Latest From California Healthline:
One in 12 older Californians struggle to find enough food to eat while the federal program intended to help hasn’t kept pace with the graying population. That’s worse than the national average, with particularly high numbers in the San Jose and Riverside areas. (Laura Ungar and Trudy Lieberman, 9/4)
Good morning! Walmart wades further into gun politics with its announcement that it will no longer be selling assault-rifle style ammunition. More on that below, but first here are your top California health stories of the day.
Contentious California Vaccination Bill Passes Assembly, But Governor Already Signaling He Wants 'Important' Revisions: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office on Tuesday expressed unexpected doubts about a bill that would increase oversight of doctors who issue vaccine medical exemptions to California school children. Newsom’s office said in a message posted on Twitter that the governor wants a few “technical — but important” revisions to state Senate Bill 276, which would tighten the state’s school immunization law. However, a brief description of the requested changes — which would be added to a separate bill — provided by the governor’s office indicates they would be fairly significant. Tuesday marked the second time Newsom has asked for the legislation to be watered down after he raised concerns in June that SB 276 would create an immunization bureaucracy that could interfere with doctor-patient relationships.
Shortly after the vote on Tuesday, the office of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) notified Pan that the governor’s changes would be added to another bill. Standing on the Assembly floor after the vote, the s enator appeared surprised by the news. Advocacy groups on both sides of ths issue scrambled for updates on what Newsom was proposing. “For a governor to author a second set of amendments to a bill this late in the process is unusual,” said Dana Williamson, a Democratic political strategist and former Cabinet secretary to Gov. Jerry Brown. “From what has been reported, they certainly aren’t technical.”
In related news from Melody Gutierrez of the Los Angeles Times: Dr. Bob Sears’ views on vaccines have inspired loyal followers — and a crush of criticism.
Nearly 4,000 San Franciscans Struggle With Trifecta Of Homelessness, Mental Health Issues And Addiction: A review of San Francisco’s records revealed nearly 4,000 people are suffering the perilous trifecta of homelessness, mental illness and addiction. Of those 4,000, 41% are frequent users of urgent and emergency psychiatric services. The numbers will be gathered in the first of a series of reports expected this year from the city’s director of mental health reform, Dr. Anton Nigusse Bland. While officials hope the data will encourage greater collaboration between health and homelessness officials — the report holds no answers on how many more beds the city needs to add, how many more employees it will take to deliver the increased care, or any timeline for improvements. The report also laid bare that city departments have not adequately collaborated to help the most vulnerable among the 4,000 — about 200 of the sickest people — despite officials identifying its neediest cases over many years. Read more from Dominic Fracassa and Trisha Thadani of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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
Student Activists Rally For CA Abortion Medication Bill
A coalition of student activists gathered in support of a bill to increase access to abortion care on college campuses yesterday at the Capitol. “Trust students, and pass SB 24,” they called out, as music pumped across the West lawn and pink balloons decorated their signs. Joining them were pro-choice advocacy groups like NARAL and university alumni who shared personal stories to support the bill. (Wiley, 9/4)
Death Certificate Project Accuses 64 Calif. Doctors
The so-called Death Certificate Project initiated by the Medical Board of California that began in 2015 has now resulted in formal accusals of wrongdoing filed against 64 physicians related to their drug prescribing, primarily involving opioids, newly updated records show. Five of the 64 have surrendered their licenses; six others were put on probation, and eight received public reprimands. (Clark, 9/3)
Kaiser Permanente Health Care Workers Protest As Contract Negotiations Stall
About 1,000 health care workers protested in Oakland Monday to show Kaiser Permanente they’re serious about a potential strike in October, after negotiations for a new contract stalled. Kaiser Permanente employees and their families rallied at Mosswood Park in Oakland and then marched to Kaiser’s Oakland Medical Center. (Klivans, 9/3)
Two People Hospitalized For Vaping Injuries In Stanislaus CA
Stanislaus County health officials reported that two people suffered lung injuries from vaping cannabis products. The two individuals were hospitalized after using e-cigarettes to inhale cannabis or cannabis oils, the county Health Services Agency said in a news release Tuesday. The patients’ names and other details were not released. (Carlson, 9/3)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Two SF Homes For Elderly And Formerly Homeless Plan To Close Amid Rising Costs
At least two residential care facilities in San Francisco that provide long-term care for 26 vulnerable people — some elderly, others formerly homeless — plan to shut their doors in the next few months, the latest in a spate of board-and-care closures around the city. Officials with both facilities say they’ve been socked by the rising costs of doing business in San Francisco and a stagnant state reimbursement rate to run the homes. (Thadani, 9/3)
Los Angeles Times:
Lawsuit Targets Major L.A. Affordable Housing Program
A nonprofit group focused on planning issues is seeking to strike down one of L.A.'s signature programs for building affordable housing and bringing taller, denser apartment buildings to the city’s public transit corridors. Fix the City filed a lawsuit last week targeting the city’s Transit Oriented Communities program, which has loosened planning rules for real estate developers who have projects near rail stations and major bus stops. (Zahniser and Khouri, 9/4)
Santa Rosa Press Democrat:
Prosecutors Present Evidence, Testimony In Murder Case Of Santa Rosa Pain Doctor
State prosecutors Tuesday began outlining the evidence against Keller, who stands charged with second- degree murder in the deaths of four of his patients, including Badenhop-Bionda. Keller, who pleaded not guilty to the charges after his arrest in August, was also accused of felony elder abuse and four counts of issuing prescriptions without legitimate medical purposes in connection with four other patients. The state charges came almost a year after Keller was indicted by a federal grand jury, accused of health care fraud and illegally distributing opioids. Keller suspended his medical practice last fall and surrendered his license to prescribe medications. (Johnson, 9/3)
The New York Times:
Walmart To Limit Ammunition Sales And Discourage ‘Open Carry’ Of Guns In Stores
Walmart stepped forcefully into the national gun debate on Tuesday, saying it would stop selling ammunition that can be used in military-style assault rifles, would discourage its customers from openly carrying guns in its stores and would call on Congress to increase background checks and consider a new assault rifle ban. One month ago, a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, a massacre that put pressure on the company to respond to the wave of mass shootings across the country. It is the nation’s biggest retailer, and a large seller of firearms and ammunition. (Corkery, 9/3)
The Associated Press:
McConnell Says He's Waiting On Trump To Chart Path On Guns
Congressional Republicans are waiting for the White House to chart a path forward on gun violence legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, effectively putting the burden on President Donald Trump to decide the GOP's legislative response to the spate of mass shootings that included another deadly attack in Texas over the weekend. Asked about prospects for a Senate vote on legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House to expand background checks for gun purchases, McConnell said, "The administration is in the process of studying what they're prepared to support, if anything." (9/3)
U.S. Judge Orders Big Drug Companies To Face Opioid Trial
A U.S. judge on Tuesday rejected efforts by major drugmakers, pharmacies and distributors to dismiss claims that they caused the nation's opioid crisis, clearing the way for a scheduled landmark trial even as he pushes for a nationwide settlement. U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, who oversees roughly 2,000 opioid lawsuits by states, counties and cities, said the plaintiffs can try to prove that drugmakers' deceptive marketing of the painkillers caused a harmful, massive increase in supply that pharmacies and distributors did not do enough to stop. (9/3)
Pharma CEOs Shower GOP Senators With Campaign Cash
Top pharmaceutical CEOs have targeted a small group of Republican senators with roughly $200,000 in campaign donations in the past year, according to a STAT review of campaign finance disclosures. The focus on Congress comes as drug executives are holding back on donations to presidential candidates. No major industry executive has contributed to a Democratic presidential contender or President Trump’s reelection campaign, according to the review. Only one — David Ricks, the CEO of the Indiana-based drugmaker Eli Lilly — has given to a committee associated with Vice President Mike Pence, who once served as Indiana’s governor. (Facher, 9/3)
The Washington Post:
New York City Says Its Measles Outbreak Is Over
New York City’s largest measles outbreak in nearly 30 years is over, city officials said Tuesday. The city spent over $6 million, deployed more than 500 staff and issued a mandatory vaccination order for people living and working in four Brooklyn neighborhoods. The outbreak of a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease was heavily concentrated in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine has spread, officials said. (Sun, 9/3)