Friday, September 23, 2022 | California Healthline

Friday, September 23, 2022 | California Healthline

After Student’s Death, LAUSD Will Stock Naloxone: Los Angeles public schools will stock campuses with the overdose reversal drug naloxone in the aftermath of a student’s death at Bernstein High School, putting the nation’s second-largest school system on the leading edge of a strategy increasingly favored by public health experts. Read more from the Los Angeles Times and Southern California News Group.

Newsom Signs Bill On Insurance Industry Lobbying: Consultants face new restrictions on charging bounties for influencing some decisions by state officials under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Thursday. The new law doesn’t ban all success fees, just those to influence decisions by the insurance commissioner and director of the Department of Managed Health Care. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.

Sacramento Bee:
COVID-19 Numbers Improving In CA; Death Toll Reaches 95,000

As the calendar flips from summer to fall, California’s coronavirus numbers appear to be continuing a long and steady trend of improvement, with key transmission and hospitalization metrics having now declined for about two straight months. The California Department of Public Health in a weekly update Thursday reported the latest case rate for COVID-19 at 11 per 100,000 residents, a 12% decrease from the previous week. (McGough, 9/22)

4.4M Americans Roll Up Sleeves For Omicron-Targeted Boosters

U.S. health officials say 4.4 million Americans have rolled up their sleeves for the updated COVID-19 booster shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted the count Thursday as public health experts bemoaned President Joe Biden’s recent remark that “the pandemic is over.” The White House said more than 5 million people received the new boosters by its own estimate that accounts for reporting lags in states. (Johnson, 9/23)

COVID Raises Risk Of Long-Term Brain Injury, Large U.S. Study Finds

People who had COVID-19 are at higher risk for a host of brain injuries a year later compared with people who were never infected by the coronavirus, a finding that could affect millions of Americans, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. The year-long study, published in Nature Medicine, assessed brain health across 44 different disorders using medical records without patient identifiers from millions of U.S. veterans. (Steenhuysen, 9/22)

New Analysis Supports Paxlovid Use

Here’s one more data point to consider in the back-and-forth about Pfizer’s antiviral pill Paxlovid: A new analysis found it can meaningfully reduce COVID hospitalizations and deaths, even in those younger than 65. (Reed, 9/22)

Los Angeles Times:
California Voters To Decide Whether To Strengthen State’s Abortion Law

California voters will decide whether to reinforce the state’s abortion protections under Proposition 1, a measure that is expected to drive voters to the polls this November. And that was the whole point, opponents say. The state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature placed Proposition 1 on the ballot in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, with lawmakers arguing that the ruling made it clear Californians need a safety net for their own reproductive rights. The meagerly-funded opposition campaign argues that the measure is simply a ploy by Democratic lawmakers to latch onto a hot-button issue that will motivate liberal voters still reeling from the ruling. (Gutierrez, 9/23)

White House: GOP Abortion Ban Would Mean A Nationwide Crisis

The White House and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said Thursday that a Republican-led proposal to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks would endanger the health of women and have severe consequences for physicians. “If passed and enacted, this bill would create a nationwide health crisis, imperiling the health and lives of women in all 50 states,” according to a preliminary analysis of the bill by Jennifer Klein, the White House Gender Policy Council chairwoman, that was obtained by The Associated Press. “It would transform the practice of medicine, opening the door to doctors being thrown in jail if they fulfill their duty of care to patients according to their best medical judgment.” (Long, 9/22)

44% Of Women Say They’d Quit If Employer Doesn’t Agree On Abortion

A company’s stance on abortion rights matters when it comes to retaining female talent. In a  new survey from the women’s investment platform Ellevest, 44% of US women said they would leave their current job if their employer’s views on reproductive rights didn’t align with their own. That number jumped to 56% for millennial women, who are the largest generational cohort in the workforce. About one in three, or 35% of workers are millennials. (Ceron, 9/22)

Los Angeles Times:
Proposition 31 Will Let Voters Decide Whether They Want To Ban Flavored Tobacco Products

California voters will decide in November whether to uphold or block a law Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in 2020 that banned the sale of certain flavored tobacco products, an effort by anti-tobacco advocates to stop a youth vaping crisis and weaken the industry’s influence in the state. Senate Bill 793 would have prohibited retailers in California from selling flavored tobacco products, popular among teens, with exceptions made for hookah, some cigars and loose-leaf tobacco. The bill passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, despite intense lobbying by the tobacco industry and other interest groups. (Wiley, 9/23)

Sacramento Bee:
When Will California Pay Out Health Care Worker Bonuses?

When will California’s health care workers receive their promised retention bonuses from the state? It looks like the funds — roughly $1.1 billion — will arrive just in time to help pay off holiday shopping bills. The California Department of Health Care Services said it will begin disbursing the funds to private-sector and public-sector health care workers in January 2023. (Anderson, 9/23)

Imperial County’s Serial Psychiatric Holds May Be Violating State Law

Imperial County officials routinely keep people on psychiatric holds for longer than 72 hours, often in ill-equipped facilities and without a formal hearing that’s required by law, an inewsource investigation found. Data shows the county has continued to record dozens of such cases each year despite consultants warning officials about the risk of civil rights violations, and inewsource also found that lax oversight of this practice statewide makes it impossible to determine how many other counties around the state allow it to happen. (Bowman, 9/22)

The Bakersfield Californian:
CSUB Nursing Students Help Underserved Communities In Peru 

When nursing student Leslie Lopez-Mendoza signed up for a nursing outreach trip to Peru, she didn’t know what exactly she had gotten herself into. Not only would it be her first time using her newly acquired nursing skills outside of the clinical setting, but the trip was also the first-ever study abroad opportunity for California State University, Bakersfield’s nursing students. (Ardis, 9/22)

Orange County Register:
Tustin Doctor Accused Of Illegally Prescribing Dangerous Drugs Agrees To Plead Guilty

A doctor accused of illegally prescribing large quantities of powerful narcotics to dozens of patients has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to a new court filing. Dr. Dzung Ahn Pham, owner of the Irvine Village Urgent Care, is expected to admit to conspiring to distribute controlled substances, according to a plea deal filed by prosecutors on Wednesday in federal court. (Emery, 9/22)

Pasadena Star-News:
California Must Lead The Nation In Defending Abortion Rights

It’s all fun and games, this states’ rights business, until the Arkansas National Guard won’t let Black students into a Little Rock high school under a federal order to integrate. That’s when a president only mildly interested in racial civil rights, as Dwight Eisenhower was in 1957, drew the line and sent in 1,000 U.S. Army troops from the 101st Airborne Division to allow the kids of the Little Rock Nine to go to class. (Larry Wilson, 9/18)

Los Angeles Times:
No, Mr. President, The Pandemic Isn’t Over

On “60 Minutes” on Sunday, President Biden declared “the pandemic is over.” Well into our third year of battling COVID-19, we all wish that were true. But unfortunately, that is a fantasy right now. All the data tell us the virus is not contained. Far too many people are dying and suffering. And new, worrisome variants are on the horizon. There are 400 to 500 Americans dying of COVID each day, and that high daily death toll has remained constant for the last six months. In July 2021, we were down to just over 200 deaths per day, half of where we are now. A daily toll in the hundreds is a tragedy, because most COVID deaths could have been prevented by vaccinations, boosters and early treatments. (Eric J. Topol, 9/19)

Sacramento Bee:
California Democrats Still Won’t Call Off The War On Drugs

The leaders of this supposed promised land of progressivism and pot legalization might be “very, very open” to abandoning our counterproductive, half-century-old drug war. But don’t mistake that for any intention of actually doing so. “Certainly very, very open” was the phrase Gov. Gavin Newsom used back in 2018 to describe his position on a bill to allow safe injection sites, a thoroughly proven means of reducing overdoses, discouraging public needle use and litter, and otherwise mitigating the harms of substance abuse. (Josh Gohlke, 9/21)

The Mercury News:
California Should Lead On A Second Amendment Overhaul

I served in the U.S. Army as an officer during Operation Desert Storm, and understand the importance of firearms in the defense of our nation. I am also a surgeon who has treated civilian gunshot victims for more than two decades. I cannot reconcile the senseless injuries I see with what is interpreted as a constitutional right to maintain “a militia” as laid out in the Second Amendment. The answer to America’s firearm injury epidemic must start with rewriting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. A nationwide movement to begin that debate by calling a constitutional convention could start with California. (John Maa, 9/22)

Friday, September 23, 2022