A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
Western Health Advantage expanding?, Sacramento Business Journal
Sacramento’s home-grown HMO has filed a bid with state regulators to expand into Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. Western Health Advantage filed a proposal with the California Department of Managed Health Care in June and has augmented the request since then. The nonprofit health plan is owned by the UC Davis Health System, Dignity Health and the NorthBay Healthcare system in Fairfield. Members can use services offered by any of the three owners.
Davis neurosurgeon at center of controversy provokes critics and defenders, The Sacramento Bee
The public is divided on their opinion of J. Paul Muizelaar, the UC Davis neurosurgeon currently under investigation for performing experimental treatment without proper permission from the university or federal government. Muizelaar stepped down last month as chairman of the neurosurgery department, pending the outcome of the investigation.
New carbon emissions rule could cost UC, CSU millions, The Orange County Register
Large campuses in the University of California and California State University systems are bracing for the implementation of new state rules that will force them to cut carbon emissions or pay as much as $28 million a year to offset their greenhouse gases. For years, businesspeople have been complaining that the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as Assembly Bill 32, will decimate California’s economy and force companies to move out of state. The program, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, sets a gradually shrinking cap on emissions by the state’s biggest polluters while also establishing a market for carbon credits, which will be initially distributed through an auction and free handouts to many emitters. In the UC system, five campuses and one medical center emit enough greenhouse gases to qualify for the cap-and-trade program, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
One stage down, many more to come, California Healthline
Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley summed up the state of health care in California pretty succinctly at Tuesday’s health task force forum: “With the economy down in California, there are more people needing services,” Dooley said, “and less money to provide it.” That conundrum is at the heart of the creation of the Let’s Get Healthy California task force, which finished its first stage of discussions Tuesday. Dooley said the goal of the task force is to develop a 10-year blueprint for improving health care in California. The article quotes Richard Scheffler, professor of health economics and public policy at UC Berkeley.
Health for sale as retail clinics expand in California, California Healthline
Consumers without a primary care doctor are increasingly visiting walk-in retail medical clinics for simple acute and preventive care, according to a new study. Visits to retail clinics increased by fourfold nationwide from 2007 to 2009, according to a study released last week by the RAND Corporation. The retail health market appears to have “tapped into patients’ needs,” study authors said. Most care delivered by retail clinics was limited to common acute ailments – such as upper respiratory or urinary tract infections — as well as flu shots. The most common retail clinic patient was a young adult without a primary care physician. In Los Angeles, CVS Caremark’s walk-in medical clinic subsidiary, MinuteClinic, announced a new partnership with UCLA Health System last month. University physicians serve as medical directors for 11 clinics in the Los Angeles area staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
UCLA’s MBA program wants to give up state funds (audio), NPR Morning Edition
A proposal would make the UCLA Anderson School of Management more autonomous and financially independent of the University of California system. But critics — including some faculty — worry the move means the school will stray from its public mission. Some see Anderson as a bellwether for how other publicly funded graduate programs, like law and medical schools, might cope with future cuts.
Poll: Most California ethnic voters welcome health reform, New America Media
Health care reform — enshrined in the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) — enjoys widespread support in California among African American voters (88 percent) and about two-thirds of Korean and Latino voters support the law, according to a Field Poll voters released this week. The article quotes Gerald Kominski, professor of health policy and management and director or the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Calif. start-up developing ‘better’ titanium implant, DrBicuspid.com
A California start-up company is working to leave its mark on dental implant technology with a new type of titanium implant that could expand the market by making it usable in patients with medical conditions that undermine their ability to support dental implants. Nasseo, founded in April by two UC San Diego graduates to develop novel surface-modification technologies to address dental and orthopedic implant failures, recently won top prize in UCSD’s Entrepreneur Challenge, where they competed against other seed-stage start-ups for a $57,000 award of cash and professional services.
Scott Lippman takes helm at UCSD Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla Light
A feature on Scott Lippman, the new director of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.
UCSD deepens tie between muscle pain, statins, San Diego Union-Tribune
A new UC San Diego study provides fresh evidence that anti-cholesterol statins can cause muscle pain and weakness in people who take them, especially those who use higher doses of such drugs.
The doctor will Skype you now, Bloomberg Businessweek
Videoconferencing is becoming more popular, and the field of telemedicine is starting to expand as more technology becomes available. “Insurers have dropped their resistance to reimbursing doctors for interacting with patients through telemedicine, which has boosted use,” says Thomas Nesbitt, UC Davis associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances.
High school football: Concussion prevention and treatment a priority, The Sacramento Bee
Concussions are still a hot-button issue in sports, particularly football, and more coaches and medical personnel are working to take care of all their athletes at every age. “You have someone like Jeff Tanji at UC Davis, the Sacramento King’s doctor, who might see Tyreke Evans on a Tuesday and a high school freshman football player on a Wednesday,” said Mike Lamb, former football player and radio personality. The UC Davis Medical Center has been trained to provide a high level of diagnosis and treatment to high school athletes.
Andrew Fuligni, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA’s Semel Institute, is featured in coverage of his study showing that sacrificing sleep for extra study time, whether it’s cramming for a test or plowing through a pile of homework, is actually counterproductive and may lead to more academic problems, not less, on the following day.
As circumcision declines, health costs will go up, study projects, Los Angeles Times
This story notes that a journal editorial by Arleen Leibowitz, professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a researcher at the UCLA AIDS Institute; and Katherine Desmond, an associate director at the UCLA Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services, recommends that all state Medicaid programs cover male circumcision.
Israeli research may help severely paralyzed speak, Jerusalem Post
This article reports on research led by Dr. Itzhak Fried, professor of neurosurgery, neurology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, with scientist from Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology, that unravels how our brain cells encode the pronunciation of individual vowels in speech.
Meditation reduces loneliness, boosts immune system in seniors, The Huffington Post
Steve Cole, UCLA professor of medicine and psychiatry at the Semel Institute and a member of the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology; and Dr. Michael Irwin, UCLA professor of psychiatry and the director of the Cousins Center, are featured in this article about their study showing that practicing meditation helped seniors reduce feelings of loneliness and led to a decrease in the expression of genes associated with chronic inflammation.
Brain Series 2: Depression (video), Charlie Rose
Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of the Semel Institute and physician-in-chief of UCLA’s Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital, is interviewed about the latest research on the brain and depression.
Better food seen as key in AIDS treatment, San Francisco Chronicle
Inadequate access to nutritious food is associated with increased hospitalizations and emergency room visits among HIV-positive individuals, and ensuring that patients have enough to eat may need to be a priority for the doctors and nurses who treat them, UCSF researchers say.
Prescription for obesity, San Francisco Chronicle
Jena Graves was diagnosed with lupus and given a daily prescription of prednisone, a corticosteroid that mostly kept the chronic autoimmune disorder under control. But it had unintended side effects. Over five years, Graves’ weight ballooned from around 120 to 272 pounds. What Graves didn’t know was that prednisone belongs to a class of medications known as obesogenic drugs. They are designed to treat a diverse range of ailments, such as lupus, diabetes and depression, but, in ways still not fully understood, can also increase a person’s appetite or make them more likely to retain fat, contributing to a small to severe weight gain. Whatever form they take, obesogenic drugs are an unwitting contributor to the U.S. obesity epidemic in part because they are so common, medical experts say. Graves received treatment at UCSF. A related story on Graves also mentions UCSF.
Triclosan in antibacterial soaps studied, San Francisco Chronicle
A UC Davis study released last week showed that triclosan reduces muscle strength in mice and fish, and researchers theorize it may also be a problem for humans.