A sampling of news media stories involving UC Health:
Viewpoints: UC threatened with another strike, The Sacramento Bee
For more than a year, the University of California has bargained in good faith with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, offering its service workers above-market wages, good working conditions and excellent health and pension benefits, writes UC Vice President for Human Resources Dwaine Duckett. Since October, the university has signed collective bargaining agreements with seven bargaining units representing nearly 27,000 nurses, research and technical employees, health care professionals, police officers, lecturers and librarians. Yet a contract with AFSCME remains elusive because the union has shown a far greater appetite for conflict than for reasonable compromise. Read a responding op-ed from AFSCME 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger.
Op-ed: We are giving ourselves cancer, The New York Times
Despite great strides in prevention and treatment, cancer rates remain stubbornly high and may soon surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States. Increasingly, we and many other experts believe that an important culprit may be our own medical practices: We are silently irradiating ourselves to death, write Rita F. Redberg, a cardiologist at UC San Francisco Medical Center, and Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a UC San Francisco radiologist.
Students at UC Santa Barbara will be able to get an experimental meningitis vaccine that parents had been clamoring for after outbreaks there and at Princeton University, university officials said Friday. UCSB scheduled vaccine clinics for Feb. 24 through March 7. It protects against meningitis B, a strain not included in the standard meningitis vaccine given to teenagers. More than 5,200 students at Princeton University in New Jersey received the emergency vaccine in December after an outbreak of a slightly different strain of meningitis B there sickened eight students associated with the school since March. Four students at UCSB were sickened by a slightly different strain of meningitis B.
Who will replace Susan Desmond-Hellmann at UCSF: committee to sift candidates, San Francisco Business Times
Who will be UC San Francisco’s pick to replace Susan Desmond-Hellmann as chancellor? Will interim Chancellor Sam Hawgood have a chance? Will UCSF and the University of California look for a new chancellor at a top U.S. rival — a small pool, since UCSF is by any measure in the top 10, or even the top handful of U.S. academic medical centers? Or, as with Desmond-Hellmann, who came to UCSF in 2009 direct from a senior role at biotech giant Genentech, will the Regents of the University of California raid a top biotechnology company, pharmaceutical behemoth or perhaps a big national foundation? It’s too early to tell, is the short answer. Hawgood was confirmed as interim boss just last week, and University of California President Janet Napolitano on Friday said an advisory committee of regents, faculty, students, staff and foundation and alumni leaders would oversee the search, with the help of headhunting firm Isaacson, Miller.
New UCSF women’s hospital named for wife of Intel co-founder, The Associated Press
UC San Francisco says it is naming its future women’s hospital after a health care philanthropist who is the wife of Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore. UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann announced Wednesday that the hospital scheduled to open in about one year in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco will be called the UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital. Desmond-Hellmann says the building will bear Betty Moore’s name in recognition of the $50 million she and her husband have donated to the project.
See additional coverage: San Francisco Business Times
Stanford gets $40 million for stem cell, genomics work, San Francisco Chronicle
California’s stem cell funding agency on Wednesday gave a $40 million boost to Stanford for work on using data-intensive genetic analysis to better understand disease mechanisms and improve how drugs and other therapies are tailored to individual patients. In addition to the $40 million for genomics research, the stem cell agency on Wednesday approved $27 million in grants for projects at 11 California institutions, including Stanford, UCSF, UC Berkeley and the Gladstone Institutes in the Bay Area. Overall, UC researchers received 19 grants, with UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz participating in the genomics center. See UC story.
See additional coverage: ABC 7
Drug researchers create PACT for faster clinical trials statewide, San Francisco Business Times
A dozen California health centers and medical research institutions have signed on to a nascent program to create a sort of one-stop shop for drug developers to cut overhead costs and accelerate the pace of their clinical trials. Five University of California campuses, including UC San Francisco and Davis, as well as Stanford University, Children’s Hospital Oakland, Dignity Health and Sutter Health have signed on to the nonprofit Partnership to Accelerate Clinical Trials, or PACT. The program originated through Dr. Clay Johnston, UCSF’s associate vice chancellor of research, as a Bay Area-centric effort to help drug developers launch and manage multiple clinical trial sites. But it has caught fire statewide, attracting UCLA, UC Irvine and UC San Diego as well as Loma Linda University, Scripps Health and Sutter Health.
Death, where is thy bling?, The Economist
This story about body-brokers quotes Brandi Schmitt, the director of anatomical services at the University of California.
New health care law: Hospitals pressured to slash costs, improve quality of care, San Jose Mercury News
The Affordable Care Act pushes health care providers to reduce costs and improve care quality, but some observers say the law’s requirements are causing hospitals to sell their facilities or make other changes to stay in business. Just this month in the Bay Area, the financially strapped nonprofit Daughters of Charity Health System, based in Los Altos Hills, announced it will sell its six hospitals — four in the Bay Area and two in Los Angeles. And last week, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Oakland formally linked arms to help broaden their services and cut costs. In October, Sutter Health transferred ownership of the beleaguered San Leandro Hospital to the Alameda Health System. Mark Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, is quoted.
San Pablo hospital’s fight for survival grows more desperate, Contra Costa Times
Despite two voter-approved parcel taxes in the past decade to keep it afloat, Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo remains on life support, the victim of a radically changed health care system that has largely stripped public hospitals of their most profitable patients. Doctors Medical could close this year if new funding doesn’t materialize soon, and officials warn that the results would be catastrophic for West County — including predicted emergency wait times of as long as 10 hours if the 41,000-plus annual visits to Doctors’ emergency room are diverted elsewhere. Hospital leaders and health industry experts also say the Affordable Care Act has exacerbated the short-term funding problems — by driving down reimbursement rates for Medicare — but that it could also fast-track the search for a lifesaving partnership. DMC has acknowledged that it is in talks with UC San Francisco Medical Center. Dylan Roby of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is quoted.
Study shows decline in emergency services use among newly insured, California Healthline
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research yesterday released a study that lends credence to one of the primary contentions of health care reform — providing health care coverage can reduce expensive emergency department use. “Once you provide coverage to a population and provide preventive services, particularly for chronic conditions, you can expect a decline in emergency room visits over time,” said Nadereh Pourat, the center’s director of research and lead author of the study.
Garden Grove Hospital fined for lapse in patient care, Orange County Breeze
On Friday, the California Department of Public Health released a list of eight hospitals statewide that received administrative fines for lapse in patient care. Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center was one of the eight. Two other Orange County hospitals were listed: Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, and St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. In addition, two hospitals in Los Angeles County were listed: Los Angeles Community Hospital and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The remainder of the listed hospitals were in Kern, Merced and Santa Clara counties.
100 Hospital and Health System CIOs to Know, Becker’s Hospital Review
Virginia McFerran, chief information officer for the UCLA Health System and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Jim Murry, chief information officer of UC Irvine Medical Center, have been named among Becker’s Hospital Review’s “100 Hospital and Health System CIOs to Know.”
Losing to live: Woman turns to surgery to help shed hundreds of pounds, The Riverside Press-Enterprise
Jennifer Garcia, a 29-year-old mother of two young children, turned to UC Irvine Health bariatric surgery specialists to help her lose at least half of her 555 pounds. Bariatric surgeon Dr. Ninh Nguyen put the Moreno Valley woman on a rigorous six-month diet-and-exercise program to get her weight closer to 500 pounds, then he performed a vertical sleeve gastrectomy at UC Irvine Medical Center in October 2013. Now 115 pounds lighter, Garcia shares her journey to a longer life.
KatieRose Hamilton, 13, never knows when the symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia will hit her. When they do, the sensation of knives stabbing the side of her head can last for hours. KatieRose, who manages the pain with medication, has come from her home in Virginia in the hope that UC Irvine Health neurosurgeon Dr. Mark E. Linskey can surgically fix the abnormalities in her brain that cause the condition, also known as the “suicide disease.” Linskey has performed several operations on other children like Hamilton.
Patient H.M.’s brain has been sliced and digitized by UC San Diego researchers, leading to new insights for scientists.
UCSF study shows how the brain sorts sound to make language, San Francisco Chronicle
Scientists at UC San Francisco have uncovered some tantalizing clues into the complex process of how the brain hears and interprets human voices, and transforms an influx of meaningless sounds into language. The UCSF team, which also included linguists from UC Berkeley, found that when patients listened to random sentences read out loud, their brains quickly and with great precision sorted the sounds based on very clear criteria.
Young mom who hemorrhaged after giving birth meets 7 strangers who saved her life (video), CBS Los Angeles
This story reports on a reunion organized by the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center at which a mother who almost died after hemorrhaging during childbirth at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center met the donors whose blood and platelets helped saved her life.
Testosterone supplements linked to heart attacks in new study (video), CBS Evening News
Findings from a collaborative study by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health about the use of testosterone therapy, the external application of testosterone in men, received wide coverage by the media. The study reported a twofold increase in the risk of a heart attack in men under 65 and with a history of heart disease, shortly after beginning treatment.
Infertility, diabetes, obesity and the mystery of PCOS, The Wall Street Journal
This story reports on a study by Dr. Daniel Dumesic, UCLA division chief and professor of reproductive endocrinology and infertility, on polycystic ovary syndrome, which makes it difficult for women to become pregnant.
UCLA researchers develop new calculator to assess appropriate treatment for heart failure, California Health Report
Researchers at UCLA have developed a new “risk calculator” to help predict heart failure patients’ chances of survival for up to five years. The goal of the calculator is to help physicians determine how aggressively to treat a patient for the condition. The new calculator was a better predictor of outcomes compared to two other available calculators, says Tamara Horwich, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine and cardiology at UCLA, and one of the study’s authors.
A photographer, who survived a four-year migraine, will share photos with UCLA medical students illustrating her experience Monday. Rachael Jablo’s exhibit is the latest in a series of displays which are a part of UCLA’s innovative Doctoring curriculum designed to raise awareness of different illnesses from the patient’s perspective.
Dr. Daniel Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute and co-founder of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, is interviewed about his book “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain,” which explores teenage behavior and the development of the adolescent brain.
Ex-players fear dementia-based on unproven tests, The Associated Press
This story highlights a brain-imaging study in which UCLA researchers found elevated levels of the Alzheimer’s disease-related tau protein in the brains of retired football players who had suffered concussions.
UC Davis Health System emails compromised, The Sacramento Bee
Hackers compromised the email accounts of three UC Davis doctors last month, potentially gaining access to personal or medical information on as many as 1,800 patients, the university announced Monday. The UC Davis Health System said it has begun notifying the 1,800 patients who may have been affected. The university said the hackers weren’t able to penetrate patients’ electronic medical records or gain access to any credit card or Social Security numbers.