Latest From California Healthline:
In March, a chemical cousin of the anesthetic and club drug ketamine was approved for the treatment of patients with intractable depression. But critics say studies presented to the FDA provided at best modest evidence it worked and did not include information about the safety of the drug, Spravato, for long-term use. (Emmarie Huetteman, 6/12)
Good morning! In Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget deal with the Legislature, which Californians are winning and which have to pay? Check out more on that below, but first here are some of your top California health stories for the day.
Proposal To Offer Free Mental Health Services To All San Franciscans Touted As Way To Address Homeless Crisis, But Can City Afford It?: San Francisco Supervisors Matt Haney and Hillary Ronen recently proposed a November ballot measure — dubbed “Mental Health SF” — to provide quick, free and 24/7 access to psychiatrists and pharmacists to any city resident with or without insurance. If approved by voters, the city would be required to build a drop-in center, and create a new Office of Coordinated Care with case managers to follow patients through a treatment plan. Supporters say the proposal is not only ambitious, but necessary to fix holes in the city’s mental health care system. However, funding the plan is a major barrier. The Public Health Department estimates that, as written, Mental Health SF would cost the city between $244 million and $1.1 billion annually, depending on how many San Franciscans use it. Those estimates don’t include the capital costs of creating the drop-in center to hold all the services, which the department said could cost another $278 million. Ronen and Haney pushed back against those numbers Monday, saying the public health department grossly overestimated how many employees would be needed. Read more from Trisha Thadani of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Senate Bill Would Create Drop-In Centers For Youth Struggling With Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues: The drop-in centers created by the bill would provide one-stop support for young people ages 12 to 25 who are unable or too embarrassed to seek help in a traditional medical or school setting. “The truth is that people in their teens and early 20s are the least likely to go get health care than any other age group,” said Steven Adelsheim, of Stanford University who is already working with Santa Clara County to establish two youth drop-in centers. “We want to create an access space where youth can come in before things gets more serious … which also will lead to better outcomes, (including) lower costs in terms of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and other high-end services.” The program is modeled after similar, highly successful systems in Canada and Australia. If the bill passes, it would be the first time this model has been implemented in the United States, supporters said. Read more from Claudia Boyd-Barrett of the California Health Report.
A Look Back: In The Vacuum Created By Government’s Inaction, AIDS Patients Stepped In To Do The Hard Work: The CDC identified the first patient who had what would become known as AIDS in 1981. But in the years immediately following that, mostly silence from the government followed. The task of warning against AIDS, agitating for research funding and educating the public about the epidemic fell to individuals living with AIDS or those caring for them. They created their own support structures, their own pamphlets, benefit parties, newsletters and vigils. In early 1983, with San Francisco’s Department of Public Health yet to produce a single piece of informational literature on AIDS, the Harvey Milk Gay Democratic Club took matters into its own hands. Developed with information from Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights, this frank and simple brochure provided what was, at the time, the best risk-reduction guidelines available to the gay community. Read more Sarah Hotchkiss of KQED.
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.
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More News From Across The State
Who Wins And Who Pays Under Newsom’s CA Budget Deal?
The budget deal includes funding to increase the state’s paid family leave plan from six to eight weeks. Lawmakers on Sunday also proposed increasing the pay replacement from 60 percent of wages to 90 percent of wages. The budget would end sales taxes on diapers and feminine hygiene products like tampons for two years. (Bollag, 6/12)
The New York Times:
He Tried To Plug A Wasp Nest. He Ended Up Sparking California’s Biggest Wildfire.
It was a fire that crossed mountain ranges and valleys, that spanned multiple counties and shocked Californians by its sheer scale — by far the biggest wildfire in modern state history. And yet a newly disclosed investigation suggests it was probably started by a single man and a single spark. In a report released in recent days, forensic investigators found that a rancher started the fire when hammering a metal stake in his backyard to snuff out a wasp nest. Sparks flew, igniting dry grass stalks and spreading fire quickly across the desiccated landscape. (Fuller, 6/11)
Ventura County Star:
Official: Fewer Layoffs Will Happen At Ventura County Medical Center
About a quarter fewer employees will be laid off from the Ventura County health care system than originally predicted last month as part of close to $47 million in budget fixes. Health Care Agency Director Bill Foley said Tuesday that 59 employees are now expected to be laid off from their jobs effective July 1, compared with the initial estimate of 79. Half of the 20 restored jobs are at Santa Paula Hospital and half at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, he told the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. Slots for 46 nurses who work on a per diem basis will also be restored, 55 percent of the original estimate of 83 positions. (Wilson, 6/11)
Capital Public Radio:
Sac City Unified Poised To Have New Budget, But Health Benefits And Labor Issues Remain
On Thursday, the Sacramento City Unified School District board is scheduled to approve a new budget for the next school year, but none of the parties involved are celebrating. [David] Fisher says the district has another $8 million in a health care benefits fund, but the district and the Sacramento County Office of Education say touching that money is a bad idea. The county has fiscal oversight over SCUSD and says it already has $760 million in unfunded health care benefits. (Moffitt, 6/11)
There May Be Way More Plastic In Your Diet Than You Thought
The average person in the U.S. consumes between 74,000 and 121,000 particles of plastic every year through food that they eat, the beverages that they drink, and the air that they breathe, according to new research from marine biologists at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Adults consume more than children, and men consume more than women, the researchers said. (Stark, 6/11)
Why Dietary Supplements Won’t Help You Avoid Alzheimer’s
Sales of purported brain-health supplements such as fish oil and jellyfish are expected to reach $5.8 billion by 2023, but in a report released Tuesday, an AARP panel of brain experts called them a huge waste of money for healthy seniors seeking to avoid or reverse dementia. (Anderson, 6/12)
City Pays $5.2 Million To Settle Police Encounter Claim
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday approved a $5.2 million payout for an excessive force lawsuit of a 2017 incident in which police tased a 34-year-old man so many times his family said he was left with the mental capability of a toddler. In a closed-door session, the council voted to approve the settlement for the family of John Hernandez, who was tased nine times and struck by officers’ batons at least five times while being arrested, according to court documents. (Sullivan, 6/11)
Santa Clara County Fights Trump's 'Conscience Rule' For Health Workers
Moral and religious objections to providing health care sometimes arise in medicine: A medical assistant might not agree with blood transfusions. A nurse might not want to assist in sex reassignment surgery. Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services put out a new rule that "implements full and robust enforcement" of existing laws that protect what the administration calls "conscience rights" for health care workers. The rule is set to go into effect on July 22. (Simmons-Duffin, 6/11)
The Associated Press:
2 Health Organizations Sue To Stop New Federal Health Rules
Two health organizations sued the federal government Tuesday to stop a new policy creating obstacles for women seeking abortions. The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association and Public Health Solutions Inc. sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Manhattan federal court, joining other women's groups, organizations and multiple states seeking to reverse the rule announced in February. (6/11)
Planned Parenthood Sues U.S. To Block Rule That May Limit Abortions
Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits offering family planning services sued the Trump administration on Tuesday to block a new federal rule letting healthcare workers refuse abortions and other services because of religious or moral objections. The two lawsuits filed in Manhattan federal court said enforcing the "conscience" rule would encourage discrimination against women, minorities, the poor, the uninsured, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people by curbing access to legal healthcare procedures, including life-saving treatments. (6/11)
Advocates Sue Trump Administration Over 'Conscience Protection' Rule
The lawsuit claims the rule’s sweeping terms are also likely to embolden refusals to provide a range of other health services. The final rule “imposes a virtually absolute obligation to accommodate employee objections, regardless of impact, giving employees carte blanche to refuse to do core aspects of their job and yet stay in their role,” the lawsuit stated. (Weixel, 6/11)
The Associated Press:
Jon Stewart Lashes Out At Congress Over 9/11 Victims Fund
Comedian Jon Stewart scolded Congress Tuesday for failing to ensure that a victims' compensation fund set up after the 9/11 attacks never runs out of money. Stewart, a longtime advocate for 9/11 responders, angrily called out lawmakers for failing to attend a hearing on a bill to ensure the fund can pay benefits for the next 70 years. (6/11)
The Wall Street Journal:
Congress Is Set To Reinforce 9/11 Survivors Fund
Congress is poised to shore up the finances of the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund, months after the trust said it would have to cut back on claim awards for injured and ill first responders and other survivors. Legislation that would fund the trust through 2090 has more than 300 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and at a hearing Tuesday members from both parties assured survivors that they would act quickly to pass it. The fund was created to pay health-care costs for volunteers and rescue workers who have become sick since responding to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Flight 93 that crashed near Shanksville, Pa. (Rubin, 6/11)
Major Doctors Group Votes To Oppose Single-Payer Health Care
The nation's largest doctors group on Tuesday voted against a measure that would have dropped its decades-long opposition to single-payer health care proposals. The American Medical Association's (AMA) House of Delegates voted 53 percent to 47 percent against the measure, but adopted a slate of proposals to shore up the Affordable Care Act. (Hellmann, 6/11)
The Associated Press:
Daily HIV Prevention Pill Urged For Healthy People At Risk
Doctors should offer a daily HIV prevention pill to healthy people who are at high risk of getting infected with the virus, an influential health care panel recommended Tuesday. The new guidelines aim to help cut the nearly 40,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. each year. Screening people for the HIV virus also is critical. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reiterated its long-standing advice that everyone ages 15 to 65 — and anyone who's pregnant — should be regularly screened, a step to early, life-saving treatment. (6/11)
O'Rourke Pledges Protections For LGBTQ People
Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday pledged to reverse President Donald Trump’s restrictions on transgender people serving in the military and push for passage of the Equality Act if elected president. The Texas Democrat, releasing a broad plan for addressing LGBTQ rights, said he would also end the practice of discharging service members who test positive for HIV and reverse the Trump administration’s “deploy or get out” policy affecting service members deemed non-deployable. (Siders, 6/12)
The Associated Press:
Florida Governor Signs Bill For Foreign Drug Importation
Floridians could eventually gain access to cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and other countries under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Ron DeSantis, if the federal government gives it a green light. The Republican governor signed the bill in The Villages, home to one of the state's largest retirement-age communities. The U.S. overall spends 30% to 190% more on prescription drugs than other developed countries and pays up to 174% more for the same prescription drug, according to a legislative bill analysis. (6/11)