- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- Aging And Addicted: The Opioid Epidemic Affects Older Adults, Too
- In Battle Against Ovarian Cancer, A New Focus on Fallopian Tubes
- More Prisoners Die Of Old Age Behind Bars
- Hospital Roundup 1
- Workers Claim Hospital Trying To Keep Employees From Reporting On Dangerous Conditions
- Pharmaceuticals 2
- 'Now We Have Hope': Right-To-Try Law To Go Into Effect At Start Of Year
- In Contra Costa, Drugmakers Must Now Set Up Drop Off Sites For Unwanted Medication
Latest From California Healthline:
Using opioids to treat pain in seniors has been common, and that has led some to dependence disorders in later life. (Jenny Gold, 12/21)
Removing them during already-planned hysterectomies poses little risk and can help prevent a deadly cancer, researchers find. (Jocelyn Wiener, 12/21)
New data show 4,980 inmate deaths in 2014, the most since counting began in 2001. (Melissa Bailey, 12/21)
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Summaries Of The News:
An attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County tells the Los Angeles Times that the organization has heard from more than 200 people this year who believe their Medi-Cal coverage was improperly terminated, but the number could be much higher.
Los Angeles Times:
'I’m Running Out Of Medicine.' Paperwork Backlog Costs Some Their Medi-Cal Coverage
Thaddeus Moncrief has gone for months without three medicines he takes to control his high blood pressure. He also stopped leaving his home in Lancaster because he’s running dangerously low on catheters he uses with his wheelchair. He’s afraid of having an accident in public.“Like yesterday I needed these medical supplies,” said Moncrief, 48. (Karlamangla, 12/20)
A union has filed a complaint against Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.
Los Angeles Times:
Pomona Hospital Workers Say They Were Pressured To Stay Silent About Dirty Conditions
Six workers at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center say management tried to keep them from speaking out about possible patient infections and unsafe working conditions by asking them to sign confidentiality agreements. The hospital had requested interviews with the workers after they spoke to The Times about their fears that patients were being sickened by dirty conditions that management had ignored. (Petersen, 12/20)
In other hospital news —
Los Angeles Times:
Hospital Employees Deliver Gifts To More Than 400 Cerritos Elementary Students
About 400 students who attend Cerritos Elementary School were surprised Tuesday when each of them received a gift, resulting in some shocked looks and cheers. "Each of you is so precious to us," said Cassie McCarty, director of mission integration at Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital. Leading up to the gift delivery, hospital employees, including physicians, board members and staff as well as volunteers, bought a gift for each of the 409 students who attend Cerritos. (Corrigan, 12/20)
Sick Californians will be able to access drugs that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Capital Public Radio/KXJZ:
Right To Try Gives Terminally Options Without FDA Approval
Earlier this year, [Mike] DeBartoli participated in a clinical trial, but it didn't help his condition. Now, he wants to use California’s Right to Try Act. The law allows Californians with a life-threatening disease access to drugs that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Johnson, 12/21)
The companies must also pay the full expense for setting up and operating the sites.
The Mercury News:
Drug Disposal Law Passed By Contra Costa County
Drugmakers will be required to establish drop-off centers to accept unwanted or expired medications, under an ordinance passed Tuesday by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors. The bill requires drug makers to pay the full cost of establishing and operating a network of centers to take unwanted or unused pharmaceuticals. (Cuff, 12/20)
In other news —
Orange County Register:
How Do California Cops Know If You're Too High To Drive?
A month after California voted to approve Proposition 64 and legalize recreational marijuana, law enforcement officials throughout the state are prepping for what many view as the obvious: a jump in the number of people driving under the influence of pot. (Puente, 12/20)
“Defunding Planned Parenthood could cause an increase in cancer deaths, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and HIV," said Cita Walsh, vice president of communications for the Pacific Southwest chapter of Planned Parenthood.
San Diego Area Planned Parenthood Says Loss Of Federal Funds Could Be Devastating
Planned Parenthood is used to threats. But the threatened cutoff of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood from Republicans in Congress has officials at the organization alarmed. Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest operates 12 clinics in San Diego County, five in Riverside County, and one in Imperial County. Collectively, they treated more than 137,000 people last year. The organization is a leading provider of family planning services, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and screenings for breast and cervical cancer. (Goldberg, 12/20)
GreatCall has bought Healthsense, a Minnesota-based company that provides monitoring services that deliver health and safety information for seniors. “This is a natural extension for us,” says Chief Executive David Inns.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
GreatCall Buys Healthsense, Expands Footprint Into Senior Communities
San Diego’s GreatCall, which provides cell phone plans and services for seniors, said Tuesday that it has acquired Healthsense to beef up its connected health services in senior living communities. Chief Executive David Inns declined to disclose the purchase price. Based in Minnesota, Healthsense employs about 40 workers and has raised $44 million in eight rounds of venture capital funding from investors including Merck Global Health Innovation and Radius Ventures. The deal expands GreatCall’s data and analytics capabilities, as well as boosting its footprint in senior living and managed care markets. (Freeman, 12/20)
In other health-related business news —
San Francisco Business Times:
Lyft Dives Further Into Health Care With Ascension Partnership
Lyft is partnering with another health care organization to offer rides for seniors. This agreement with Ascension marks its biggest health care partner to date. (Siu, 12/ 20)
Those close to the transition team say Peter Thiel has a "pretty broad influence" when it comes to health and science jobs in the new administration.
Peter Thiel Playing Key Role In Filling Health Posts For Trump
Peter Thiel, the iconoclastic Silicon Valley mogul who has been advising President-elect Donald Trump on technology policy, has become deeply involved in vetting candidates for other health and science posts in the administration, according to individuals familiar with his role. Thiel, who has already advanced a candidate to lead the Food and Drug Administration, has been discussing possibilities with other prospective appointees about a variety of health and science jobs. Among others, he recently spoke with Elias Zerhouni, a former director of the National Institutes of Health and president of global research and development for Sanofi, about a top White House science job. (Kaplan and Scott, 12/20)
The number of Americans who skipped care because of costs dropped by nearly 20 percent between 2013 and 2015.
Los Angeles Times:
Millions More Americans Able To Afford Doctor's Visit Under Obamacare, Study Shows
The Affordable Care Act’s historic expansion of health insurance coverage has brought medical care within reach of millions of Americans who previously couldn’t afford it, new research shows. The share of adults who skipped medical care because of costs dropped by nearly one-fifth between 2013 and 2015, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund. (Levey, 12/20)
Health Care Access & Affordability Improve In California, New Report Finds
Unlike some other states, California has embraced Obamacare. And a new report shows California has reaped enormous benefits. The Commonwealth Fund report looks at some of the changes in access and affordability since Obamacare took effect.Between 2013 and 2015, all major ethnic groups in California experienced big reductions in the adult uninsured rate. (Goldberg, 12/21)