CDPH in the News, June 2016

CDPH in the News

Public Health Department Opens Data to the People
from ArcNews
ArcGIS Open Data helps more than 3,000 organizations around the world share their authoritative data in multiple open formats. The solution, hosted and managed by Esri, comes free with ArcGIS Online. It enables users to set up public-facing websites where members of the community can search for and download open data. Charged with optimizing citizens’ health and well-being, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) uses ArcGIS Open Data to integrate its open data and share it with other experts and the community. CDPH’s open datasets contain meaningful location information, which the organization can put into ArcGIS Online to develop further. In addition to enabling CDPH GIS professionals to use the data, having the datasets in an open data portal allows geospatial experts and developers worldwide to make good use of it as well.

As legal age rises to 21 for vapes, e-cigarettes, businesses forced to adjust
from Fresno Bee
To vape or not to vape? For anyone under 21, the answer just got a whole lot simpler. Californians must now be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco products or electronic smoking devices, which was previously legal at 18. (The law doesn’t affect active duty military personnel, whose minimum age remains 18.) Lawmakers also reclassified e-cigarettes and vapes as tobacco products, regardless of whether they contain tobacco or nicotine.That means electronic smoking is now banned in places where traditional smoking already was prohibited, such as public transportation, restaurants and schools. “Long term, we expect to save lives,” said Dr. Karen Smith, California Department of Public Health director. “California is taking a big step forward in preventing a new generation of young people from becoming addicted to nicotine.”

Federal Court orders California soy company to cease production due to food safety violations
from FDA News
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California entered a consent decree of permanent injunction on Friday, June 24, 2016, between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Wa Heng Dou-Fu & Soy Sauce Corp. requiring the business to immediately cease manufacturing and distributing food until it comes into compliance with federal food safety laws. The company, owned by Peng Xiang ‘Martin’ Lin and Yuexiao ‘Opal’ Lin, and doing business as Wa Heng Dou-Fu & Soy Sauce International Enterprises out of Sacramento, California, distributes soy products, including tofu and soy drink. Legal action was sought after the FDA documented repeated violations of federal food safety laws. These violations were repeat observations from previous inspections by the FDA, which received assistance from the California Department of Public Health. The FDA also identified several environmental samples taken from the company’s facility that tested positive for Salmonella.

Investigation Underway After Sharp Grossmont Hospital Shared Private Patient Videos With Third Party
from Lexology
On May 12, 2016, Sharp HealthCare issued a statement regarding its inadvertent dissemination of videos depicting fourteen female patients undergoing obstetric surgeries. Sharp provided the videos to a local attorney defending a physician who is accused of stealing sedative medication from Sharp Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, California. The privacy breach may constitute a violation of California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), both of which prohibit the disclosure or use of medical information without patient authorization. Sharp has notified the California Department of Public Health and the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, who will investigate the breach. If the California Department of Public Health determines that the breach constituted a violation of CMIA, the hospital could be fined up to $250,000. (Civ. Code, ยง 53.36.) HIPAA imposes similar – but more costly – fines for violations.

Lawsuits Charge California Department of Public Health With Placing AIDS/HIV Patients at Risk
from Press Release Rocket
A longtime provider of health services to California AIDS/HIV patients announced today it has filed two lawsuits against the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) alleging that attempts to switch the program to new, out-of-state vendors in less than three weeks could put patients at risk. The suits, filed Tuesday by Oakland-based Ramsell Corporation in Sacramento County Superior Court (Case Numbers: 34-2016-80002371 and 34-2016-80002373), seek to keep the current AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) in place until a judge can review the lawsuits. The suits claim CDPH’s transition is a hasty and “hectic attempt” to quickly shift responsibility from Ramsell, which has successfully overseen the ADAP program for 19 years, to out-of-state vendors. The result “will unnecessarily place at risk the patients who are dependent on the program for life-saving drugs,” according to the suits.

Large quantities of counterfeit apparel and illegal foreign pharmaceuticals seized in Sacramento-area searches
from ICE News Releases
Federal and state investigators on the California Attorney General’s Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force seized hundreds of boxes of illegal foreign pharmaceuticals and suspected counterfeit clothing Tuesday during the execution of seven search warrants in the Sacramento area. Tuesday’s enforcement actions were carried out by more than 50 special agents and investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the California Department of Public Health’s Food and Drug Branch; the California Franchise Tax Board; and the California Department of Justice eCrime Unit. The enforcement actions follow a months’ long probe into the suspected sale of illegal foreign prescription medications, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and counterfeit clothing by an area couple and their adult son. Inside the family’s homes and three area businesses – Fashion Moda in North Highlands, Victoria’s Health Products in Citrus Heights, and Elena’s Health Products in West Sacramento – investigators discovered and confiscated foreign pharmaceuticals, clothing, and more than $10,000 in cash.