Latest From California Healthline:
An eye-opening study of demographics and income finds that the costs of assisted-living care will soon be out of reach for people on fixed incomes — and their children. (Victoria Knight, 4/24)
Good morning! In Sacramento there’s movement on medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse as well as use of force legislation. More on that below. But first, here are some of your other top California health stories.
California’s Jail System Just Saw Its Deadliest Year In At Least Two Decades Despite Reform Efforts: The problem is particularly acute in places like Fresno, Kern and Merced counties, which saw an uptick in violence following a Supreme Court order in 2011 for the state to reduce its prison population. That’s when California officials approved sweeping reforms called “realignment,” shifting responsibility for thousands of offenders from state prisons to county jails. In the past seven years, some counties took advantage of the billions of dollars attached to California’s realignment efforts to address overcrowding. Others, the investigation shows, have viewed the changes as a burden. Only one Fresno County inmate killed another in the seven years before realignment. Since then, four have died at the hands of other inmates. And state data shows Fresno County recorded far more inmate deaths, and particularly violent deaths, than some larger California jails. Don Specter, director of the Berkeley, California-based nonprofit Prison Law Office, whose litigation against the state’s prisons spurred the realignment effort, called conditions in most county jails “a mess.” Read more from The Sacramento Bee and ProPublica.
Cramped Dorm Rooms, Crowded College Classrooms Are Fertile Breeding Ground For Measles, Officials Warn: As the measles outbreak continues to spread into one of the worst seen in this century, Los Angeles public health officials are turning their attention to colleges next. Along with the perfect breeding conditions at universities, young adults in California are less likely to be vaccinated than other age groups, experts say. People who are now in their early 20s are part of what’s known as the “Wakefield generation,” because they were infants in 1998 when British scientist Andrew Wakefield published a now discredited paper claiming that vaccines cause autism. Scared of the side effects of vaccination, many parents chose to opt out. Although now California has some of the strictest vaccination laws in the country, the college-age students grew up before the rules were enacted. Read more from the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee.
Small, Rural California Hospital Goes On The Hunt For Suitors: Mendocino Coast District Hospital is asking big health systems if they’d be interested in buying the small, standalone hospital. Like many small, rural hospitals, Mendocino Coast gets most of its revenue from Medicare and Medi-Cal, but those two government programs don’t pay enough to cover the total cost of providing care, and it does not receive enough revenue from commercial insurers to make up the gap said Wayne Allen, the interim chief executive officer at the hospital. Nationwide, seven rural hospitals have closed this year and 104 have been shuttered since 2010. Read more from the Sacramento Bee.
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. And have a healthy weekend.
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More News From Across The State
Senate Bill 11 Requires Health Insurers To Cover Medication-Assisted Treatment
Substance abuse disorders impact the hospitality industry more than any other. In fact, according to a 2015 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, we rank first for illicit drug use and third for heavy alcohol use. This will surprise no one who works in restaurants. In my many years in the industry, I’ve seen colleagues tragically succumb to addiction and drug abuse, leaving behind family members, loved ones and children. (Mulvaney, 4/24)
Capital Public Radio:
How Are Efforts To Stop Gun Violence Efforts Doing In Sacramento?
In the summer 2017 Sacramento became the first U.S. city to partner with Advance Peace, a Richmond-based organization committed to ending the cycle of urban gun violence. The East Bay city where the program was founded saw a 57 percent decline in gang-related gun killings from 2010 to 2016. (Ruyak, 4/23)
Capital Public Radio:
California Senate Committee Advances Law Enforcement-Backed Use Of Force Bill — But Links It To Its Rival
If a police use-of-force bill backed by California law enforcement groups is to pass this year, its fate is now tied to a rival bill that would reform when officers can use deadly force. The law enforcement-backed bill, SB 230 by Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), originally sought to improve police training while not changing the state’s current legal standard for lethal force. (Adler, 4/23)
Capital Public Radio:
There’s A Buzz In The Air: Mosquito Awareness Week Reminds Californians To Take Precautions Against West Nile Virus
As temperatures climb, so does the mosquito population. This week is Mosquito Awareness Week in California, which reminds residents to take precautions to avoid bites. Aaron Devencenzi with the San Joaquin Mosquito Control District says the main concern is the spread of West Nile virus. (Ibarra, 4/23)
Judge's Ruling Enlarges Jail Inmates' Sleep Schedule
A U.S. district court judge’s supplemental order to a ruling means Alameda County jail inmates can count on fewer scheduled interruptions to sleep. Judge James Donato’s ruling Monday granted a preliminary injunction sought by a group of female inmates who filed a civil-rights class-action suit Dec. 31, 2018. The suit alleged county jail policies and practices that included a 2:30 a.m. “pill check” to administer medications and a 4 a.m. breakfast led to sleep deprivation that damaged their health and well-being and impaired preparations for pre-trial legal defenses. (Kelly, 4/23)
Ventura County Star:
Divide Between Clinicas, Gold Coast Appears To Grow
A Medi-Cal plan’s governing board rejected a counterproposal over a long-sought partnership in a contentious meeting Monday that appeared to push the Gold Coast Health Plan and Clinicas del Camino Real even further apart. Gold Coast, which administers Medi-Cal health insurance in Ventura County, and the AmericasHealth Plan HMO created by the Clinicas health system have been negotiating for several years on a plan-to-plan agreement. Under it, the for-profit HMO would contract with publicly funded Gold Coast to serve as insurer for Medi-Cal members being served in the Clinicas system of health centers. The HMO would assume the financial risk and reward. (Kisken, 4/23)
The Desert Sun:
Trump Signs Medicaid Bill To Fund For Key Programs
On April 18, as the nation pored over the Mueller report, President Donald Trump quietly signed Rep. Raul Ruiz’s Medicaid reform bill into law. H.R. 1839, the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act, is the first bill signed that lists Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, as the primary author. During his first three terms, while Republicans controlled the House, Democrats faced difficulty passing legislation and Ruiz attributed his bill’s success partially to his party's retaking of House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. (Metz, 4/23)
Grant Helps Turlock CA Shelters With Post-Hospital Care
A $500,000 grant from Emanuel Medical Center is helping with post-hospital care for people at Turlock’s homeless shelters. The program so far has aided about 40 patients discharged from Emanuel to the Turlock Gospel Mission and We Care shelters. (Holland, 4/23)
5 Names To Know At Apple: The People Leading Its Health Care Push
Then there’s the talent that Apple is amassing. Over the past few years, the company has built out a formidable roster of physicians and medical researchers. A spokesperson for Apple wouldn’t say how many of the company’s roughly 130,000 employees are tasked with working on health — or provide much detail about the roles of the people leading its health push. But here are five of them whose work you should keep an eye on. (Robbins, 4/24)
U.S. Federal Judge To Block Trump's New Abortion Rule: Media, Activists
A federal judge in the U.S. state of Oregon will block a move by the Trump administration to cut off federal money to family planning clinics that offer abortion or refer women to abortion providers, activists and media reports said late on Tuesday. President Donald Trump's new Title X rule, set to take effect in May, would halt government funds for Planned Parenthood clinics that subsidize birth control for low-income women, and other clinics that provide abortions. (4/24)
The New York Times:
For First Time, Pharmaceutical Distributor Faces Federal Criminal Charges Over Opioid Crisis
Law enforcement officials have long tried to stem the opioid crisis in America with criminal charges for street dealers and cartel kingpins who traffic in drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone. Now, for the first time, federal authorities are bringing the same kind of felony drug-trafficking charges against a major pharmaceutical distributor and two of its former executives for their role in fanning the crisis. Prosecutors said the former executives at the company, Rochester Drug Cooperative, ignored red flags and shipped tens of millions of oxycodone pills and fentanyl products to pharmacies they knew were distributing drugs illegally. Their sales soared, as did the compensation of the chief executive. (Rashbaum, 4/23)
The New York Times:
Walgreens Raises Tobacco-Buying Age To 21, Strengthening A Consensus
The drugstore chain Walgreens will stop selling tobacco products to customers under 21, the company announced on Tuesday. The decision came weeks after the Food and Drug Administration accused the company of repeatedly selling tobacco products to minors — and amid similar moves by competitors and lawmakers around the country to curb teenage vaping. (Zraick and Rueb, 4/23)
The Washington Post:
Medicare Proposes Higher Payments For Innovative Cancer Treatment
Medicare officials on Tuesday proposed increasing reimbursements for a groundbreaking but costly cancer therapy used for patients whose blood cancers don’t respond to other treatments. Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the proposed changes are necessary because “Medicare’s antiquated payment systems” have not kept up with the development of “transformative technologies.” She said she is concerned inadequate payments might be prompting hospitals to limit Medicare patients’ access to needed therapies. (McGinley, 4/23)
House Dems To Hold Hearing On 'Medicare For All' Next Week
The House Rules Committee will hold a hearing on "Medicare for All" legislation next week, a step forward for the legislation that is gaining ground in the progressive wing of the party. The hearing on Tuesday will examine a bill from Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) that has over 100 co-sponsors in the House. (Sullivan, 4/23)
Dem Primary Voters Rank Health Care As Top Issue
Health care issues are most important to likely Democratic primary voters, according to a new poll. Twenty-five percent of the voters surveyed in the Morning Consult poll say health care issues are most important, closely followed by 22 percent who chose economic issues. Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., are more likely to say health care issues are most important to them than backers of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), pollsters found. (Hellmann, 4/23)