A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
Hospital rating systems differ on best and worst, The New York Times
Four popular national rating systems used by consumers to judge hospitals frequently come to very different conclusions about which hospitals are the best — or worst — potentially adding to the confusion over health care quality, rather than alleviating it, a new study shows. The analysis, published on Monday in the academic journal Health Affairs, looked at hospital ratings from two publications, U.S. News & World Report and Consumer Reports; Healthgrades, a Denver company; and the Leapfrog Group, an employer-financed nonprofit organization. The Health Affairs analysis was done by a group of well-respected researchers, all of whom have recently served as experts for the Leapfrog Group. Leapfrog did not finance the study, and the study does not single out any one rating system as a model. The researchers include Dr. Ashish K. Jha, a professor of health policy at Harvard, and Dr. Robert M. Wachter, a professor at UC San Francisco.
14 Calif. hospitals among Truven Health’s list of 100 best facilities, California Healthline/Sacramento Bee
Fourteen California hospitals made Truven Health Analytics’ 22nd annual list of the “100 Top Hospitals.” For the annual list, which began in 1993, Truven evaluates U.S. hospitals’ performance in various areas of patient care and operations. The California hospitals that made the list of the best teaching hospitals included UC San Diego Health System.
Superbug outbreaks prompt calls for mandatory reporting, Los Angeles Times
Well before the recent superbug outbreaks at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai hospitals, federal health officials had labeled deadly CRE bacteria an urgent threat. Yet there are still no national reporting requirements for the antibiotic-resistant superbug, and only 20 states have imposed any rules. California is not among them. The incidents at UCLA and Cedars are “just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, deputy chief of the acute communicable disease control program at the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “It’s really a problem that is much more widespread.” Now outbreaks across the nation have prompted calls for mandatory reporting to stem the spread of CRE and to make the public more aware of the risks.
A second top Los Angeles hospital has reported an outbreak of drug-resistant “superbug” infections, and dozens more potential exposures, from procedures performed with a fiber-optic instrument called a duodenoscope. The notice from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of four such infections and 67 more patients who were at risk coincided with a hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, reporting a similar outbreak involving at least five infections and more than 280 potential exposures. The Cedars-Sinai cases, like the larger number of infections and potential exposures reported last month at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles, involved a family of germs called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. The bacteria identified on Wednesday in the Hartford Hospital outbreak was a drug-resistant strain of E.coli.
CNN has learned that the manufacturer of the endoscope involved in two superbug deaths at UCLA never obtained permission to sell the device, according to an official at the Food and Drug Administration. Olympus started selling its TJF-Q180V duodenoscope in 2010, but the FDA didn’t notice until late 2013 or early 2014 that the company had never asked for clearance to put it on the market, according to Karen Riley, deputy director of strategy for the FDA’s Office of External Affairs.
Ebola outbreak fades, but UC Davis and Kaiser call preparation worthwhile, Sacramento Business Journal
A story about Ebola preparations at UC Davis and Kaiser.
Isolation can take emotional toll on volunteers at risk of Ebola, Los Angeles Times
This story about medical workers’ experiences being quarantined after returning from relief work in areas affected by Ebola in West Africa features comments by Dr. Matthew Waxman, associate clinical professor, department of emergency medicine, Los Angeles County Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, who recently returned from providing patient care at the Ebola Treatment Center in Lunsar, Sierra Leone.
Darrell Steinberg lands UC Davis post, The Sacarmento Bee
Former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is joining the ranks of academia – at an institution funded by a measure he championed while in the Legislature. Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, will become director of policy and advocacy for the new UC Davis Behavioral Health Center of Excellence, the school announced March 4. The position is unpaid. The $7.5 million UC Davis center is funded by Proposition 63, California’s tax on millionaires to fund programs for the mentally ill. Steinberg, a longtime advocate for mental health programs, wrote the 2004 measure. “With UC Davis as a partner, my goal is to strengthen and unite our voice for mental and behavioral health in California,” Steinberg said in a prepared statement. “We will connect and inform the next generation of policy leaders, researchers, health professionals, providers and our communities.” Steinberg will be a visiting professor at Davis’ Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
UC Davis biology dean to lead Tennessee medical college, The Sacramento Bee
James Hildreth, dean of UC Davis’ College of Biological Sciences, will leave the university in June to become president of Tennessee’s Meharry Medical College in Nashville.
Three-legged dog to get 3-D-printed limb from UC Davis students, The Sacramento Bee
Hobbes the terrier mix can do a lot, for a dog with three legs. He can climb stairs, graze the backyard and jump roughly 4 feet in the air – more than high enough to clamber onto the bed with his owner, Andrea Bledsoe. Even so, Bledsoe and a few of her fellow UC Davis graduate students are determined to give him a fourth leg. They’ve cast him in a plaster mold, fitted him for harnesses and tried a few materials in an effort to come up with a design for a prosthetic limb, which they plan to produce with a 3-D printer. The project took root after Bledsoe, a veterinary student, adopted Hobbes from a pet clinic, where he was taken about two years ago with a badly broken front left leg. The break had healed incorrectly, and the veterinary surgeons were forced to amputate, she said.
Red hot, The Scientist
Scientists have a fever for genome tinkering, and the latest thing shooting up temperatures is CRISPR. The number of publications referring to CRISPR/Cas technology has mushroomed since
its co-invention by UC Berkeley molecular and cell biology professor Jennifer Doudna, who won a 2015 Breakthrough Prize for it. In a testament to the method’s popularity, a recent guest lecture at Vanderbilt University by Doudna packed a 300-person classroom and a 160-person overflow room—which then itself overflowed, recalls attendee Douglas Mortlock, a research assistant professor at Vanderbilt who blogs about advances in CRISPR technology.
Recruiting retired physicians to help solve a looming doctor shortage, The Washington Post
An online program created in collaboration with the UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty aims to help address the nation’s shortage of primary care physicians, a critical health care issue highlighted by the Association of American Medical Colleges on March 3. Created by educators at the medical school and primary care physicians who are renowned experts in physician training and assessment, Physician Retraining and Reentry (PRR) provides physicians of all backgrounds, retired and otherwise, the tools needed to offer adult outpatient primary care in their current practices or at understaffed clinics across the country.
David Geffen donating $100 million to New York’s Lincoln Center, Los Angeles Times
Since his heyday as a music executive and entertainment mogul, David Geffen has given away hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations that now bear his name. In Los Angeles, there is Geffen Playhouse and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Geffen Contemporary in downtown. Now his name will be associated with a major cultural institution in New York. On Wednesday, Lincoln Center announced that Geffen is donating $100 million toward the major renovation of Avery Fisher Hall, which will be renamed David Geffen Hall in September at the start of the New York Philharmonic’s 2015-16 season. The naming gift isn’t the the largest sum the Brooklyn-born, Malibu-ensconced Geffen has given away. In 2002, he made a $200-million, unrestricted donation to UCLA’s medical school, which was renamed after him. A decade later, he gave another $100 million to UCLA to create a scholarship fund for medical students. He is the university’s largest individual donor.
Stepping up the fight against cancer, Orange County Register
Researchers at UC Irvine Health and across the globe are studying new ways to attack cancer cells directly. Richard Van Etten, director of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Irvine, highlighted some of the cutting-edge research into new treatments during a recent lecture at Newport Beach Central Library.
Why not to fear the impact of virtual reality goggles on your long-term health, The Washington Post
Last week, Magic Leap chief executive Rony Abovitz caused a stir when he said that many virtual reality goggles can cause permanent neurological deficits. Although it’s true that virtual reality systems can trigger a range of unwanted symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and nausea, there’s no evidence that wearing stereoscopic 3-D goggles creates permanent health issues. Martin Banks, a professor of optometry and vision science at UC Berkeley, is quoted.
SF General investigates security breach involving patient records, San Francisco Chronicle
A former UCSF doctor who worked at San Francisco General Hospital from 2005 to 2013 wrongfully removed copies of patient records from the medical center, public health officials said March 6. UCSF reported the security breach to the San Francisco Department of Public Health on Feb. 13. The incident is under investigation and authorities don’t yet know how many patients were affected or when the files were taken. The public health department is working with UCSF to alert patients whose records were taken and retrieve the files. Patients will receive written notification from the department if they were part of the security breach.
Jahi McMath: Oakland girl’s family sues hospital, surgeon, Oakland Tribune
Jahi McMath’s family plans to file a lawsuit against UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, full of new details that bring to life their harrowing hours inside a hospital room after her botched surgery. Officials from the hospital, aside from earlier court declarations, have not commented because the family would not release them from federal patient confidentiality laws.