- California Healthline Original Stories 1
- New Law Aims To Regulate For-Profit Human Breast Milk Banks
- Sacramento Watch 2
- Stiffer Penalties For Fentanyl Crimes Unanimously Backed By State Senate Committee
- Lawmaker Targets Dangerous Health Practices In Modeling Industry
- Public Health and Education 1
- Social Service Workers Warn Of Public Health Crisis Due To Alzheimer's, Dementia
- Around California 1
- Ventura Board Votes To Name Suicide Crisis Center After Mental Health Leader In 'Fitting' Tribute
Latest From California Healthline:
A bill to be heard Wednesday in a Senate committee pits for-profit human breast milk banks against advocates who fear that paying cash to lactating mothers could induce them to deprive their own babies. (Brian Rinker, 4/6)
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More News From Across The State
As the number of overdoses rises, SB 1323 could add up to 25 years to a sentence for those selling or transporting fentanyl. In other drug epidemic news, lawmakers consider supervised facilities for heroin users.
The Sacramento Bee:
California Senate Panel Backs Stiffer Sentencing For Fentanyl
With Sacramento’s fentanyl-related overdoses at center stage, a state Senate committee unanimously approved the first step in stiffening penalties for major drug traffickers in California who sell large amounts of the potentially lethal painkiller. (Buck, 4/5)
The Associated Press:
California Lawmaker Wants To Allow Supervised Heroin Use
A lawmaker wants to allow California addicts to use heroin, crack and other drugs at supervised facilities to cut down on overdoses, joining several U.S. cities considering establishing the nation's first legal drug-injection sites. The proposal introduced Tuesday comes as San Francisco, Seattle, New York City and Ithaca, New York, weigh ordinances to set up the facilities, citing the success of a site operating in Canada since 2003. (Noon, 4/5)
Marc Levine, a Marin County Democrat, believes his bill creating health standards and workplace protections for models is the first in the country, though there have been similar laws passed in Europe.
The San Jose Mercury News:
California Lawmaker's Bill Would Create Health Standards For Fashion Models
Some models say they've been told to eat only one rice cake per day to avoid gaining any weight. Others say they swallow Kleenex tissues -- or cotton balls soaked in orange juice -- to fill their stomachs and stop their hunger pains. ... These and other grim accounts are behind one Bay Area legislator's effort to create health standards and workplace protections for professional models who, he says, face widespread and dangerous occupational demands to maintain extreme thinness. (Seipel, 4/5)
Cybersecurity experts say hospitals are particularly vulnerable because of aging equipment, nonstop schedules and high-volume communication needs. In other information technology news, researchers develop a Twitter-based smoking cessation program and Yelp reviewers offer broader hospital reviews than the government's standard survey.
The Sacramento Bee:
California Hospital Hacks Reveal Weak Links In Health Cybersecurity
For 10 days in February, the staff at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center had to treat patients the old fashioned way with pen-and-paper forms, faxes and hand-delivered X-rays. Gone were many of the data-reliant, high-tech tools that have transformed medical care, according to local media reports. The Los Angeles hospital had fallen victim to a ransomware attack – increasingly common network break-ins that encrypt all information in their path. When hospital computer systems freeze, the hackers offer to reverse the encryption in exchange for cash. (Caiola, 4/5)
Can Social Media Help You Quit Smoking?
You use Facebook to stay in touch with old friends from high school. You use Instagram to share pictures of your breakfast. But can you use Twitter to quit smoking? Researchers from several California universities developed a Twitter-based smoking cessation program called Tweet2Quit and then tested it. (Plevin, 4/6)
The Washington Post:
What Yelp Can Tell You About A Hospital That Official Ratings Can’t
If you've ever taken the time to give Yelp your two cents about a hospital, you'll be happy to know that someone's listening and that they've deemed the crowdsourced information not only useful — but unique. In what is believed to be the first large-scale analysis of such data, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania looked at 17,000 Yelp reviews of 1,352 hospitals from consumers. They found that the online information provides a broader sense of a facility than the current gold standard — a U.S. government survey that costs millions of dollars to develop and implement each year. (Cha, 4/5)
David Daleiden says the investigators took all of his video footage and other personal information. State Attorney General Kamala Harris could not comment on an ongoing investigation, but had previously announced that she would look into whether Daleiden broke any laws with his sting operation, which has also led to an indictment in Texas. Meanwhile, the National Abortion Federation has attributed a surge in violence and threats directed at abortion clinics to the videos.
The Associated Press:
Planned Parenthood Videos Bring Raid, Abortion Activist Says
An anti-abortion activist who made undercover videos at Planned Parenthood clinics said in a social media posting that California Department of Justice agents raided his home Tuesday. Agents seized all video footage from his apartment, along with his personal information, David Daleiden said in a Facebook post. Daleiden, the founder of a group called the Center for Medical Progress, said agents left behind documents that he contends implicate Planned Parenthood in illegal behavior related to the handling of fetal tissue. (4/5)
Investigators Search Home Of Man Behind Planned Parenthood Sting Videos
California investigators on Tuesday evening searched the apartment of David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist behind the series of sting videos released last summer showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing fees for fetal tissue and organs. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said last summer that she would investigate whether Daleiden broke laws in the course of his sting operation, which spurred a huge political battle over Planned Parenthood's federal funding. Daleiden filmed part of his project in Planned Parenthood clinics in California. (Haberkorn, 4/5)
Los Angeles Times:
State Attorney General Seizes Videos Behind Planned Parenthood Sting
Daleiden characterized Tuesday's search as "an attack on citizen journalism." "This is no surprise -- Planned Parenthood's bought-and-paid-for AG has steadfastly refused to enforce the laws against the baby body parts traffickers in our state, or even investigate them," he said. A spokeswoman for the attorney general said the office cannot comment on the ongoing case. A federal judge has rejected Daleiden's journalistic claims, noting that the activist and his team used fraudulent tactics, including false identities, and selectively edited the material they captured on tiny cameras disguised as shirt buttons and hidden in water bottles, despite state laws prohibiting secret recording. (St. John, 4/5)
The Associated Press:
Increase In Threats Reported At US Abortion Clinics
Threats and violence directed at U.S. abortion clinics increased sharply in 2015, according to the National Abortion Federation, which attributed the surge to the release of undercover videos intended to discredit Planned Parenthood. "In my more than 20 years with NAF, I have not seen such an escalation of hate speech, threats and calls to action against abortion providers," said Vicki Saporta, the federation's CEO. (4/5)
Analog insulin, a man-made version, is faster-acting than human insulin, and considered more convenient to use, but it is also putting a higher price tag on care for diabetics.
Concern Over The Rising Cost Of Insulin
The average price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013, according to a research letter published today in JAMA, and that has led to higher costs for diabetics. Meanwhile, the cost of noninsulin therapies has trended downward, the researchers found. (Plevin, 4/5)
Insulin Prices Have Skyrocketed, Putting Drug Makers On The Defensive
Here’s a sticking point for diabetics: the cost of insulin more than tripled — from $231 to $736 a year per patient — between 2002 and 2013, according to a new analysis. The increase reflected rising prices for a milliliter of insulin, which climbed 197 percent from $4.34 per to $12.92 during the same period. Meanwhile, the amount of money spent by each patient on other diabetes medications fell 16 percent, to $502 from $600, according to a research letter published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Silverman, 4/5)
The University of Virginia survey found there's an implicit racial bias in how students and medical professionals treat pain.
False Beliefs About Blacks’ Biology May Lead Doctors To Underprescribe For Pain
Despite what that uncle of yours may opine every time you get stuck next to him at Thanksgiving, there is a fair amount of evidence that racism still exists in the United States. For example, we know about racial disparities in policing, unemployment, housing wealth, temp hiring, home loans, pay, the Oscars , and of course, health care. (Brooks, 4/5)
Los Angeles Times:
Does A White Doctor Understand A Black Patient's Pain?
A new study reveals that in a group of 222 white medical students, half judged as possibly, probably or definitely true at least one of 11 false beliefs about racial differences. And that is not without potential consequences for the patients these medical students may one day treat, the new research suggests. (Healy, 4/4)
Is There A Racial ‘Care Gap’ In Medical Treatment?
A new study finds African-American patients are often treated differently when it comes to medicine and care. The survey of more than 500 people, 400 of them medical students, found implicit bias exists that may help explain why black people are sometimes undertreated for pain. Among its findings: Medical students believed that African-Americans felt less pain than white patients, and even thought their skin was thicker. (Ifill, 4/5)
While Tenet's lease extends through June 2027, interested parties are in the early stages of determining who will run the Palm Springs hospital next.
The Desert Sun:
Tenet Looks To Extend Lease On Palm Springs Hospital
In 1996, with Desert Hospital in Palm Springs losing $5 million a year, its overseers went searching for a lifeline. They grabbed one offered by Tenet Healthcare, the corporation that remains one of the country's largest hospital chains. Hospital and Tenet officials inked a 30-year deal allowing the company to lease and operate the hospital in exchange for up-front rent that more than covered the hospital's debts. (Newkirk, 4/5)
Sonoma County is grappling with the issue as more than one in 10 residents older than 65 have Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Meanwhile, KPCC reports on the debate over BPA product warnings.
The Press Democrat:
Toll Of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia Growing In Sonoma County
Rising rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are becoming a public health crisis that needs immediate attention and much more community and government planning, local health and social service officials warn. (Espinoza, 4/5)
Why You Won't See BPA Warnings On Cans — But You'll Find Them At Cash Registers
Health warnings about Bisphenol A - BPA - in food and drink containers were slated to go on product labels or store shelves in California next month, but the state agency in charge of the process says it needs more time to figure out which products containing the chemical need that type of warning. (Aguilera, 4/5)
Children who are at risk of suicide will be able to receive intensive therapy in the center that's scheduled to open in August. It will be named after David Holmboe, a leading voice on mental health in the community.
The Ventura County Star:
Crisis Center To Be Named For Mental Health Leader David Holmboe
A new center to stabilize suicidal children has been named for David Holmboe, a mental health leader and retired educator who died last year. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday to name the center for Holmboe after praising him for his contributions to mental health care. The board OK'd the designation in a unanimous vote, as is required under board-adopted rules for naming a county facility after an individual. (Wilson, 4/5)
In other news from around the state —
The Desert Sun:
Free Health Clinic In Indio This Weekend
A free clinic offering medical, dental and vision checks will return to the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio this weekend, Friday through Sunday. The nonprofit California CareForce expects 900 people to take advantage of the clinic each day. Starting at 5 a.m., people waiting in line will received numbered tickets. They will be let into the clinic starting at 6 a.m. Only one ticket will be issued per person in line. (Newkirk, 4/5)
The Renegade Rip:
BC To Start One Of The First Public Health Pathways
Starting in fall of 2016, Bakersfield College will begin implementing one of the first Public Health Services pathways for a community college in the state. The goal will be to give students with an interest in the health field more career options. According to Public Health faculty member Sarah Baron, when most people think about going into the medical field, they only consider being a doctor or nurse. (Lievanos, 4/5)
By one estimate, more than half of U.S. adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment.
Los Angeles Times:
Despite Bipartisan Support, Mental Health Reform Bill Could Be Derailed
Mental health advocates are pressing Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill not to abandon a push to modernize the nation's ailing mental health system amid rising partisan tensions over President Obama's Supreme Court pick. The effort has picked up crucial bipartisan support in the Senate and galvanized dozens of groups representing patients, physicians and state and local leaders. The Obama administration has also backed calls for reform, proposing more than $500 million in new federal spending to expand mental health services nationwide. But election-year politics and uncertainty over funding are fueling concerns that years of collaborative work by lawmakers from both parties may not bear fruit. (Levey, 4/6)
The decision is a win for the Obama administration, which on Monday introduced the initiatives in an effort to foil companies' plans to shed their U.S. corporate citizenship for a lower tax bill.