- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- Gaps In Care Persist During Transition From Hospital To Home
- Tossing Unused Surgical Supplies Wastes Millions Of Dollars, Study Finds
- What Happens When A Living Kidney Donor Needs A Transplant?
- Around California 2
- Pilot Program Helps Aging Patients Retain Independence Through House Calls
- Striving To End Vietnamese Community's Hesitancy Toward Mental Health Care
- Public Health and Education 3
- Even Though Spotlight Is On Zika, West Nile Poses Bigger Threat To Californians
- Fake Babies Intended To Reduce Teen Pregnancies Backfire, Study Finds
- Cells From Umbilical Cords Offer Hope For Cancer Patients With Rare Blood
Latest From California Healthline:
A partnership between San Diego County and four health systems seeks to bridge the longstanding gap between hospitals and social services. (Anna Gorman, 9/6)
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco estimate that hospitals could lose nearly $1,000 per surgery by throwing away opened but unused supplies, such as gloves and sponges. (Ana B. Ibarra, 9/6)
A new study examines how well efforts are working that prioritize the needs of these patients if they end up needing a kidney transplant of their own. (Zhai Yun Tan, 9/6)
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Summaries Of The News:
Parents are deciding whether the prices are worth the peace of mind, or if boycotting the drug will make the company change its tune.
The Orange County Register:
How Much Is Too Much To Spend For Life-Saving Medicines?
The furor over EpiPens, which deliver an injection of epinephrine to open constrained airways, is the latest example of backlash over expensive drugs sold by companies with a monopoly on their product. Rising drug prices, particularly those of specialty drugs to treat cancer or hepatitis C, have been blamed for everything from a double-digit premium hike for California’s 2017 Obamacare policies to straining the state’s Medi-Cal budget for low-income residents. (Perkes, 9/5)
Meanwhile, supporters of the ballot measure to curb high drug prices are seizing the opportunity to push their cause —
Bay Area News Group:
California's Prop. 61 Seeks To Lower Drug Prices, Increase Transparency
Counting on the growing public outrage over the soaring costs of prescription drugs -- and bolstered by the recent fury generated by huge price hikes for lifesaving EpiPens -- Proposition 61 proponents are gearing up for one of the most highly anticipated ballot measure showdowns this election season. (Seipel, 9/5)
By dispatching workers to the seniors' homes, they can catch problems before they begin and save the health system millions in ER and hospital visits, advocates say.
Center for Health Reporting/Orange County Register:
Garden Grove Nurses' House Calls Program Helps Seniors Prolong Independence
[Kelly] Baik is part of a team at the Acacia Adult Day Services center that is testing whether old-fashioned home visits may be the key to prolonging seniors’ independence. If programs such as Acacia’s prove themselves, the resulting delays in admissions to institutions could save Medicare and Medicaid billions of dollars nationwide. (Whaley, 9/3)
In other news from across the state —
The Orange County Register:
Hundreds Attend San Clemente Meeting On Options To Regulate Sober Living Homes
Thursday’s panel included State Sen. Pat Bates, R-Laguna Niguel; Assemblyman Bill Brough, R-Dana Point; San Clemente Councilman Tim Brown; legal representatives and sober living home operators from Santa Ana and San Diego County. Issa said he will introduce his bill to the House next week. It would prohibit overall caps on the number of sober homes in a city and require a sober home, its owner and operator to obtain a license or permit to operate, meet a set of consumer protection standards and register with the government. (Ritchie, 9/2)
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Connected Health: Helping Consumers Take Charge
How can the health-care industry create incentives and provide technology to get more Americans to live healthier lifestyles? That was the key question at the Connected Health Summit this week in San Diego, organized by Dallas-based industry research firm Parks Associates. Getting consumers more engaged in their health is considered a key strategy to cutting health-care costs, according to Park Associates. Its research found that only 23 percent of U.S. consumers are actively engaged in living a healthy lifestyle. (Freeman, 9/2)
The aversion in the community is so strong that the Vietnamese Community of Orange County’s clinic doesn’t advertise its mental health program by that name.
The Orange County Register:
In Vietnamese American Community, The Stigma Of Mental Illness Runs Deep
[Lanie] Tran is just one example of how mental health stigma devastates Vietnamese American families, a majority of whom have been affected by the multiple traumas wrought by war – imprisonment, torture in concentration camps – uprooting their families, fleeing by boat as they fended off pirates and braved turbulent seas, and eventually reestablishing their lives in a different country. This expatriate community’s refugee experience and their long process of acculturation play an important role when it comes to mental health issues and the stigma surrounding them, said Kim Xuyen Ngo, a clinician and counselor with the Vietnamese Community of Orange County. (Bharath, 9/2)
Experts expect the total cases to outpace last year, which saw 783 reported in California.
Freaking Out About Zika? West Nile Is The Real Killer
While the recent arrival in the U.S. of the Zika virus is getting most of the attention, public health experts consider West Nile to be a much more potent threat in California than Zika will ever be. Through Sept. 1, the state has tallied 78 human West Nile cases in California this year – including a pair of deaths in Sacramento and Yolo counties. But it takes weeks for reporting and verification of West Nile cases to make it through the system. (Cockerham, 9/5)
The virtual infant parenting program "exaggerates the positives and diminishes the negatives" of caring for an infant, writes Julie Quinlivan of the Institute for Health Research at the University of Notre Dame Australia.
Los Angeles Times:
Robotic Babies Intended To Reduce Teen Pregnancies May Have Had The Opposite Effect
In some parts of the world, schools have kicked it up a notch by giving teenagers robotic babies to take care of for an entire weekend. It's the high-tech version of babysitting an egg for the weekend. Either way, the exercise is meant to emphasize how all-consuming it is to care for an infant — and hopefully motivate students to do everything in their power to make sure they don’t become teen parents.Ironically, the lifelike baby dolls may do just the opposite by glamorizing the life of a teen mom. (Roy, 9/3)
The blood cells don't need to be a perfect match, so a patient who may have previously died waiting for a donor now has a much higher chance of survival.
The Washington Post:
There’s New Hope For Blood Cancers, And It Comes From Umbilical Cords
Jessie Quinn of Sacramento was 36 years old when loss of appetite, weight loss, some eye issues and finally pelvic pain sent her to the emergency room in 2010. Tests quickly revealed she had acute myeloid leukemia — a type of blood cancer that progresses quickly — and doctors told her that chemotherapy would probably not be enough; she would need a bone-marrow transplant. Quinn, who has a science background, knew that finding a donor would be difficult. In college, she had donated to a bone-marrow registry after learning that people like her, with a mixed racial heritage, have a much harder time than others finding a match. (Berger, 9/5)
But some see the language in the proposal as meant to reassure the pharmaceutical industry.
Clinton Offers Plan To Curb 'Unjustified' Price Hikes On Life-Saving Drugs
Hillary Clinton said on Friday that if elected to the White House she would create an oversight panel to protect U.S. consumers from large price hikes on long-available, lifesaving drugs and to import alternative treatments if necessary, adding to her pledges to rein in overall drug prices. Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, would seek to give the panel an "aggressive new set of enforcement tools," including the ability to levy fines and impose penalties on manufacturers when there has been an "unjustified, outlier price increase" on a long-available or generic drug, her campaign said. (Becker and Pierson, 9/2)
The Associated Press:
Progress Slows On Uninsured As Health Law Blame Game Goes On
Progress in reducing the number of people without health insurance in the U.S. appears to be losing momentum this year even as rising premiums and dwindling choice are reviving the political blame game over President Barack Obama's health care law. The future of the Affordable Care Act hinges on the outcome of the presidential election, and it's shaping up as a moment of truth for Republicans. (9/6)
Another Reason Hospitals Hate Medicare's Site-Neutral Payment Plans
The rule, proposed in July, would eliminate Medicare payments to hospitals for most services provided at off-campus departments that came into operation after Nov. 2, 2015. Instead, the payments would flow to physicians starting on Jan. 1, 2017, making it difficult for health systems to recoup capital or operational costs for the facilities, even though they are responsible for continuing to equip and maintain the off-campus offices. (Teichert, 9/5)
FDA Bans Triclosan And 18 Other Chemicals From Soaps
Consumers don't need to use antibacterial soaps, and some of them may even be dangerous, the Food and Drug Administration says. On Friday, the FDA issued a rule banning the use of triclosan, triclocarban and 17 other chemicals in hand and body washes, which are marketed as being more effective than simple soap. Companies have a year to take these ingredients out of their products or remove the products from the market, the agency said. (Kodjak, 9/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Risky Health Behaviors Don’t Necessarily Stop With A Cancer Diagnosis
A cancer diagnosis doesn’t automatically lead to an overhaul of unhealthy habits, says a study in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship. People who had survived various cancers had similar rates of physical inactivity, unhealthy eating habits and other risky health behaviors as people not diagnosed with cancer, the study found. Some habits, such as smoking, were more prevalent among survivors, particularly women. (Lukits, 9/5)
Bariatric Surgery Can Help With Long-Term Weight Loss
Researchers with the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Carolina recently tracked the progress of 1,787 veterans who underwent gastric bypass surgery. They found that one year after surgery patients lost 98 pounds on average. Ten years later they gained back only about 7 pounds. Earlier studies have tracked gastric bypass patients for relatively short periods of time, about 1 to 3 years. That has led to the assumption that most people who have gastric bypass surgery will eventually regain the weight. (Neighmond, 9/5)