues fines against property owners, not the tenants suspected of growing the cannabis. Defense attorneys argue the city targets landlords so it can go after their assets — including their home — if a fine is challenged or goes unpaid. The citation itself warns that a lien may be placed on the property if the fines go unpaid. (Rodd, 9/16)
Couple Accused Of Stealing Secrets From U.S. Hospital For Chinese Biotech
Federal prosecutors have charged a San Diego couple with stealing trade secrets from an American children’s hospital, only then to allegedly use the information to market their Chinese biotechnology company. Yu Zhou, 49, and his wife, Li Chen, 46, worked for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, until just under two years ago, prosecutors said Monday. The couple worked at the hospital in separate research labs for a decade, and founded a biotech company in China in 2015 that relied on many of the same technological and scientific advances. (Facher, 9/16)
House Panel Investigating Private Equity Firms' Role In Surprise Medical Billing
The bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are launching an investigation into what role private equity firms may play in the problem of patients getting stuck with massive “surprise” medical bills. Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Greg Walden (Ore.), the panel’s chairman and top Republican, respectively, sent letters on Monday to three private equity firms that own physician staffing companies. (Sullivan, 9/16)
Trump Spurns Dems On Universal Background Checks
President Donald Trump will not consider the House-passed universal background checks bill as part of his proposed gun package, according to a source familiar with the conversation on guns. Trump’s position on the House-passed bill is not exactly a surprise. The White House issued a veto threat against the bill in February. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have called on Trump repeatedly to bring up the House-passed universal background checks bill. (Levine, 9/16)
The Associated Press:
Can Purdue Pharma’s Opioid Settlement Win Judge’s Approval?
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has embarked on a multibillion-dollar plan to settle thousands of lawsuits over the nation’s deadly opioid crisis by transforming itself in bankruptcy court into a sort of hybrid between a business and a charity. Whether the company can pull it off remains to be seen, especially with about half the states opposed to the deal. (Mulvihill and Leblanc, 9/16)
The New York Times:
Would A Purdue Bankruptcy Protect The Sacklers? Good Question.
Will the Purdue bankruptcy also shield the Sacklers from litigation? That’s the mega-billion-dollar question. The answer is not clear. Purdue will ask for a halt to lawsuits against so-called related parties — an obvious reference to individual Sacklers who have been sued in a growing number of cases because of their past roles with Purdue. (Hoffman, 9/16)
Opioid Plaintiffs Fight Bid To Disqualify U.S. Judge Before Trial
Lawyers for cities and counties suing drug companies over the opioid epidemic on Monday objected to a bid by pharmaceutical distributors and pharmacies to disqualify the federal judge overseeing the cases, saying it had no basis and came too late. The plaintiffs' lawyers moved swiftly to fight the request companies including AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp had made on Saturday for U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland, Ohio, to step aside from the litigation. (9/16)
How AARP Became The Drug Industry's Biggest Opponent In Washington
As beachgoers soaked up the sun on a balmy August day in Ocean City, Md., single-engine planes circled above trailing banners hawking seafood deals, happy hour specials, and in one case, a plea: “CUT DRUG PRICES NOW,” the sprawling streamer begged in block letters. Some 450 miles away in Charlotte, N.C., an ominous TV ad proclaimed: “The big drug companies have been price gouging us for years.” A similar message boomed during commercial breaks in Phoenix, Louisville, Ky., and Bangor, Maine, too. (Florko, 9/17)
Millions Of Americans’ Medical Images And Data Are Available On The Internet. Anyone Can Take A Peek.
Medical images and health data belonging to millions of Americans, including X-rays, MRIs and CT scans, are sitting unprotected on the internet and available to anyone with basic computer expertise. The records cover more than 5 million patients in the U.S. and millions more around the world. In some cases, a snoop could use free software programs — or just a typical web browser — to view the images and private data, an investigation by ProPublica and the German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk found. (Gillum, Kao and Larson, 9/17)
The Associated Press:
Legal Challenge Filed To Public Charge Rule
An organization advocating for low-wage immigrants has filed a legal challenge to a Trump administration rule that may deny green cards to immigrants who use public services. Georgetown Law school's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and CASA filed a legal challenge in U.S. federal court Monday. Lawyers say changes to the so-called "public charge" rule violate due process under the U.S. Constitution. (9/16)
The New York Times:
A Shadowy Industry Group Shapes Food Policy Around The World
When the Indian government bowed to powerful food companies last year and postponed its decision to put red warning labels on unhealthy packaged food, officials also sought to placate critics of the delay by creating an expert panel to review the proposed labeling system, which would have gone far beyond what other countries have done in the battle to combat soaring obesity rates. But the man chosen to head the three-person committee, Dr. Boindala Sesikeran, a veteran nutritionist and former adviser to Nestle, only further enraged health advocates. (Jacobs, 9/16)