- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- Can Drug Price Transparency Keep Costs Down?
- Doctors Need A New Skill Set For This Opioid Abuse Treatment
- Refugees’ Needs in U.S. Change As World’s Conflicts Shift
Latest From California Healthline:
California is among a number of states considering new laws to control the rising cost of prescription medications. (Pauline Bartolone, )
Practicing surgery on a piece of pork — that's how some doctors are learning to implant a new drug that curbs opioid cravings. It's not a skill set typically used in addiction medicine. (Karen Shakerdge, Side Effects Public Media, )
Syrian and Iraqi refugees arrive with decidedly different medical and mental health needs than other waves of refugees. (Sarah Varney, )
More News From Across The State
California is among the states that have high-profile health care measures on their ballots this November that pivot the discussion toward issues other than Obamacare.
The Associated Press:
Beyond 'Obamacare': State Initiatives Refocus Health Debate
Moving beyond "Obamacare," political activists are looking to state ballot questions to refocus the nation's long-running debate over government's role in health care. This fall, California voters will decide whether to lower some prescription drug prices, while Coloradans will vote on a state version of a "single-payer" government-run health system, similar to what Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders proposed in his unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. (8/9)
The judge's decision to allow the cases to proceed could also have wider implications for all device makers.
Essure Court Ruling In California Could Bring More Lawsuits
A California state court has cleared the path for nearly a dozen lawsuits to proceed that alleged that pharmaceutical company Bayer's permanent birth control device, Essure, seriously injured patients. The ruling could have major implications for device manufacturers who, like Bayer, argue that federal regulation of their products means they shouldn't be accountable for injuries. (Whitman, 8/9)
The legislation, which went into effect July 1, removes personal belief as a valid exemption for vaccines.
KQED's State of Health:
California’s New Vaccine Law Expected To Send Disease Rates Plummeting
Mississippi hasn’t had a case of measles since 1992. West Virginia last saw measles – a highly contagious virus that kills an estimated 314 people worldwide every day – in 2009. Now, with California’s new vaccination law rolling out shot by shot, the state joins Mississippi and West Virginia to become the third in the nation to adopt stringent vaccination school entrance requirements. And medical experts say disease rates are likely to fall in California as they have in those states. “It’s a good club to be in,” said Rahul Gupta, state health officer in West Virginia, who was effusive in welcoming California – home to more than eight times the number of children under the age of 18 as Mississippi and West Virginia combined – as a public health leader in school vaccinations, a role that the two Southern states have played for decades. “What we are seeing in West Virginia is a significant decline in vaccine-preventable diseases,” he said. “We expect the same in California.” (Adams, 8/9)
It is a particularly active year for the virus. Last year, 53 people died from it statewide.
Risk For West Nile Virus 'Higher Than Usual' In LA County
The risk of contracting West Nile virus in Los Angeles County is at a five-year high, according to vector control officials. The number of mosquito samples testing positive for the virus in the county is three times the number at this point last year, according to Levy Sun, spokesman for the Greater L.A. County Vector Control District. (Plevin, 8/9)
Elk Grove Could Have Aerial Spraying For West Nile Virus
Elk Grove is the latest community where increased West Nile virus activity has raised the prospect of aerial spraying for mosquitoes. West Nile virus activity is intense and widespread in Sacramento and Yolo counties, and Elk Grove requires close monitoring, officials with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District said Monday. If more virus activity is detected, aerial spraying to control mosquitoes infected with the virus may be necessary, they said. (Locke, 8/8)
Orange County has seen a spike in the number of alcohol and drug addiction treatment facilities in residential neighborhoods, and cities are seeking ways to regulate them.
The Orange County Register:
Laguna Niguel Puts Temporary Ban On Sober-Living Homes
The city of Laguna Niguel has banned new sober-living homes in residential neighborhoods – at least for now. The City Council recently voted to place a 45-day moratorium on the opening of new congregate living facilities that aren’t licensed by the state, while city staff explores ways to regulate them. The temporary ban applies only to residential zones and could be extended up to two years. (Shimura, 8/9)
In other news from across the state —
San Jose: Samaritan Medical Center Applies To Build 5 Buildings And Garage Over Next 20 Years
Samaritan Medical Center has set its 20-year master plan in motion by recently applying for building permits to expand. Five new buildings ranging from 45,000 to 120,000 square feet and approximately 1,500 parking spaces eventually will be added to the campus on Samaritan Drive, next to Good Samaritan Hospital in the Cambrian Park neighborhood. In all, the project would expand the medical center's operation by 475,000 square feet. (Baum, 8/10)
The way Medicare sets payments for new services can make doing the tests lucrative for doctors who invest in the machines.
The Wall Street Journal:
Big Driver Of Medicare Spending: Doctors Doing More Tests In Their Offices
A Wall Street Journal analysis of recently released Medicare billing data showed that four of the top 10 fastest-growing Medicare services from 2012 to 2014 involved new devices. Medicare’s tab for those four services rose by $123.5 million from 2012 to 2014, to $135 million, the data show. In each case, a small cadre of doctors adopted the services much faster than their peers. Less than 10% of doctors accounted for more than half the rise in spending for each service, the Journal found. The Journal studied only services performed throughout that period with at least $5 million in 2014 payments. (Weaver and Jones, 8/9)
Clinton Urges Congress To Reconvene, Pass Zika Bill
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged federal lawmakers currently on summer recess back into session to pass a crucial funding bill to combat the Zika virus as she visited a health clinic at the heart of a local outbreak in Miami on Tuesday. Lawmakers should pass the $1.1 billion bipartisan bill for the mosquito-borne virus, Clinton said, or come up with a new compromise. The funding comes as Florida grapples with at least 21 cases of locally transmitted Zika. (8/9)
The Washington Post:
Americans Are Still Not Worried About Zika, Poll Finds
Zika’s first mosquito-borne transmission in the United States has not sparked alarm for the vast majority of Americans, who do not fear infection by the disease, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Sixty-five percent of Americans say they are “not too” or “not at all" worried about being infected with Zika or about having an immediate family member become infected, which is hardly changed from 67 percent in June. Just over one-third of the public, 35 percent, is at least somewhat worried, though only 12 percent say they are “very worried” about infection. (Guskin and Clement, 8/9)
What Happens To Developmentally Disabled As Parents Age, Die?
As the number of older caregivers grows, and their need for help becomes more dire, a few states have passed laws to give older caregivers a chance to help decide where, and how, the person they care for will live. Tennessee passed a law in 2015 to ensure that anyone with an intellectual disability and a caregiver over 80 got the services they needed, and this year the state expanded the law to those with caretakers over 75. (Fifield, 8/10)
Olympic Athletes Still Use Some Rx Drugs As A Path To 'Legal Doping'
When tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted in March to having taken the heart drug meldonium, the public got a rare glimpse of a common practice that's often called "legal doping." It involves taking a legal prescription drug that may improve performance, but hasn't been banned by anti-doping authorities. And lots of athletes competing in the Rio Olympics will be taking advantage of this loophole, doping experts say. (Hamilton, 8/10)
The Washington Post:
Hypertension Is Now More Common In Poor And Middle-Income Countries Than Rich Ones
Middle- and lower-income countries now have a higher rate of hypertension than high-income countries. Worldwide, the prevalence of hypertension is at a record high, according to a new study in the journal Circulation. From 2000 to 2010, the rate of hypertension in middle- and lower-income countries increased by nearly eight percentage points. For higher-income countries in that same time period, it decreased by nearly three percentage points. (Beachum, 8/9)