CDPH in the News, July 2017

CDPH in the News

California assisted suicide patients are mostly white, well-educated

from Sacramento Bee

California residents choosing legal assisted suicide are disproportionately white and well-educated, new figures show. Since California’s End of Life Option Act went into effect on June 9, 2016, hundreds of terminally ill patients have weighed the decision to end their own lives. In 2016, 111 individuals died from ingesting aid-in-dying drugs, according to the California Department of Public Health. Ninety more had been prescribed drugs but ultimately did not take them, while a total of 258 individuals had begun the end-of-life option process.
Of the 111 individuals, 87 percent were at least 60 years old and 44 percent relied solely on Medicare for health insurance. Participants were also overwhelmingly – 89 percent – white. Additionally, 58 percent had attained an associate degree or higher level of education. Highly educated whites tend to have higher household incomes.

County health program a breath of fresh air for students with asthma

from Daily Press

In an effort to help students dealing with asthma, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors recently approved funds for a special health-based program. The board approved funding for the county program that will include the “Breathmobile,” considered to be an asthma clinic on wheels that will serve students at 14 High Desert schools, 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood reported.Approximately 313,000 children and adults in the county were diagnosed with asthma in 2014, with nearly 73,000 children visiting the doctor and another 10,000 hospitalized, according to California Breathing, a division of the California Department of Public Health’’s Environmental Health Investigations Branch. Many medical experts believe the reasons for the high asthma numbers in the county stem from the high poverty rate, adults not properly administering medications, lack of medical insurance and pollution.

California health officials battle state’s largest hepatitis A outbreak in 2 decades

from Healio Infectious Disease News

The California Department of Public Health is working with local health officials in San Diego and Santa Cruz counties to contain the state’s largest hepatitis A outbreak in 2 decades. As of July 18, officials identified 251 cases and five deaths in San Diego, and 27 cases in Santa Cruz since the outbreak began in November, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency reported that 69% of cases in the county required hospitalization. A CDPH representative told Infectious Disease News that the overall case count is larger than that of all other hepatitis A outbreaks in California combined over the past 20 years. There were seven hepatitis A outbreaks in the state from 1998 to 2015, totaling 224 cases and one death.

Valley Fever cases spiked statewide last year

from 23 ABC News Bakersfield

There were more Valley Fever cases in California for 2016 compared to 2015, according to the California Department of Public Health. The CDPH said Thursday that 5,372 new cases of Valley Fever appeared last year. That is about 13.7 cases reported per 100,000 people.
Valley Fever, otherwise known as coccidioidmycosis or cocci, is a fungal infection. In California, it predominantly affects counties in the Southern Central Valley and Central Coast. People become infected when they inhale spores in certain soils. Last year’s statewide spike was the highest number of reported cases since 2011. More than 2,200 cases in 2016 were reported in Kern County, according to the CDPH.

How public health is addressing Humboldt County’s drug problem

from Times Standard News

It’s no secret that Humboldt County has a drug problem. The 2017 California Department of Public Health and California Conference of Local Health Officers County Health Status Profile shows that county drug related or induced death rates have more than doubled since the 1999 County Health Status Profile.
DHHS senior program manager Sue Grenfell administers the department’s alcohol and other drugs program. She said the county offers a substance abuse treatment program and outpatient mental health programs to fight overdose deaths.
“We try to help them with whatever their goals are, either reducing or eliminating their substance abuse,” Grenfell said. The two outpatient substance abuse programs DHHS runs are Healthy Moms, which helps pregnant mothers or mothers with young kids address their substance abuse issues, and Humboldt County Programs for Recovery, she said.

Napa LGBTQ program prepares for Upvalley expansion

from Napa Valley Register

Napa County’s Upvalley communities are about to have a new presence dedicated to working with LGBTQ youth. Thanks to a $1 million state grant, Napa’s LGBTQ Connection will be expanding its services so that it can support youth in Upvalley and Sonoma Valley in addition to Napa and Santa Rosa. LGBTQ Connection was awarded the grant from the California Department of Public Health last year to expand mental health-related services over the next five years. The money started flowing in this past March.

Dialysis industry needs to be reformed: Guest commentary

from San Bernadino County Sun

Three days a week a machine in a dialysis clinic does what my kidneys can no longer do – clean my blood so my body doesn’t poison itself from the inside out. During that time, I’ve learned a lot about the dialysis industry and its problems, and how much it needs to be reformed. As a former social worker, I know patients must speak out if we’re going to change conditions in our clinics.
The clinic staff spends most of their time scrambling to hook patients up to equipment and get them out the door as quickly as possible. A single dialysis worker can be left to monitor 10 or more patients at the same time. With so many patients in their charge, they can’t safely help patients use the restroom, much less monitor falling blood pressure, prevent fainting or other complications.
That has to change. Legislation moving through the California Assembly now would improve the safety of dialysis clinics and improve care for the patients like me who count on them for life-saving treatment. The legislation also requires 45 minutes between patients to allow more time for them to recover and for staff to sanitize the equipment. Federal regulators have warned the California Department of Public Health that allowing too little time between patients creates a risk of “cross contamination” as blood from dialysis patient after patient circulates through the same filtering machine.