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Latest From California Healthline:
The program, funded by Prop. 63 “millionaire’s tax,” has led to the creation of more than 1,600 videos in 35 counties across California. Participants say it has heightened their sensitivity. (Ana B. Ibarra, 6/8)
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Summaries Of The News:
There are strict regulations in place for both doctors and patients.
How The Assisted Suicide Law In California Works
California's assisted suicide law – the End of Life Option Act – takes effect Thursday. Stephanie O'Neill, KPCC's healthcare correspondent, joined Take Two to explain how it works. ... you must ask your attending doctor for the lethal drugs two times orally and once in writing. The two oral requests have to be at least 15 days apart, while the written request has to be made on a special form and it needs to be witnessed by two people. At least one of those people cannot be a relative or someone who is going to benefit from your estate. You must then discuss this decision with your attending physician without anyone else present, except an interpreter if needed. (6/7)
The Gardens Regional Hospital and Medical Center provides more than $11 million in charitable care, community services and health professions education each year.
The Wall Street Journal:
Gardens Regional Hospital Files For Bankruptcy
The Gardens Regional Hospital and Medical Center Inc. filed for bankruptcy after losing money providing health care to depressed southern Los Angeles neighborhoods, where fewer patients can afford the cost of health care. Lawyers who put the 137-bed hospital into chapter 11 protection on Monday said that since 2010, state and federal medical insurance programs have slowly whittled down reimbursement payments to the facility, which took in more than 8,500 emergency-room patients last year. (Stech, 6/7)
In other hospital news —
Early Results Show A Big 'Yes' For Measure H In Tehachapi
It looks like Tehachapi will have a new, completed hospital. With 10 of 26 precincts reporting so far as of 9:40 p.m. Tuesday night, Measure H appears to have passed with almost 90 percent approval. The measure only needs a 50 percent majority plus one to be approved. The early results showed Measure H receiving 3,357 “yes,” votes, or 89.47 percent, with just 395, “no,” votes for 10.53 percent. (Nelson 6/7)
More than half a million workers and their dependents are covered through Jiff.
San Francisco Business Times:
Digital Health Startup Rakes In $41 Million Despite Cooler Funding Climate
Jiff Inc., a Bay Area-based digital health company that says it tools help employers get their workers to engage in healthier behaviors, has added $17.7 million to its previous Series C funding total, bringing the Series C tally to $41.2 million. The new funding brings its venture funding total to $67.8 million, officials said late Monday. (Rauber, 6/7)
The measure would have undone ordinances that have been responsible for closing more than 60 dispensaries. In other news, the San Diego city attorney is under increasing pressure to shut down illegal dispensaries.
Bay Area News Group:
San Jose: Voters Say 'Yes' To Higher Taxes, 'No' To Looser Marijuana Rules
In a victory to a broad coalition of business and labor leaders Tuesday, a measure to raise taxes for 15 years to fund basic city services was headed toward easy passage while another that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to open virtually anywhere in the city was facing resounding defeat. (Giwargis, 6/7)
The Los Angeles Times:
San Diego Cracks Down On Illegal Pot Dispensaries
Landlords and operators of two illegal medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego must pay $830,000 total in civil fines, a Superior Court judge has ruled. The ruling comes less than a month after operators of two other illegal dispensaries were criminally charged under a new, more aggressive approach by City Atty. Jan Goldsmith. (Garrick, 6/7)
Janet Widmann will lead the company's push into Bay Area markets.
Sacramento Business Journal:
A Health Care Industry Veteran Will Lead Sacramento Company's Expansion Into Bay Area
Health industry veteran Janet Widmann has been named as CEO of Kids Care Dental, and is tasked to lead the growth of the Sacramento-based company into Bay Area markets. Widmann was previously executive vice president of markets for Blue Shield of California. (Anderson, 6/7)
Charles C. Liu and Xin “Lisa” Wang, who raised $27 million to build a proton beam radiation therapy center, are facing allegations that the money was misused.
The Orange County Register:
Missing Cancer Center: SEC Files Fraud Charges Against Laguna Niguel Couple
The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges and frozen the assets of a Laguna Niguel husband-and-wife team accused of misusing money raised for a cancer treatment center. Charles C. Liu and Xin “Lisa” Wang raised $27 million from 50 investors in China to build a proton beam radiation therapy center in Southern California, the SEC complaint states. The couple in promotional materials said the project would create more than 4,500 new jobs across the region and have a substantial impact on the local economy while giving foreign investors an opportunity for future U.S. residency, the SEC stated. (Madans, 6/7)
The measure will affect everyday products ranging from laundry detergent to car seats and furniture.
The Associated Press:
Congress Sends Obama Bill To Regulate Toxic Chemicals
Congress on Tuesday sent President Barack Obama a sweeping bill that would for the first time regulate tens of thousands of toxic chemicals in everyday products, from household cleaners to clothing and furniture. In a rare display of bipartisanship in an election year, the Senate backed the measure on a voice vote after Republicans and Democrats spoke enthusiastically about the legislation. Backers of the bill said it would clear up a hodgepodge of state rules and update and improve a toxic-chemicals law that has remained unchanged for 40 years. (6/7)
The Washington Post:
Sweeping Overhaul Of Nation’s Chemical-Safety Laws Clears Final Legislative Hurdle
In reauthorizing the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act on a voice vote, lawmakers are providing chemical manufacturers with greater certainty while giving the Environmental Protection Agency the ability to obtain more information about a chemical before approving its use. And because the laws involved regulate thousands of chemicals used in products including furniture, sippy cups and detergents, the measure will affect Americans’ everyday lives in ways large and small. (Eilperin, 6/7)
The New York Times:
Senate Approves Update Of Toxic-Chemical Regulations
Public health advocates and environmentalists complained for decades that the 1976 law was outdated and riddled with gaps that left Americans exposed to harmful chemicals. Under current law, around 64,000 chemicals are not subject to environmental testing or regulation. But efforts to tighten the law had stalled for years. The authors of the bill say their breakthrough represents a pragmatic, politically viable compromise between better environmental standards and the demands of industry. Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, worked closely with the American Chemistry Council to come up with language that would win the support of the industry and pass through the generally regulation-averse Republican Congress. (Davenport, 6/7)
The researchers focused on searches that indicated someone had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. From there, they worked backward, looking for earlier queries that could have shown that the user was experiencing symptoms before the diagnosis.
The New York Times:
Microsoft Finds Cancer Clues In Search Queries
Microsoft scientists have demonstrated that by analyzing large samples of search engine queries they may in some cases be able to identify internet users who are suffering from pancreatic cancer, even before they have received a diagnosis of the disease. The scientists said they hoped their work could lead to early detection of cancer. Their study was published on Tuesday in The Journal of Oncology Practice by Dr. Eric Horvitz and Dr. Ryen White, the Microsoft researchers, and John Paparrizos, a Columbia University graduate student. (Markoff, 6/7)
In other national health care news —
Senate Panel Approves Funding Bill With Big Boost To Fight Opioid Epidemic
A key Senate panel approved a health funding bill Tuesday that would nearly double the federal support for fighting the nation’s opioid epidemic. The 2017 funding bill unveiled by Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and Patty Murray of Washington, who head the subcommittee that oversees health spending, would increase spending for addressing opioid abuse to $261 million. That’s up $126 million from last year, a 93 percent increase. (Scott, 6/7)
The Associated Press:
Senate GOP Drops Push To 'Defund Obamacare'
Republicans controlling the Senate are abandoning an effort to use their power over the federal purse strings to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The more pragmatic approach came Tuesday on a huge $164 billion spending measure and reflects a hope by top Republicans like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to remove veto bait from must-pass spending bills in hopes of advancing them more easily with Democratic support. (6/7)
AHIP Undergoes First Major Overhaul Since 2003
The top health insurance lobby on Tuesday announced an overhaul of its membership fees, less than one year after losing two of its biggest members. America’s Health Insurer’s Plans approved the first “major restructuring” since 2003, the group wrote at the bottom of a statement announcing its new chairmen. ... The powerful lobby, which worked closely on ObamaCare, has seen seen as losing clout. Over the last year, AHIP lost both UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, and Aetna, the second-largest. (Ferris, 6/7)
New Research Finds Low Risk Of Zika Virus At Olympics
New research attempting to calculate the risk of the Zika virus at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro may reassure organizers and many of the more than 500,000 athletes and fans expected to travel to the epicentre of the epidemic. Controversy about the global gathering in August has grown as more about the disease becomes known. The mosquito-borne virus can cause crippling birth defects and, in adults, has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre. (Steenhuysen, 6/7)
The Washington Post:
New Blood Test May Be Able To Find Best Antidepressant Match, Study Says
British scientists took a major step toward bringing personalized medicine to mental health on Tuesday, announcing that they developed a blood test that can accurately predict whether you'll respond to the conventional, commonly prescribed antidepressants on the market. This is important because about half of patients who try them don't respond to first-line antidepressants and often spend months struggling to find the right drug. Doctors also have not had a lot of tools to help them create more personalized individual treatment plans. (Cha, 6/7)