A RAND study finds that emergency departments drive about 50% of all U.S. hospital admissions and between 2003 and 2009 accounted for nearly all admissions growth. However, the report says EDs' contribution to rising health care spending is unclear. The Hill's "Healthwatch," New York Times.
A Sacramento Bee editorial argues that the University of California and patient-care technical workers should return to the bargaining table to avoid a "needless strike." About 13,000 technical workers are planning a two-day strike this week at five UC medical centers after negotiations over a labor contract that expired September 2012 stalled, "primarily over changes to the UC retirement plan," the editorial states. It adds, "A strike would hurt patients who will have to be rescheduled or transported across town to other hospitals." Sacramento Bee.
A new analysis from ProPublica finds that CMS has done little to monitor unsafe prescribing patterns or investigate unsafe practitioners in Medicare Part D. According to CMS officials, oversight of the Part D program falls to private health plans. ProPublica/Washington Post.
In a Capitol Weekly opinion piece, Hollaine Hopkins -- executive director of the Lupus Foundation of Southern California -- argues that a bill, by Assembly member Toni Atkins, is "common-sense legislation that will shine a light on the dangerous practice of therapeutic substitution and close the loophole in the law that allows pharmacists to take kickbacks for making a therapeutic switch." Capitol Weekly.
State lawmakers are saying that a plan by Gov. Brown to reduce California's prison population could compromise public safety. The plan was filed to comply with a federal court order to curb overcrowding and boost inmate health care. Sacramento Bee et al.
To comply with a federal court order, Gov. Brown has submitted a plan to reduce California's prison population in part to improve inmate health care. However, Brown warned that the proposal could compromise public safety. Ventura County Star et al.
On Tuesday, state Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a lawsuit alleging that several local and national food retailers are selling lead-tainted candies in violation of a state law requiring warning labels on products that contain harmful chemicals. If the retailers and manufacturers are found to be at fault, they could face daily fines of up to $2,500 for each violation. AP/Sacramento Bee.
Following the deaths of more than three dozen California prisoners infected with valley fever, CDC has launched an investigation of the fungal disease outbreak. Federal receiver J. Clark Kelso also has ordered about 3,200 high-risk inmates to be relocated. Los Angeles Times et al.
A coalition of consumer groups and trial lawyers is launching a campaign for a proposed November 2014 ballot measure aimed at curbing prescription drug misuse and holding doctors more accountable for improper prescribing practices. The group plans to unveil a website to promote the campaign as it works out the details of the ballot proposal. Los Angeles Times.
Gov. Brown has signed into law a measure that will allocate $24 million to boost efforts to disarm individuals prohibited from possessing guns because of serious mental illnesses or other factors. The funds will come from surplus fees paid by gun purchasers. Huffington Post et al.
Federal receiver J. Clark Kelso, charged with monitoring the state's prison health care system, has ordered the relocation of about 3,280 inmates from the Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons because they are more susceptible to the deadly fungal infection known as valley fever. The order affects certain racial minorities and those who have serious chronic medical conditions. Los Angeles Times, AP/Washington Post.
The Arc San Francisco was selected as one of five of The Arc's 700 sites nationwide to participate in a three-year, $1 million CDC-funded pilot study, called Health-Meet, that aims to help ensure that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive routine health screenings and assistance with health care navigation. Researchers also will collect data to help address health system gaps. San Francisco Chronicle.
A bill by state Sen. Curren Price and Assembly member Richard Gordon would shift the authority to investigate alleged misconduct by physicians from the Medical Board of California to California's attorney general. Sacramento Business Journal, Los Angeles Times.
Citing limited funding and more medical emergencies than fires, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings intends to implement a plan that would shift dozens of city firefighters from fire engines to ambulances. Labor groups say the change could put lives at risk and have urged city officials to provide more funding to staff ambulances. Los Angeles Times.
California's mortality rate for coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG, surgeries rose slightly from 1.9% in 2009 to 2% in 2010. However, the 2010 mortality rate is significantly lower than the 2003 rate of nearly 3%, according to data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. OSHPD Director Robert David said health care providers should be commended for the lower rate. Payers & Providers.