March 21, 2014.
A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
The University of California and its five medical centers, including UCSF Medical Center and UC Davis Medical Center, are embarking on an effort to shave up to $150 million from their collective annual budgets. The UC Regents approved the so-called “Leveraging Scale for Value” project at its meeting at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus Thursday, officials said. The effort will focus on cutting costs in three main areas: supply chain, revenue cycle and clinical laboratories. It’s part of a broader plan by UC President Janet Napolitano to cut costs and become more efficient — not a UC strength in the past. “We are leveraging the UC system’s collective strength to become more efficient,”Dr. John Stobo, UC senior vice president for health sciences and services, said in the March 20 statement. Read UC press release.
See additional coverage: California Healthline, Daily Bruin
Noah Smith watched as his leg was fitted for a brace to help support his left heel, which can now touch the ground after a six-hour surgery at Children’s Hospital Oakland. Before, the 11-year-old could walk only on his left toes, an effect of cerebral palsy. But then his family, who lives in the Central Valley, found Dr. Coleen Sabatini, and she was able to extend his hamstring and Achilles tendon to resolve the problem. “The service, the care they give, Dr. Sabatini, they’ve all been excellent,” said Chuck Pasquale, Noah’s grandfather. Thanks to a new affiliation between Children’s and UC San Francisco Medical Center, that quality of care should be available to youngsters for many years to come. The deal between the two hospitals, nearly two years in the making and following exploration of linking with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, promises to shore up the finances and perhaps ensure the survival of previously struggling Children’s, the Bay Area’s only pediatric Level 1 trauma center.
Friday is “Match Day,” when graduating medical students find out where they will do their residency training. But doctors are worried that there are not enough primary care physicians to meet growing demand. UCSF medical student Elise Taylor, who is interested in practicing in primary care, and UCSF Dr. Kevin Grumbach, are interviewed.
The University of California’s 13,000 patient care technical workers — including 2,900 at UC Davis — have approved a five-day strike from March 24 through March 28. Workers are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which has been in collective bargaining with the university for well over a year.
Corporations often attract criticism for funding university research, but a study published Thursday argues these sometimes controversial deals produce more innovations than those subsidized with taxpayer money. Research from UC Berkeley found that corporate-sponsored inventions at the University of California system over 15 years generated more patents and licenses – two benchmarks of innovation – than did those solely backed by the federal government, the traditional and largest source of funds. Businesses provided $3.2 billion, or 5 percent, of American universities’ total research budgets in 2012, a portion that has been stable since the 1970s, according to the National Science Foundation. Such partnerships are unusually common at the UC system’s 10 campuses and three associated national laboratories, which lead discoveries in medicine, engineering and other fields.
Tech transfer is about dancing robots and curing brain cancer. Google and Gatorade, sleep apnea and gene-splicing. It’s how inventions and ideas — intellectual property — move out of university labs and get translated into commercial products and startup companies. Some $2.5 billion in licensing fees flowed to U.S. universities in 2010, with nearly 600 new companies formed. A bit of tech history: In post-World War II America, inventions developed on university campuses with federal funds were centrally licensed through Washington to sluggish results. Then, in 1981, the University of California’s Richard Atkinson helped formulate the Bayh-Dole act in Congress, which gave universities the right to license their own IP, giving an incentive to smart colleges and energizing the U.S. economy to the tune of an estimated $3 trillion in Northern California, alone, and billions more in San Diego. UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla is quoted and examples from UC Berkeley and UC San Diego are cited.
New mothers at UC Davis Medical Center can now donate the umbilical cord blood of their babies to California’s first comprehensive public system of collecting cord blood for transplantation and medical research. UC Davis administers the program, which is funded by a temporary $2 fee on birth certificate copies that’s expected to generate $2 million annually through 2017. By then, the program may be self-supporting, or may need authorization to continue the fee.
The family of famed polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk has donated almost 900 boxes of the virologist’s papers to UC San Diego, where they will be preserved by the school’s Mandeville Special Collections department in Geisel Library. Salks’ three sons — Peter, Darrell and Jonathan –recently gave the papers to the campus, which also was named the official repository for Salks’ holdings. All of the material will be kept a Geisel, which is about a 10 minute walk from the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences on North Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla. UC San Diego already houses the papers of such well-known figure as children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel, and three Nobel laureates, Francis Crick, Harold Urey and Maria Goeppert Mayer, and Leo Szilard, the physicist who is widely regarded as the father of the atomic bomb.
About 100 doctors in East Ventura County are fighting for their independence by working together. They’re members of Choice Health Associates, a loose affiliation of physicians in private practice who have teamed up to better compete with big out-of-town providers. The biggest of those competitors in the Conejo Valley is UCLA Health System, which has opened offices in Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks over the past two years.
Stanford University and UCSF neurologists leading the investigation into a rare polio-like paralysis that’s affected at least two dozen children in California are still hunting for the source of the illness, and they’re finding themselves hampered by delays in reporting cases and questions about how to even describe the disease.
Professional development classes constantly need to adapt to new realities, and that is especially true now in health care management, with the Affordable Care Act changing the rules for patients, managers, doctors and other health workers.Key provisions of the law, including the requirement that most people obtain health insurance and the creation of online insurance marketplaces where individuals can buy insurance, are leading to new policies and practices down the line. Confusion has inevitably ensued. But that could mean career opportunities for professionals with the best and most current understanding of the law and the way it is being put into practice. UCLA modified its certificate program in health care management, begun in 2005, in part to address the Affordable Care Act passed four years ago. Dylan Roby, an assistant professor of health policy and management in the university’s School of Public Health, is quoted.
California is one of just a few states that is funding coverage for many young immigrants in the deferred action program. Up to 125,000 low-income immigrants statewide could qualify under the state’s Medi-Cal program for the poor, according to a report by University of California researchers. Many in this group are expected to remain uninsured, however, because they are not aware of their eligibility, have trouble enrolling or are worried about the impact on other relatives here illegally. Claire Brindis, director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco and one of the authors of the report about the immigrant youth, is quoted. Los Angeles County-run Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is mentioned.
A new study funded by the University of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program found that smoke residue on carpeting and furniture, known as thirdhand smoke, could damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer. The researchers said the smoke — which can last for several months in households and cars — poses a particular risk to children who are more likely to touch surfaces and put items in their mouth. The article quotes Bo Hang of Berkeley Lab and Kent Pinkerton and Mike Schivo of UC Davis.
Dr. Xavier Soler, associate director of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program and the Clinical Trials Center & Airway Research Center at UC San Diego School of Medicine, is featured in this story about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of conditions caused almost exclusively by tobacco exposure in which limited or reduced airflow is the universal trait.
UC Davis Health System is featured in this story about telemedicine. Thomas Nesbitt, the associate vice chancellor for technology at UC Davis Health System, is quoted.
A pathbreaking UC Berkley study led by Brenda Eskenazi has detected developmental problems in children born to mothers who toiled in pesticide- treated fields.
In 1953, an epileptic had brain surgery to attempt to relieve the seizures he was experiencing that were making his life a nightmare. A neurosurgeon, William Beecher Scoville, removed a piece of Henry Molaison’s brain about the size of an apple, and cured him of his seizures. Unfortunately, the operation also robbed H.M. (as he came to be called) of his memory. He lived the rest of his life in the moment, but not in the wonderful sense the Zen masters mean. Rather, as he saw the same nurses and doctors day after day, he greeted them as if for the first time, each time. His brain thus became the world’s second most famous (after Einstein’s) because of what it told us about how memories are formed. H.M. and his brain were studied right up to 2008, when he died, and his brain was frozen and sliced for further research after his death. Now researchers at UC San Diego have analyzed H.M’s brain in detail in ways that were not available in the past.
This story on brain implants mentions research by neurosurgeon Itzhak Fried and his colleagues at UCLA. It also notes that engineers like Michel Maharbiz and Jose Carmena and their colleagues at UC Berkeley are developing a wireless brain interface that they call “neural dust,” where thousands of biologically neutral microsensors would convert electrical signals into ultrasound that could be read outside the brain.
See additional coverage: Washington Post
A team of UCSF obstetricians and bioengineers is building a wireless device that can be inserted into a pregnant woman’s vagina and monitor her cervix and, when necessary, send an alert that the woman may be going into premature labor. The device, which will be similar in size and shape to a diaphragm used for birth control, would be the first early-warning system for preterm labor, which is the main cause of death among newborns worldwide.
The first Teens Cook With Heart Bay Bridge Challenge, sponsored by the American Heart Association, was designed to highlight how easy it is to cook and eat well. “This is the most important kind of education,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, a UCSF pediatric endocrinologist and one of the day’s judges. “This is education they can use.”
Researchers from UC Davis have shown that electronic health records can be used effectively to predict the onset of sepsis, a leading cause of death and hospitalization in the United States.
Researchers at UC Davis now say they have developed a new method that enables them to see moving images of body joints.
People who use wearable devices and smartphone apps to track their health and fitness are generally willing to share their data with researchers, says a new UC San Diego survey that takes a narrow look at “self-trackers.” But respondents say their privacy would have to be assured. The survey was conducted by the school’s California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), which is involved in the development of both apps and wearable devices.
The University of California at San Francisco is notifying more than 9,000 people that their personal data has been compromised after desktop computers were stolen from a clinic. The computers were stolen on or around Jan. 11 from the UCSF Family Medicine Center at Lakeshore, at 1569 Sloat Blvd., according to university officials.
UC Davis veterinarians hope to partially reconstruct the jaw of a Kentucky collie that was shot in the muzzle.