Health Care Workforce

In Oakland, Becerra Unveils Program To Increase Health Care Diversity: U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao appeared together in Oakland on Thursday to announce a program intended to boost the diversity of the nation’s health care workers. Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Struggling Hospitals Slam Bill To Raise Minimum Wage For Health Care Workers: California Senate Bill 525 would raise the minimum wage for people who work in health care facilities or as home health aides to $25 per hour. Some hospitals and counties are against the bill, arguing that they need financial support, not a wage mandate. Read more from CapRadio.

Modern Healthcare: HHS, HRSA Establish Student Loan Repayment Program For Pediatric Clinicians
Efforts to recruit and retain clinicians caring for children and adolescents, particularly in schools and underserved areas, are getting a $15 million boost from the federal government. The need for the services is growing. Over the course of the pandemic, pediatric behavioral health in particular has been a major area of concern with delays in treatment due to a lack of qualified personnel and access to specialized care. (Devereaux, 6/12)

ER Care

KQED: Patients Are Waiting Days For Care In Some California ERs
Dr. Naomi Marks races between patients inside the emergency department at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa County. She explains a diagnosis to a woman grimacing in pain, complaining of nauseousness and a belly on fire with pain. An MRI suggests pancreatitis. “From the moment we spoke, I’ve been trying to reach a GI doctor at another hospital,” Marks said, explaining that the medical center doesn’t have a gastroenterologist, a practitioner specializing in the digestive system, on staff or on call. (McClurg, 6/16)

Racial Bias

Stat: Getting Rid Of Racial Bias In Clinical Calculators Proves Challenging
Racial bias is everywhere in medicine, including the calculators doctors commonly use to predict a patient’s risk of disease and inform their treatment. A growing movement is encouraging medical specialties and hospitals to reconsider the use of race in those tools. But a new study shows that removing bias isn’t as simple as taking race out of the equation. (Palmer, 6/16)

Children’s Health

AP: Teens With Severe Obesity Are Turning To Surgery And New Weight Loss Drugs, Despite Controversy
John Simon III was a hungry baby, a “chunky” toddler and a chubby little boy, his mother said. But by age 14, his weight had soared to 430 pounds and was a life-threatening medical condition. Nine months after weight-loss surgery that removed a portion of his stomach, John has lost about 150 pounds, boosting his health — and his hopes for the future. “It was like a whole new start,” said John, who will start high school in California this fall. (Aleccia, 6/16)

The Washington Post: Siblings Of Child Abuse Victims Also Should Be Examined, Experts Say
When children are brought to a doctor with suspected injuries related to abuse or neglect, they often undergo MRIs and other screenings designed to find internal injuries. Now, an international group is calling for pediatricians to examine siblings and other children who may have been exposed to abuse. In a consensus statement in JAMA Pediatrics, a group of 26 pediatricians and radiologists with experience working with cases of suspected child abuse calls for the routine examination of “contact children” — siblings, children who live with a suspected victim and those cared for by suspected perpetrators. (Blakemore, 6/10)

CNN: Fathers’ Role In Breastfeeding And Infant Sleep Is Key, Study Finds
Fathers matter. A new study — a rare effort that focuses solely on the father’s involvement in an infant’s life — shows a striking link between the support that dads offer and better infant outcomes. The research sought to answer several questions about paternal participation in breastfeeding and the use of safe sleep practices for babies. The results showed that fathers play a crucial role in both — and it highlights the need for bolstered parental leave policies in the United States, according to the study, which published Friday in the journal Pediatrics. (Wattles, 6/16)

The Hill: Oncologists Urge Congress To Act On Cancer Drug Shortages
The House Energy & Commerce subcommittee on health held a hearing on Tuesday to examine avenues for improving preparedness against public health security risks. The hearing occurred amid an ongoing shortage of chemotherapy drugs in the U.S. ... “Frustration and outright anger do not begin to describe how I feel in reading heartbreak stories of patients with cancer not being able to receive treatment due to shortages of decades-old, low-cost generic drugs,” Ted Okon, executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance, told the House panel on Tuesday. (Weixel and Choi, 6/14)

CIDRAP: Life-Threatening Cancer Drug Shortages Are Result Of A Cascade Of Troubles
The current shortage of widely used cancer drugs—the result of a convergence of ongoing problems—is putting adults' and children's lives at risk in the United States and globally, experts say. ... Supplies of at least 20 chemotherapy drugs and adjuvants (drugs given to augment primary treatment or prevent adverse effects) are limited, including amifostine, capecitabine, carboplatin, cisplatin, dacarbazine, dexamethasone, docetaxel, fludarabine, fluorouracil, hydrocortisone injection, leucovorin, methotrexate, octreotide, ondansetron, paclitaxel, palifermin, and streptozocin, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and azacytidine, cytarabine, lutetium lu 177 vipivotide tetraxetan, per the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (Van Beusekom, 6/14)

Mental Health

CBS News: Taking Stimulants Like Adderall Without ADHD Decreases Productivity, Study Finds
Taking stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin without having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, the condition for which they are commonly prescribed, can result in decreased productivity, according to a new study. The medications have been widely used by people who don't actually have an ADHD diagnosis but believe they might boost focus or productivity. (Moniuszko, 6/15)

AP: Suicides And Homicides Among Young Americans Jumped Early In Pandemic, Study Says
The homicide rate for older U.S. teenagers rose to its highest point in nearly 25 years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the suicide rate for adults in their early 20s was the worst in more than 50 years, government researchers said Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report examined the homicide and suicide rates among 10- to 24-year-olds from 2001 to 2021. (Stobbe, 6/15)

Big Think: Most Americans Unaware Of 988 Mental Health Helpline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline relaunched last year with a new number, yet few Americans are aware of the helpline and its purpose. (Dickinson, 6/14)

Reuters: US Drug Overdose Deaths Top 109,000 In The Past Year
More than 109,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending January 2023, a slight increase from the previous year, according to provisional data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Wednesday. The figure is up 0.7% from 108,825 overdoses recorded in the 12-month period ending January 2022, according to U.S. data. (Srinivasan and Mandowara, 6/14)

Stat: Teens Seeking Addiction Care Unlikely To Get Standard Medication
Adolescents who seek treatment for opioid addiction at an inpatient facility are more likely to be offered horseback riding than given full access to a common, highly effective addiction medication. According to a new research paper, just one out of every eight residential treatment facilities open to patients ages 16 or 17 offers full access to buprenorphine. By contrast, nearly two-thirds of adult treatment facilities offer the medication. (Facher, 6/13)

CNN: About 15% Of US Children Recently Received Mental Health Treatment, CDC Data Shows
Nearly 15% of children in the United States were recently treated for mental health disorders in 2021, according to new research from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The finding, released Tuesday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, suggests that mental health disorders – such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or anxiety – are common among school-age children. (Howard, 6/13)


California Healthline: Biden Admin Implores States To Slow Medicaid Cuts After More Than 1M Enrollees Dropped
Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra is asking states to make more of an effort to keep eligible Medicaid recipients enrolled. He particularly fears children losing health insurance coverage. (Recht, 6/13)

Politico: Compromise Struck To Preserve Obamacare’s Preventive Care Mandate
The Texas conservatives challenging Obamacare’s preventive care mandate have reached a tentative compromise with the Justice Department that preserves free coverage for a range of services — from syphilis tests to depression screenings. The agreement, which still needs approval from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, keeps coverage intact nationwide while the case proceeds. The Biden administration, in exchange, pledged not to enforce the mandate to cover HIV prevention drugs and other preventive care services against the employers and individual workers who sued claiming that doing so violated their religious beliefs. This means that even if the Affordable Care Act rules are upheld on appeal, the government can’t penalize the challengers for refusing to cover required services. (Ollstein, 6/12)