Thursday, September 12, 2019 – California Healthline – The Homeless Times
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Thursday, September 12, 2019 – California Healthline

Latest From California Healthline:
California Healthline Original Stories
Vapers Seek Relief From Nicotine Addiction In — Wait For It — Cigarettes
Even though e-cigarette makers market their products as a safer alternative to cigarettes, a growing number of vapers are trying to quit— and they’re turning to cigarettes to help them. (Ana B. Ibarra, 9/12)

News Of The Day

Good morning! The fight might not be over for the opponents of the controversial anti-vaccination legislation that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed this week. A group of activists want to put the issue in front of voters. More on that below, but first here are your top California health stories of the day.
As Trump Administration Bans Flavored Vaping Products, Two Bay Area Cities Move Toward Blocking Sale Of E-Cigarettes Completely: As President Donald Trump vowed Wednesday to force companies to stop selling flavored vaping products, two Bay Area cities this week moved forward on legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes altogether, regardless of flavor. The Richmond City Council on Tuesday voted to pass an ordinance suspending the sale of e-cigarettes until the products are reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. And on Monday, Livermore officials — who passed similar legislation in July — decided to put the matter before voters on the March 3 election.
Meanwhile, Bay Area public health advocates are praising Trump’s decision. Dr. John Maa, chief surgeon at Marin General Hospital said he’s “particularly pleased that this has become a national movement,” with San Francisco leading the way in 2018.
And Juul CEO Kevin Burns met with The San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board Wednesday. He addressed a number of concerns, including youth vaping, the recent flood of vaping-related lung illnesses, and the national ban on flavored e-cigarettes.
Read more from Catherine Ho of The San Francisco Chronicle; Sheila Kaplan of The New York Times; and Tara Siler of KQED.
Landmark Bill Offering Protections To Workers In California’s Gig Economy Heads To Governor’s Desk: California lawmakers rewrote the rules of employment across a wide swath of industries Wednesday in legislation that could grant hundreds of thousands of workers new job benefits and pay guarantees. After vigorous debates over what occupations should be exempted, Assembly Bill 5, which curbs businesses’ use of independent contractors, gained final approval in the state Senate and the Assembly and was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has pledged his support. State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) who co-authored the bill, began Tuesday’s debate by blasting tech companies and some traditional employers, saying they have, for decades, exploited workers with false contractor labels. “These so-called gig companies present themselves as the innovative future of tomorrow,” said state Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles). “A future where companies don’t pay Social Security or Medicare, workers’ compensation or unemployment insurance.”
Read more from Margot Roosevelt, Johana Bhuiyan and Taryn Luna of the Los Angeles Times; Carolyn Said and Dustin Gardiner of the San Francisco Chronicle; Mitchell Hartman of Marketplace; and Katie Orr 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
Sacramento Watch
Sacramento Bee: California Voters Could Get A Chance To Overturn New Vaccine LawCalifornia’s new law restricting medical exemptions for vaccines has a challenge from a group of protesters who want voters to overturn it. Three women who protested the vaccine law, Senate Bill 276, at the Capitol this year on Wednesday submitted a petition for a referendum on it, according to an announcement from the Attorney General’s Office. They submitted a separate petition for a referendum on Senate Bill 714, which is a companion law that Gov. Gavin Newsom requested to narrow the vaccine law. (Ashton, 9/11)
Health Care Coverage
Los Angeles Times: Americans’ Struggles With Medical Bills Are A Foreign Concept In Other CountriesIn France, a visit to the doctor typically costs the equivalent of $1.12. A night in a German hospital costs a patient roughly $11. And in the Netherlands — one of the few wealthy nations other than the U.S. where patients face a deductible — insurers usually must cover all medical care after the first 385 euros, roughly $431. (Levey, 9/12)
KQED: Can A Catholic Hospital Deny A Hysterectomy To A Transgender Man? California Court To DecideIt was two days before Evan Minton was scheduled to have a hysterectomy. The nurse from Mercy San Juan Medical Center near Sacramento called to go over the pre-op instructions. Minton told the nurse he’s transgender. “I just let them know, ‘Hey, I go by he, him and his pronouns. Just wanted to give you a heads-up,’ ” Minton recalled explaining. The next day, the hospital canceled the surgery. (Dembosky, 9/11)
Mental Health
Stateline: ‘Gravely Disabled’ Homeless Forced Into Mental Health Care In More StatesOften, when she got high on meth, “Melanie,” who suffers from schizophrenia, would strip naked and run screaming straight into San Francisco traffic. Invariably, police would bring her to the hospital, where she’d undergo treatment. There, her psychotic symptoms would quickly subside. But by law, Melanie, who is homeless, couldn’t be held for longer than 72 hours without her consent, so back on the street she would go. Until she relapsed, and her drug use triggered yet another psychotic episode, and she ended up in the emergency room all over again. And each time, she got a little worse. (Wiltz, 9/11)
San Francisco Chronicle: SF Kept Beds For Mentally Ill Empty Out Of Concern For Patient Safety, Officials SayThe Department of Public Health told The Chronicle that it decided to stop admitting people into a long-term care facility for mentally ill patients last year — and instead leave more than 20 beds empty every night — because the facility was unsafe due to staff negligence and errors. Officials said that decision, made in 2018, was spurred by years of anonymous complaints filed with the state regarding the Adult Residential Facility, a long-term treatment site located on the San Francisco General Hospital campus. The complaints, state records show, include a staff member allowing a patient to walk naked to the bathroom in front of others and medication mismanagement. (Thadani, 9/11)
San Jose Mercury News: When Depression Kills: Son’s Suicide Moves San Jose State Alum Reggie Burton To Help Other ParentsOne in four college students suffers from depression. The suicide rate among Americans, ages 15 to 24, has reached its highest level since 1960, and suicide is the second leading cause of death for this age group. [Author Reggie] Burton thinks these statistics should resonate at this time of year, as the school year ramps up at Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Jose State and other schools. (Ross, 9/11)
Los Angeles Times: Another Young Southern California Pastor Advocating For Mental Health Dies By SuicideOn Monday afternoon, Jarrid Wilson, a pastor at a Riverside megachurch and the founder of a mental health advocacy group, took to Twitter. “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts,” Wilson wrote. “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety. But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that.” (Branson-Potts, 9/12)
Sacramento Bee: Ricardo Lara’s ‘Climate’ Trip To New York Included Some Fundraising On The SideA taxpayer-funded trip that California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara took to New York earlier this year coincided with a fundraising trip by his campaign consultant, according to records obtained by The Sacramento Bee. Both Lara and his since-terminated consultant Dan Weitzman attended an April fundraiser in New York, Lara campaign spokeswoman Robin Swanson confirmed Wednesday. Days later, Lara reported that he accepted $46,500 from donors connected to New York-area insurance companies, breaking a campaign promise he made when running for the post in 2018 not to accept industry money. (Wiley, 9/12)
San Francisco Chronicle: Explaining The Democrats’ Health Care Plans, In Plain EnglishCount on two things happening at Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate: The candidates will distill their complex health care proposals into convoluted 30-second sound bites. Few Americans will understand what they’re saying. (Garofoli, 9/12)
The Hill: Poll: Biden Proposal More Popular Than ‘Medicare For All’ In General ElectionA new poll finds that more voters favor an optional government-run health insurance plan, as former Vice President Joe Biden advocates, than full-scale “Medicare for All” that eliminates private health insurance, as advocated by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The poll could give credence to Biden’s argument against his main two rivals in the Democratic White House race, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), that an optional plan is more popular in a general election than the full-scale Medicare for All that Sanders and Warren advocate. (Sullivan, 9/11)
The Homeless Crisis
Sacramento Bee: Sacramento Mayor ‘Wary’ Of Trump’s Offer For Homeless Aid. But Says CA Cities Should ListenSacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other California elected officials are skeptical as the Trump administration focuses attention on homelessness in California cities, but are hopeful more federal funding could be on the way to address the growing crisis. … “Homelessness is our most serious problem and deserves a serious response,” Steinberg said in a statement. “I am wary of any such offer from an administration that consistently demonizes vulnerable people. And yet, if the federal government wants to offer resources to help bring people indoors and to offer federal facilities to shelter and house people, we should readily listen. We cannot afford to politicize an issue which needs real thought and real commitment.” (Clift, 9/11)
The Associated Press: Democrats Slam Decision To End Immigrant Medical ReliefDemocratic lawmakers criticized federal immigration officials Wednesday for refusing to explain their decision to stop considering requests from immigrants seeking to defer deportation for medical treatment and other hardships. Officials with two agencies — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement — declined to answer many questions posed during a contentious House hearing, citing a recent legal challenge from civil rights groups. (Marcelo, 9/11)
San Jose Mercury News: Concord Resident Testifies At Probe Of Immigration OfficialsA Concord woman who immigrated to the United States as a young girl to receive life saving medical care urged Congress on Wednesday to do what it can to prevent her from being deported, possibly to die from her illness. “Thinking about you’re going to die when you have so many dreams and hopes for your life, it’s devastating,” Isabel Bueso testified during a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. (Sciacca, 9/11)
Around California
The Associated Press: Cal State San Bernardino student diagnosed with TBHealth officials say a California State University, San Bernardino, student has been diagnosed with tuberculosis and they’re urging about 400 students and employees to be tested. San Bernardino County health officials say they’re contacting those who may have been exposed to the illness from April through August. However, authorities say the risk of infection is low. (9/11)
Los Angeles Times: Nearly 3,000 Illegal Marijuana Businesses Found In California Audit, Dwarfing Legal TradeCalifornia’s black market for cannabis is at least three times the size of its regulated weed industry, according to an audit made public Wednesday, the latest indication of the state’s continued struggle to tame a cannabis economy that has long operated in legal limbo. The audit, conducted by the United Cannabis Business Assn., found approximately 2,835 unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services operating in California. By comparison, only 873 cannabis sellers in the state are licensed, according to the Bureau of Cannabis Control. (Queally and McGreevy, 9/11)
San Francisco Chronicle: Bringing Home BradenWilliam Williams repeated the words as he thrashed down a steep slope of gnarled brush that bloodied his hands. Three hundred feet below him was a bulldozer, now 21 tons of crumpled yellow steel. The dozer driver had tumbled down the Merced River canyon while clearing a fuel break for the state’s Cal Fire agency. He couldn’t have survived. … Over the next 2 ½ days, at a cost of $200,000, 59 firefighters and 34 state prison inmates would join in this improbable rescue, risking their lives to retrieve the driver’s body. (Lurie, 9/12)
Los Angeles Times: Forest Thinning Projects Won’t Stop The Worst Wildfires. So Why Is California Spending Millions On Them?Four months after the town of Paradise was incinerated in the most destructive wildfire in California history, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation, ordering agencies to thin trees and clear shrubs near some of the state’s most fire-threatened communities. Saying the $32 million in projects were vital “to protect the lives and property of Californians” he swept aside environmental reviews and competitive bidding requirements to speed the work. (Boxall, 9/11)
Sacramento Bee: A Utah Firefighter Was Killed By An Air Retardant Drop. His Widow Is Suing Cal FireOne year after a Utah firefighter was killed when a supertanker dropped nearly 20,000 gallons of fire retardant near his position, his widow is suing Cal Fire and the aircraft company for alleged negligence. Matthew Burchett, a 42-year-old battalion chief from Draper, Utah, was killed Aug. 13, 2018, when a modified Boeing 747-400 owned by Global SuperTanker Services LLC dropped its load of retardant from only 100 feet above the treetops and knocked an 87-foot-tall Douglas fir directly onto Burchett and three other firefighters, the lawsuit and a Cal Fire report say. (Stanton, 9/11)
National Roundup
The New York Times: Purdue Pharma Tentatively Settles Thousands Of Opioid CasesThousands of municipal governments nationwide and nearly two dozen states that sued the pharmaceutical industry for the destructive opioid crisis have tentatively reached a settlement with Purdue Pharma and its owners, members of the Sackler family. The deal is a landmark moment in the long-running effort to compel Purdue, the company whose signature opioid, OxyContin, is seen as an early driver of the epidemic, and its owners, the Sacklers, to face a reckoning for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from overdoses and the calamitous systemic costs. (Hoffman, 9/11)
The New York Times: A Breeding Ground For A Fatal Scourge: Nursing HomesMaria Davila lay mute in a nursing home bed, an anguished expression fixed to her face, as her husband stroked her withered hand. Ms. Davila, 65, suffers from a long list of ailments — respiratory failure, kidney disease, high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat — and is kept alive by a gently beeping ventilator and a feeding tube. Doctors recently added another diagnosis to her medical chart: Candida auris, a highly contagious, drug-resistant fungus that has infected nearly 800 people since it arrived in the United States four years ago, with half of patients dying within 90 days. (Richtel and Jacobs, 9/11)
The Associated Press: VA May Have To Pay Billions In Vets’ Emergency Care BillsThe government may be required to pay billions of dollars in emergency care claims to veterans after a federal court ruled this week that the Department of Veterans Affairs improperly denied reimbursements for such care received at non-VA facilities. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims said federal law mandated the VA to pay the emergency medical expenses if they are not covered by private insurance. (9/11)
Stat: Study Suggests Explanation For Why So Many Cancer Drugs FailJason Sheltzer thought he was learning answers to a simple question, but one that, for cancer patients, could mean the difference between life and death: Which genes can’t tumor cells survive without? Identifying DNA that seems essential to cancer cells’ survival tells drug developers which genes or gene products to target — a tried-and-true approach that has led to such lifesaving cancer drugs as Herceptin. (Begley, 9/11)
Bloomberg: How Carcinogen-Tainted Generic Drug Valsartan Got Past The FDAThe chemical N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, is a yellow liquid that dissolves in water. It doesn’t have an odor or much of a taste. It’s known to cause cancer in animals and is classified as a probable carcinogen in humans—it’s most toxic to the liver. A single dose of less than a milligram can mutate mice cells and stimulate tumors, and 2 grams can kill a person in days. An Oklahoma man poisoned the family of an ex-girlfriend in 1978 by pouring a small vial of NDMA into a pitcher of lemonade. In 2018 a graduate student in Canada sickened a colleague by injecting the chemical into his apple pie. (Edney, Berfield and Yu, 9/12)
The New York Times: Why Aren’t There Better Cancer Drugs? Scientists May Have Picked The Wrong TargetsTwenty years ago, the fight against cancer seemed as if it were about to take a dramatic turn. Traditionally, cancer doctors fought the disease with crude weapons, often simply poisoning fast-growing cells whether they were cancerous or healthy. But then a team of researchers hit on a new strategy: drugs targeting proteins produced by cancer cells that seemed necessary to their survival. (Zimmer, 9/11)
The Washington Post: Conversion Therapy Associated With Severe Psychological Distress In Transgender People, Study SaysResearchers analyzed survey responses from more than 27,000 transgender adults across the United States and U.S. territories and military bases, roughly evenly divided between those who had been identified as boys at birth and those who had been identified as girls. People who said they had undergone conversion therapy at any point during their lifetime were twice as likely to have attempted suicide than those who had never undergone such therapies. And those who were subjected to conversion efforts during childhood were four times as likely to have tried to take their own lives, the researchers said. (Bever, 9/11)
PBS NewsHour: Flint’s Deadly WaterA FRONTLINE investigation uncovers the extent of a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak during Flint’s water crisis — and how officials failed to stop it. (9/11)

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