- California Healthline Original Stories 4
- Head Of California Exchange Scolds UnitedHealth For Blaming Woes On Obamacare
- Are California's Mental Health Dollars Helping Kids?
- Study Finds No Harm In Allowing Surgeons-In-Training To Work Longer Shifts
- Marijuana Is a Public Health Risk: UCSF Analysis
- Sacramento Watch 1
- Marijuana Measure Does Not Prioritize Health Over Business Interests, Researchers Say
- Public Health and Education 3
- PrEP Campaign Aims To Grow Awareness Of HIV Prevention Treatment Among Doctors, At-Risk Californians
- Navigating STD Testing In Los Angeles
- Health Officials Confirm Sexually Transmitted Zika Case In Texas
Latest From California Healthline:
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, says the giant insurer’s complaints about ACA exchanges are “total spin and unanchored in reality.” (Chad Terhune, 2/3)
California spends generously so schools can help disabled children with behavioral problems, but a recent audit found that no one knows exactly how the money is spent or if it is working. (David Gorn, 2/3)
Researchers found little difference in patient outcomes or satisfaction after placing restraints on medical residents’ working conditions in the past decade. Officials have previously sought to prevent inexperienced doctors from making mistakes caused by fatigue. (Jordan Rau, 2/2)
A new analysis from UCSF warns that pot smoke is a danger to human health – but the California Medical Association has just endorsed a proposal to legalize it. (David Gorn, 2/2)
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More News From Across The State
The initiative to legalize marijuana is likely to end up on the ballot in November. Elsewhere, doctors debate the the proposal, LA County supervisors place a moratorium on marijuana cultivation and a California-based medical marijuana company eyes expanding into Mexico as the country opens up import of some products for medical use.
The Associated Press:
Public Health Critique Offered Of California Pot Measure
A marijuana legalization measure likely to end up on the California ballot this year does not do enough to prioritize public health over business interests with the financial incentive and political clout to downplay any adverse effects of allowing people to use pot recreationally, two researchers with expertise in curbing tobacco use said Tuesday. Stanton Glantz and Rachel Barry of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco said that while they support legalization, they worry the initiative as currently written would create a legal marijuana market dominated by large players with the incentive and political clout to downplay the adverse health effects of pot, just as tobacco companies did decades ago. (Leff, 2/2)
The Ventura County Star:
Local Doctors Debate Pros, Cons Of Legalized Pot
Dr. Ronald C. Thurston endorses a statewide proposal to legalize marijuana. That doesn't mean he endorses marijuana. The distinction is key to the psychiatrist from Somis who serves on the state board of the California Medical Association. Leaders of the group that represents more than 41,000 doctors announced they support a proposed ballot measure that would allow adults over 21 to purchase as much as 1 ounce of marijuana for recreational use. (Kisken, 2/2)
Los Angeles Times:
County Supervisors Move To Halt Commercial Marijuana Cultivation
Concerned about a possible influx of commercial medical marijuana farms, Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to put a temporary moratorium on cultivation of the crop in county unincorporated areas and to study a permanent ban. Last year, California's legislature passed a package of bills that established a statewide regulatory structure overseeing the medical cannabis industry, but left room for cities and counties to set up stricter local regulations. (Sewell, 2/2)
Capital Public Radio:
Sacramento City Council: Marijuana Moratorium Next Step To Legalizing Cultivation
The Sacramento City Council voted Tuesday to issue a 45-day moratorium on marijuana cultivation, with the understanding that cultivation rules will be determined in the coming weeks. People at the meeting argued over the requirement for a conditional use permit. (Moffitt, 2/2)
The Associated Press:
3 Nurseries Seek Injunction In Medical Marijuana Licenses
Three Florida nurseries filed a lawsuit Tuesday asking for an injunction to delay the state's medical marijuana process in three of five state regions. McCrory's Sunny Hill Nursery, San Felasco Nurseries and Tornello Landscape's 3 Boys Farm filed the suit in Leon County Circuit Court against Florida's Department of Health and the nurseries approved to cultivate medical marijuana. (Reedy, 2/2)
California-Based Medical Marijuana Eyes Mexico As Next Big Market
Medical Marijuana Inc, a pioneer in the industrial hemp business, is betting on Mexico as its next big market as the country opens up to the import of some cannabis-derived products for medical use. The California-based company manufactures a hemp oil which can, under permits granted this week, be imported to Mexico for the first time to treat specific medical cases. It already supplies a similar product to Brazil. (Grover, 2/2)
Prime Healthcare has recently acquired three others, investing a total of $80 million in the four hospitals.
Fast-Growing Prime Healthcare Closes Four Deals
Prime Healthcare announced it completed it acquisition of a Florida hospital and its not-for-profit affiliate acquired another three hospitals across three states. The Ontario, Calif.-based chain has rapidly expanded and recently lined up $700 million in financing to fund more acquisitions. Its latest addition is Lehigh Regional Medical Center in Leigh Acres, Fla., an 88-bed hospital purchased from Community Health Systems. (Evans, 2/2)
"I think the doctors are bringing it up because they see a lot of patients suffering," says Dr. Peter Ubel, a Duke University professor and one of the authors of the study. "They've had enough patients complain about costs. They're more aware of it; their antennas are up for the problem."
Doctors And Patients Are Discussing Ways To Cut Costs
Many people might find it awkward to bring up money with their doctor, but a new study finds that physicians and patients are talking about health care costs in about one-third of office visits, and that nearly half of those conversations focus on ways patients could save money. (Plevin, 2/2)
Marketed as Truvada, the daily pill regimen helps protect people against the spread of HIV but many doctors still have little info about it. In other public health news, women are reminded to discuss cervical cancer risks with their physician.
The Sacramento Bee:
Doctors, Activists Push For New PrEP Treatment To Prevent HIV Spread
Research by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that taking Truvada once a day can lower the chances of getting HIV by more than 90 percent for people having sex and more than 70 percent for injection drug users. That’s good news for people who have sex with multiple partners, those in a relationship with someone who’s HIV-positive, sex workers or anyone else at risk, said Janet Parker, director of strategy and market development at Cares Community Health, Sacramento’s nonprofit hub for HIV and AIDS treatment. (Caiola, 2/2)
The Bakersfield Californian:
The Power To Prevent Cervical Cancer
A new year serves as a reminder for women to talk with their physicians about the risks of developing cervical cancer, what causes it and what you can do to prevent it. Through the Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation has awarded funding to the American Cancer Society to help Omni Family Health (National Health Services, Inc.) of Bakersfield provide cervical cancer education and screening to underserved women. (Saslow and Asher, 2/2)
L.A. County offers free STD testing and treatment at a number of clinics and at men’s wellness centers. There are also wellness centers at Los Angeles Unified School District schools that offer STD testing, treatment and family planning.
The Los Angeles Times:
Everything You Need To Know About STD Testing In L.A.
Sexually transmitted diseases are becoming increasingly common throughout the country, and thousands of people in Los Angeles County have been infected. Many of them don’t know it. Regular testing for STDs can help prevent their spread and stop them from causing irreparable harm. It can be difficult to navigate your way through testing in Los Angeles. Here’s everything you need to know. (Kohli and Karlamangla, 2/3)
Meanwhile, a pharmaceutical company hopes to build off its work with dengue fever in the race to create a vaccine.
Los Angeles Times:
CDC Confirms A Case Of Zika Transmission Via Sex In Texas
Texas officials on Tuesday reported the first case of the Zika virus being sexually transmitted in the U.S. by an infected traveler returning from South America since the disease’s rapid spread there over the last year. It was the first case of transmission on U.S. soil, and the announcement came a day after the World Health Organization declared that the explosive growth of the primarily mosquito-borne Zika virus constitutes an international public health emergency. (Hennessy-Fiske, 2/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Drug Industry Starts Race To Develop Zika Vaccine
Drug companies are beginning early-stage research to develop a new vaccine against the rapidly spreading Zika virus, joining the race to control an outbreak that the World Health Organization said constitutes a global public-health emergency. It might be years, however, before any vaccine reaches the market, meaning the new wave of research is unlikely to help curb the current outbreak. (Bisserbe and McKay, 2/2)
Students, faculty and staff at the community college are undergoing testing. In other local news, a program helps connect newly diagnosed patients with mentors who have gone through the same experience; a medical center joins UC Riverside in offering a cardiovascular fellowship program to help combat shortages; and a mystery patient is identified.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
TB Diagnosis Prompts Testing At Mesa College
Mesa College is testing students, faculty and staff members for tuberculosis because more than 100 people on campus may have been exposed to the disease. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported Tuesday that a person who has TB was at the community college regularly between Oct. 23 and Dec. 17 last year. (Warth, 2/2)
The San Diego Union Tribune:
Patients Helping Patients
Two and a half years ago, Scripps Ranch resident Dennis Bourque co-founded the patient organization ReMend to connect patients newly diagnosed with kidney disease with mentors who have experienced kidney disease themselves. The goal was to take a chronic condition and help make it a manageable one. To do that, Bourque drew on both professional and personal experience. (Brennan, 2/2)
St. Bernardine To Host New Cardiology Training Program
To help ease a shortage, the UC Riverside School of Medicine and St. Bernardine Medical Center have teamed up to provide a new cardiovascular fellowship program. The three-year program will begin training doctors in cardiovascular medicine July 1, officials said in a statement Tuesday. San Bernardino and Riverside counties have some of the highest age-adjusted heart disease mortalities in California, UCR officials said. (Steinberg, 2/2)
Los Angeles Times:
Mystery Patient Known As 'Garage 66' Is Identified After 16 Years On Life Support
A man who's been lying anonymously in a hospital bed at Sharp Coronado Hospital for 16 years finally has a name. The man, known for years as "Garage 66," is severely brain damaged and on life support. The San Diego County hospital's Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility has been his home since 1999, when a car accident left him fighting for his life. On Friday, the Mexican Consulate in San Diego announced that an effort by doctors, immigration authorities, politicians and educators has led to discovery of the man's identity. (Sanchez, 2/3)
Tuesday's near party-line vote to override Obama's January veto of legislation gutting much of the health law was 241-186, but that fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to reverse a veto. The vote was not expected to be successful, but it provided congressional Republicans more fodder for election-year messaging.
Ahead of Thursday's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on drug costs, congressional Democrats release documents from former Turing CEO Martin Shkreli and others that reveal how the company planned to maximize profits and control public perception.
The Obama administration said on Tuesday that it would ask Congress to spend an additional $1.1 billion next year to combat a growing epidemic of prescription painkiller and heroin abuse. The proposal focuses on expanding treatment for abuse and providing access to the so-called overdose antidote naloxone.