1. Mental Health

CalMatters: Gavin Newsom Gives Ground On Mental Health Services Tax
In a major about-face, Gov. Gavin Newsom gave ground this week on his signature mental health plan, aiming to appease critics who have argued his overhaul would starve youth services and other county-run programs of millions of dollars of tax revenue. The proposal is the second time in as many years that Newsom has advocated for significant changes to the state’s behavioral health system, following the passage of last year’s controversial CARE Court law. This year’s proposal aims to update the Mental Health Services Act, a 20-year-old ballot initiative that has raised billions of dollars per year for mental health programs through a tax on high incomes. (Hwang, 8/17)

KFF Health News: Parents See Own Health Spiral As Their Kids’ Mental Illnesses Worsen
After her teenage daughter attempted suicide and began to cycle through emergency rooms and mental health programs during the past three years, Sarah Delarosa noticed her own health also declined. She suffered from mini strokes and stomach bleeding, the mother of four in Corpus Christi, Texas, said. To make things worse, her daughter’s failing behavioral and mental health caused Delarosa to miss hours from her job as a home health aide, losing out on income needed to support her family. (Rayasam, 8/14)

Los Angeles Times: Eating Disorder Surge In Medi-Cal Patients Shows Gaps In Care
The crisis is particularly acute for teenagers, many of whom are hospitalized repeatedly for complications of malnutrition while waiting to be approved for mental health care. “Kids with eating disorders who have Medi-Cal, they get into this vicious cycle,” Accurso said. “Some of these kids have well over 10 hospitalizations.” (Sharp, 8/11)

Axios: Telehealth Didn't Drive Up ADHD Prescriptions At Large Health Centers: Study
While the surge in prescriptions for ADHD drugs during the pandemic has often been attributed to expanded telehealth access, new research finds there has been little difference in prescribing rates for in-person or virtual care at large health centers since 2020. (Dreher, 8/17)

NBC News: Emergency Room Doctors Beg For Help Treating Children With Mental Health Illnesses
Three influential groups of pediatricians and emergency medicine providers are pleading for more support and resources as the number of children and teenagers with mental health concerns overwhelm emergency departments nationwide. "The scope of this problem is really great," said Dr. Mohsen Saidinejad, a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. "But our ability to solve it is not there." (Edwards, 8/16)

The New York Times: ADHD Medication Shortage Continues As The School Year Begins
Parents and caregivers across the country are spending hours each month hunting down pharmacies with A.D.H.D. medication in stock and asking their doctors to either transfer or rewrite prescriptions, a process many equate to having a second job. Others pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for name-brand drugs that are sometimes more readily available but, unlike generics, are not covered by their insurance. Some children end up taking similar but less effective medications or go without medication for months at a time because their families do not have the extra time or cash. (Caron, 8/15)

  1. Medi-Cal

Axios: How Medicaid Disenrollments Could Squeeze Some Insurers
Big Medicaid-managed care plans that serve the majority of the program's beneficiaries are seeing membership slip as more states redetermine program eligibility — a trend that could eat into some of the insurers' bottom lines, according to Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. If the remaining Medicaid enrollees as a group are sicker overall, plans may have to eat some of the higher cost of care unless states adjust their payment rates upward. (Bettelheim, 8/14)

State Reconsidering Who Is Eligible For Medi-Cal: About 15.5 million Californians — including over 150,000 people across the Bay Area — will have their Medi-Cal eligibility reconsidered. As of June, 21% of Medi-Cal recipients in California — or approximately 225,000 people — have lost coverage as a result of the redetermination process, according to the California Department of Health Care Services. Read more from CBS/Bay City News Service.

  1. Women’s Health

Reuters: What Does The US Abortion Pill Ruling Mean For Patients?
If the ruling is upheld, doctors could still prescribe the abortion pill, but with restrictions. Patients would no longer be able to obtain the medication through a telehealth visit, and it could not be sent by mail. Instead, patients would need to visit a doctor in person to be administered mifepristone, again to be administered misoprostol and a third time for follow-up. The drug would also be approved only for use in the first seven weeks of pregnancy, rather than 10 weeks. (Pierson, 8/16)

  1. Schools

EdSource: California’s Dramatic Jump In Chronically Absent Students Part Of A Nationwide Surge
EdSource’s analysis of California data shows increases in chronic absenteeism in nearly every district. Chronic absence is defined as missing 10% or more of the school year. For students on a typical 180-day school calendar, this totals to about one month of missed school. There were significant increases in all groups of districts — city, suburbs, town and rural — with the highest chronic absenteeism rate of 35.7% in districts serving rural areas. (Rosales, Seshadri and Willis, 8/15)

  1. Disparities

NBC News: Latino Kids In Anti-Immigrant States Linked To Poorer Health: Study
Latino children living in states with more anti-immigrant laws and policies — and the resulting inequities in access — were linked to higher odds of chronic physical or mental health conditions, according to a study published Tuesday in the medical journal Pediatrics. (Flores, 8/15)

  1. LBGTQ+ Health

The Texas Tribune: In Texas Gender-Affirming Care Lawsuit, Doctors Say Treatments Are Safe
Medical experts pushed back against Texas lawmakers’ assertions that puberty blockers and hormone therapies are experimental and put young transgender patients at risk as they testified Tuesday in a hearing that seeks to block a new law banning such medical treatment for kids. Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, a doctor who treats adolescents and has been providing gender-affirming care for 17 years, said the body of medical research demonstrates these treatments have a high success rate in improving mental health outcomes of trans youth. But in her clinical work, the evidence is more obvious. (Melhado, 8/15)

AP: States That Protect Transgender Health Care Now Try To Absorb Demand
States that declared themselves refuges for transgender people have essentially issued an invitation: Get your gender-affirming health care here without fearing prosecution at home. ... Already-long waiting lists are growing, yet there are only so many providers of gender-affirming care and only so many patients they can see in a day. For those refuge states — so far, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Washington and Vermont, plus Washington, D.C. — the question is how to move beyond promises of legal protection and build a network to serve more patients. (McMillan and Schoenbaum, 8/15)

AP: More States Expect Schools To Keep Trans Girls Off Girls Teams
As children across the U.S. head back to classes and practices for fall sports, four more states are expecting their K-12 schools to keep transgender girls off their girls teams. Kansas, North Dakota and Wyoming had new laws in place restricting transgender athletes before classes resumed, and a Missouri law takes effect at the end of this month, bringing the number of states with restrictions to 23. (Hanna, 8/14)

  1. Children’s Health

CNN: How Water-Bottle Fill Stations Can Impact Children’s Health, According To A New Study
Making water more accessible to kids leads to an increase in hydration and a decrease in children being overweight, according to a new study. And the change didn’t require a focus on children’s weight. The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, included more than 1,200 students across 18 schools in California’s Bay Area. (Holcombe, 8/10)