CATEGORY: In the media, News

In the media: Week of Dec. 4

A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:

Stanford, UCSF to test ultrasound for cancer pain, San Francisco Chronicle

Scientists at Stanford and UCSF are recruiting patients for two clinical trials to test the use of ultrasound waves, as an alternative to traditional radiation therapy, to ease pain in people whose cancer has spread to their bones.

UC Berkeley creates first online degree program, San Francisco Business Times

UC Berkeley has created its first online degree program — a master’s degree in public health. Earning a degree will cost about $52,000 to $59,000. Students, starting in spring 2012, will be able to earn an M.P.H. degree in two and a half years by doing 85 percent of their coursework online and going to three sessions on campus that total 15 days. Courses in the program will be offered all year round — spring, summer and fall terms. Cal’s School of Public Health created the program to help fill a nationwide shortage of 250,000 trained public health professionals.

Several Calif. facilities named to list of top hospitals nationwide, California Healthline

The Leapfrog Group has named several hospitals in California to its 2011 list of top U.S. hospitals. The list includes UC San Diego Health System.

See additional coverage: City News Service

Federal government sues UCSD Medical Center over job bias, Los Angeles Times

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit alleging that the UC San Diego Medical Center has discriminated against new employees who are not citizens by requiring them to present more documentation than is required of citizens. “All workers who are authorized to work in the U.S. have the right to work without encountering discrimination because of their immigration status or national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general in the civil rights division. A UCSD Medical Center spokeswoman said that the medical center has been working with Department of Justice representatives since January to insure that its employment verification system complies with federal law.

State fines Scripps Memorial for surgery error, San Diego Union-Tribune

Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla was among 14 California hospitals issued administrative penalties Thursday for errors that caused or could cause serious injury or death to patients, state health officials said. This is the sixth penalty Scripps Memorial has received since the California Department of Public Health began issuing them in 2007 — more than any other hospital in the county. Statewide, UC San Francisco Medical Center is the only other hospital to get six penalties, exceeded only by Southwest Healthcare System in Riverside County, which has been hit with seven since 2007, state records show.

See additional coverage: California Healthline, SF Weekly, The Bay Citizen

CPMC spends far less on poor, S.F. report says, San Francisco Chronicle

California Pacific Medical Center, including its St. Luke’s campus, is San Francisco’s most profitable hospital, yet it spends proportionately far less on care for poor residents than other private nonprofit hospitals in the city, according to a new report. California Pacific Medical Center and St. Luke’s averaged an annual net income of nearly $149 million between 2006 and 2010, almost 12 times the combined annual profit of the other private, nonprofit hospitals required to report to the city the amount of charitable care they provide to indigent and low-income residents. But the report released Thursday by UC Hastings College of the Law found the hospital, which is affiliated with the Sutter Health network, spends considerably less than other hospitals on charity care when compared with the amount of money received per patient.

UCLA study on health food at children’s hospitals, San Francisco Chronicle

They took away the deep fryer at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and it’s just a matter of time before the sodas are gone too. At UCSF, the dedicated non-dieter can still buy a cheeseburger and french fries at the main cafeteria, but might be hard-pressed to find a Snickers. In the cafeteria at Children’s Hospital Oakland, apples have replaced candy bars at the checkout counter, where impulse buyers do their last-minute grabs. Many hospital cafeterias have undergone major overhauls in the past decade or so, replacing grease- and salt-laden hot lunches with salad bars and grilled vegetarian plates. But they’re still setting a pretty lousy example for the patients, visitors and employees who eat there, at least according to one study out of UCLA published last week.

See additional coverage: The Sacramento Bee (UC Davis Medical Center cafeteria gets top rating for healthy food)

Pot, narcotics OK to treat pain, UCSF study finds, San Francisco Chronicle

Inhaled marijuana appears to be a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain when used in addition to narcotics like morphine and oxycodone, according to a small UCSF study that is the first to look at the combined effects of the two classes of drugs in humans.

Maintain muscle tissue with regular exercise, San Diego Union-Tribune

A Q&A with Simon Schenk, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and a core director at the National Skeletal Muscle Research Center at the University of California, San Diego.

Many U.S. men with low-risk prostate cancer should delay or forgo treatment, panel says, The Washington Post

This article is about a National Institutes of Health panel’s recommendation for men with low-risk prostate cancer to wait and see if their disease progresses before treating it . Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and panel member, is quoted.

What phantom limbs and mirrors teach us about the brain, BBC

In a lab in Southern California, scientists are curing the previously incurable with little more than a mirror, and changing our understanding of the brain in the process. In mid-November the team at the University of California, San Diego, announced the results of a small pilot study which suggests that a simple mind trick involving mirrors can help ease the pain of osteoarthritis, a condition that affects one in 10 people.

CIRM puts up $5.6M to recruit stem cell researcher to UC Berkeley, San Francisco Business Times

UC Berkeley’s attempt to woo stem cell researcher Zhigang He from Children’s Hospital Boston got a $5.6 million boost from California’s stem cell research funding agency.

Poisoning cancer cells with sugar, Digital Journal

A new two-part therapy combining a modified sugar molecule with two cancer killing drugs causes many types of cancer cells to “commit suicide” by apoptosis, a type of programmed cell death, researchers at UC San Diego and Kyushu University wrote.

A growing number of registered nurses in California, U.S., Los Angeles Times

If the trend continues, say researchers at the Rand Corp., there may be enough nurses by 2030 to meet the projected needs of aging baby boomers and the expansion of the health care system. The article quotes UCSF professor Joanne Spetz and nurse Michelle Panlilio, who has a master’s degree from UCLA, and includes a photo of UCLA nurses.

New California nursing graduates find it hard to get hired, The Sacramento Bee

California has spent at least $95 million in federal, state and private funds in the past decade to double the number of nursing graduates by expanding college programs and grants. As recently as three years ago, hospitals were offering moving expenses, housing allowances and signing bonuses to recent graduates of nursing schools. But today, some new grads are happy to be offered an unpaid internship. That’s because fewer nurses are retiring during the recession, and hospitals are saving money by turning to veteran or temporary nurses who don’t need expensive training. The article quotes Timothy Bates, a program analyst at the Center for the Health Professions at UC San Francisco and mentions UC Davis Medical Center.





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