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A new report points to a corroded well lining at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility near Los Angeles as the culprit behind the environmental catastrophe in 2015 and 2016. The investigation also says SoCalGas, the company that runs the facility, failed to properly inspect 60 other well leaks.
The Department of Justice alleges that Sutter and its affiliates submitted diagnosis codes that inflated the risk scores for certain beneficiaries in their care. “With some one-third of people in Medicare now enrolled in managed care…plans, large health care systems such as Sutter can expect a thorough investigation of claimed enrollees’ health status,” said Steven J. Ryan, special agent in charge with the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The union for 3,700 registered nurses working at Stanford Hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and other outpatient facilities voted to authorize a strike that could begin as early as April 21. Its contract negotiations with Stanford Health Care management have stalled over wages, workplace safety and other issues.
The federal decision to drop the mandate might be why there was a greater-than-expected drop off, officials said. California is considering adding a state mandate. Other news on the health law looks at the decline of employer-based coverage, problems when searching for insurance online, a push for Congress to keep advocating for the health law and more.
“We’re already getting very close to the early stages of fire season,” said one former National Park Service superintendent. “Training is not happening right now, hiring is not happening for the summer season — all of that hiring is not happening.” Other news on the shutdown looks at the impact to rural health programs.
There’s a great disparity in abortion access in the country. In an attempt to address that imbalance, abortion rights activists created a program in 2016 to match clinics needing doctors with providers who could travel to work. The Los Angeles Times follows one of those doctors.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom projects a massive $21.5 billion surplus as growth slows for Medi-Cal. State legislature news comes out of New York, Georgia and Virginia, as well.
The rules, which are set to go into effect Monday, relax requirements under the health law that birth control services be covered at no additional cost. California is challenging in court the new guidelines that would allow more categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, to back out of the requirement by claiming religious objections. Meanwhile, lawmakers clash over a rule that would change how individuals are billed for abortion coverage.
The state’s Senate and the Assembly have struggled in the past to find common ground. “I don’t want to overpromise on that right out of the gate,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said, even as Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) announced his chamber would be taking up a bill protecting the coverage. Other health law news comes out of Connecticut and California, as well.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) says he will also create a state surgeon general position via executive order and make California the first state to cover immigrants without legal status who are younger than 26 through Medi-Cal. Newsom did not provide details during his inauguration speech about how he is going to pay for these health care goals, though Democrats in the Legislature are generally supportive of his ideas.
Florida has also been hit with multiple natural disasters recently: extreme drought but also Hurricane Michael. And New York can expect to be hit by four climate crises at a time by 2100 if carbon emissions continue at their current pace, a new study finds. While wealthy nations will be burdened with the costs of such disasters, poorer nations will experience great loss of life from them, the authors say. Meanwhile, California’s poor air quality is drawing attention to the lasting negative health toll it can take.
The Camp Fire has destroyed more than 15,000 structures, including more than 11,700 homes, according to the Monday evening incident report. As survivors begin returning home, media outlets report on updates from the scene of the disaster, from evacuees’ rough living conditions to the transmission line that may be linked to the blaze.
Over the weekend, the death toll rose to at least 77. Hundreds of search-and-recovery personnel are involved in the effort, going to homes when they receive tips that someone might have died there. In other news from the fires: Malibu’s “Rehab Riviera” scrambles to evacuate addiction treatment patients; air quality in California remains dangerous and scientists warn that such toxic smog will only become more common; fire survivors return to their homes; and more.
Beyond the current fires burning in California, doctors, scientists and public health officials are concerned that the changing face of wildfires will pose a much broader health hazard than just bothersome smoke. In other news, the death toll continues to climb from the Camp Fire, and the number of unaccounted people soars to over 600. Meanwhile, a norovirus outbreak threatens the health of those who have been evacuated, and residents gets mixed messages about mask safety.
Since the 1970s, NRA has been a big player in politics, pouring millions into lawmakers’ campaigns. But the organization may finally have a formidable foe. More news on gun violence comes out of Florida, California and Virginia, as well.
Calif. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom ran in part on his support for a single-payer system in his state, but no matter how he moves forward he’s bound to anger a section of his base. His situation is emblematic of the dilemma the rest of the party faces as the 2020 campaign starts up.
“I can’t imagine that he is alive, but we have not stopped looking. We are still calling the shelters every day. We are calling the hospitals every day,” said Angela Loo of her stepbrother. Media outlets report on the efforts to find missing people, stories of the victims, public health threats from the smoke, and more on the California fires.
Nearly 70 rural hospitals have shuttered since 2013, in a trend that studies associate with states that did not expand Medicaid. In other state hospital news: a three-day strike at five University of California teaching hospitals and a Missouri center reviews its postpartum mental health services.
Previously, the California Nurses Association, which represents 100,000 nurses across California, focused on the state’s efforts to shift to single-payer health care. But the organization is rebranding its efforts to go national. In other news, a new poll reveals single-payer’s popularity with younger Americans.
Media outlets report on news from California, Texas, Maryland, New Hampshire, Washington, Ohio, Minnesota and Florida.