Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Kaiser Permanente’s Net Income Soars To $2B In Second Quarter

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The not-for-profit health system cites strong equity returns and an accounting change as reasons behind the strong jump. Other hospital and health system news comes out of California, Connecticut, Minnesota and Louisiana, as well.

Calif. Governor Expands State Task Force To Deal With Extremism, Demands Gender Be A Part Of Gun Violence Conversation

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California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) is taking further action following the weekend shootings. Newsom also said that leaders must address the fact that most shooters are male while talking about prevention. Meanwhile, data show that California’s new ammo background check legislation blocked more than 100 illegal sales in July. Media outlets look at how gun violence is being addressed across the country in the wake of the attacks.

Calif. Lawmakers Pass Bills To Stabilize Utilities After Wildfires, But Critics Call Law ‘A Reward For Monstrous Behavior’

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The legislation is complicated and was quickly shepherded through the California Legislature with fears of the utility companies going bankrupt if something wasn’t done. The bill will provide investor-owned utilities with at least $21 billion to pay for damage from blazes linked to their equipment beginning this summer. Utility customers will be required to pay $10.5 billion to the so-called wildfire fund. Meanwhile, new data show the town of Paradise lost over 90% of its population since a wildfire killed 85 people last year.

New Hampshire Pumps Brakes On Medicaid Work Requirements After 17,000 Found To Be Non-Compliant In First Month

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Gov. Chris Sununu is delaying the penalties tied into the legislation for 120 days as the state continues its outreach efforts to make people aware of the requirements. “Making sure we get this right is just absolutely paramount,” said Sununu. “So the idea of giving ourselves another 120 days to move forward on this and get the implementation where we need it to be, it’s not just fair to the system, but it’s fair to those individuals.” New Hampshire is just the latest state to struggle with the implementation of the work requirements.

California Rolls Out Program On Background Checks For Ammunition Purchases, While Gun Advocates Stock Up, File Lawsuit

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Background checks can help authorities discover guns that aren’t registered with the state, gun safety advocates say, adding that the program could have prevented last week’s fatal shooting of rookie Sacramento police officer Tara O’Sullivan. Meanwhile, gun owner groups complain about the new ID requirement. News on gun violence is from Missouri, as well.

Federal Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Trump Administration’s Changes To Family Planning Funding

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The panel of three Republican-appointed judges ruled that the Trump administration can implement new rules prohibiting federal family-planning grants to health clinics offering on-site abortions or referrals for the procedure. Although the decision isn’t the final say on the issue, the court predicted that the administration will come out the victor in the battle. Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, called the news “devastating” for the millions of women who rely on the program for services such as cancer screenings, HIV tests and birth control, and said the organization would immediately appeal.

Jessica Biel Ignites Firestorm Of Criticism After Speaking Out Against Controversial California Vaccination Bill

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The actress Jessica Biel spoke to lawmakers about a bill that would give the final exemption authority to a state official rather than a doctor. Biel said she’s not opposed to the vaccines themselves, but rather the fact that the state would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. The move reflected one of the realities of anti-vaccine beliefs: They are held by individuals across the country who might have little else in common, politically or otherwise.

‘We Know We Could Have Done Better’: UCLA Apologizes For How It Handled Allegations Against Former Gynecologist

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Dr. James Heaps pleaded not guilty Monday to sexual battery by fraud against two patients in 2017 and 2018. Heaps worked part time at the UCLA student health center from about 1983 to 2010, was hired by UCLA Health in 2014 and held medical staff privileges at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from 1988 to 2018. University officials first heard complaints about the doctor in 2017, but they were not publicized.

Anti-Vax Families Consider Leaving California As State Mulls Bill Restricting Vaccine Medical Exemptions

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Most health officials say it’s dangerous that medical exemptions have tripled since 2015. But others don’t agree: “If there is a one in a million chance that my child will not be able to talk or walk, then I’ll take the risk of measles, thank you very much,” said Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. More vaccination news looks at sleuths who uncover an outbreak’s origin and protection from shingles, as well.

‘We Will Hold Them Accountable’: Another Handful Of States Sue Purdue Pharma Over Alleged Role In Opioid Crisis

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California, Hawaii, Maine and the District of Columbia join a slew of other states, cities and counties suing the maker of OxyContin. “Purdue and the Sacklers traded the health and well-being of Californians for profit and created an unprecedented national public health crisis in the process,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a news conference announcing the legal action by his state.

California Governor, Legislature Headed For Showdown Over Coverage For Undocumented Immigrants

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California lawmakers want to expand coverage to everyone in the state, regardless of immigration status, but Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) says that expanding Medi-Cal to all adults over 25, who typically have higher health care costs than the young, could be financially unsustainable. The disagreement between the governor and Assembly members from his party is a rare one.

Calif.-Based Sutter Health Agrees To $30M Settlement Over Allegations Of Submitting Inflated Diagnosis Codes To CMS

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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.

Nurses Working For Stanford Health Care Prepared To Walk Out Over Expired Contract

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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.

Health Law 2019 Sees Big Plunge Among New Enrollees In California While Overall Enrollment Holds

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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.