Subject: Studies in the News 04-38 (June 2, 2004)


CALIFORNIA RESEARCH BUREAU
CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY
Studies in the News
Health Care Supplement


Contents This Week

Introductory Material HEALTH
   Some insured lack healthcare providers
   Smoking linked to numerous diseases
   Assistance programs for AIDS care
   Chemical dependency treatment providers
   Number of emergency room beds increasing
   Dogs may shed light on human diseases
   Health care safety net providers
   Health care market data
   Los Angeles County residents faring worse than most
   Factors in cholesterol levels
   Bogus entities selling health coverage
   Problems with potent marijuana use
   Medicare prescription drug costs for states
   Obesity and tracking calories
   Hormones and weight regulations
   Doctors using new, more expensive medicines
   Teen birthrate trend
   Flame retardants and children's health
   Risks from estrogen therapy
   Risky youth behaviors
PREVIOUSLY IN STUDIES IN THE NEWS
   Studies in the News, April 2004
   Studies in the News, May 2004
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News (SITN) is a current compilation of policy-related items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau and State Information & Reference Center to supplement the public policy debate in California's Capitol. To help share the latest information with state employees and other interested individuals, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library's website.

How to Obtain Materials Listed in SITN:

  • When available on the Internet, the URL for the full-text of each item is provided.

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; cslsirc@library.ca.gov) with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:

HEALTH

ACCESS TO CARE

A Nation's Health at Risk: A National and State Report on America's 36 Million People Without a Regular Healthcare Provider. By Dan Hawkins and Michelle Proser, National Association of Community Health Centers. (The Association, Washington, DC) March 2004. 29 p.

Full Text at: www.nachc.org/piforum/files/UnservedReportSTIB5.pdf

["Report: Many Insured Americans May Lack Health Care: An estimated 36 million Americans many of whom are insured or eligible for Medicare have no easy access to a doctor or other caregiver, according to a report.... These people are separate from the estitmated 4.3 billion who lack any kind of insurance." Yahoo.com (March 25, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3120]

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AFRICAN AMERICANS

"Lung Cancer Rates as an Index of Tobacco Smoke Exposures: Validation Against Black Male/Non-Lung Cancer Death Rates, 1969-2000." By Bruce Leistikow. IN: Preventitive Medicine, vol. 38, no. 5 (May 2004) pp. 511-515.

["New Risk Linked to Smoking by Blacks; It's Tied to High Non-Lung Cancer Death Rates in Men: It has been long known that smoking contributes to more than just lung cancer.... But a new study shows a much more dramatic link, at least among African American men.... The death rate from cancer for African American men is 39 percent higher than it is for white males in the United States. This is the first study to clearly demonstrate that the higher cancer rate is linked to smoking." Sacramento Bee (April 23, 2004) B1.}

[Request #S3121]

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AIDS

AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. By the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet. (The Foundation, Menlo Park, California) May 2004. 2 p.

Full Text at: www.kff.org/hivaids/loader.cfm?url=/commonspot/security/getfile.cfm&PageID=36216

["AIDS Drug Plans Vary Widely by State: Patients with HIV or AIDS get widely varying government aid for prescription drugs depending on where they live, according to a study.... AIDS drug assistance plans are the last resort for many patients with limited or no prescription drug coverage. The plans served 136,000 people last year, a 10 percent jump over 2002." Washington Post (May 19, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3122]

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DRUG USE

Chemical Dependency Treatment Provider Survey: Summary of Survey Questions and Answers. By Marna Geyer Miller, Washington State Institute for Public Policy. 04-02-3901. (The Institute, Olympia, Washington) February 2004. 43 p.

Full Text at: www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/04-02-3901.pdf

["This report focuses on a subset of facilities that provide chemical dependency treatment to parents in child abuse and neglect cases.... In most (70 percent) facilities, parents wait seven days or less for an assessment.... Wait times may be shorter for parents in child protection cases."]

[Request #S3124]

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EMERGENCY CARE

"Emergency Department Capacity and Access in Califonia, 1990-2001: An Economic Analysis." By Glenn A. Melnik and others IN: Health Affairs, vol. 23. no. 2 (March/April 2004) online.

Full Text at: healthaffairs.org

["California has fewer emergency rooms than in 1990, but the total number of beds available for emergency care has actually increased, a study found.... Access to nearby emergency care remained about the same throughout the 1990s." Sacramento Bee (March 25, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3125]

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GENETICS

"Genome Resources to Boost Canines' Role in Gene Hunts." By Elizabeth Pennisi. IN: Science, vol. 304, no. 5674 (May 21, 2004) pp. 1093-1095.

["Dogs May Shed Light on Human Diseases; Canines Prove to Be a Geneticist's Dream -- Ideal Models for Studying Disorders: Researchers reported that by analyzing the gene sequences of 85 different breeds, they have uncovered clues to many of the 350 hereditary canine disorders that, in turn, should shed new light on their disease counterparts in humans." San Francisco Chronicle (May 21, 2004) A2.]

[Request #S3126]

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HEALTH CARE

Federal Aid Strengthens Health Care Safety Net: The Strong Get Stronger. By John F. Hoadley and others, Center for Studying Health System Change. Issue Brief. No. 80. (The Center, Washington, DC) April 2004. 4 p.

Full Text at: www.hschange.org/CONTENT/669/669.pdf

["Two new federal initiatives -- community health center expansion and Community Access Program grants -- have improved access to care for low-income people and strengthened linkages among safety net providers, according to findings."]

[Request #S3127]

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HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY

California Health Care Market Report. By Allan Baumgarten. Prepared for the California HealthCare Foundation. (The Foundation, Oakland, California) 2004. 93 p.

Full Text at: www.chcf.org/documents/hospitals/CAHealthCareMktReport04.pdf

["This report presents a comprehensive picture of the organizations that finance, deliver, and organize health care for most Californians. It provides a comprehensive data resource on health care organizations' financial results, enrollment trends, market share, and measures of utilization and effectiveness of care." Publisher's Announcement (April 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3128]

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HEALTH STATISTICS

County Health Status Profiles 2004. By California Department of Health Services and the California Conference of Local Health Officers. (The Department, Sacramento, California) [April 2004.] 85 p.

Full Text at: dhs.ca.gov/hisp/chs/PHweek/CProfile2004/Profile2004.pdf

["Los Angeles County residents fare worse than most Californians in deaths from heart disease, diabetes, homicides and firearm injuries, according to an annual public health report card. Among the 58 counties ranked, Los Angeles County is in the middle with relatively low death rates for cancer, even lung cancer. But it ranks worst for homicides, and at 44th, it's among the worst for firearm injuries. It ranks 54th for death from coronary heart disease and 46th for diabetes deaths."]

[Request #S3129]

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HEART DISEASE

"Seasonal Variation in Serum Cholesterol Levels." By Ira S. Ockene and others. IN: Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 164, no. 8 (April 26, 2004) pp. 863-870.

["Study Finds Seasons Affect Cholesterol: Cholesterol levels tend to rise in the winter and fall in the summer -- variations that in some cases could affect treatment decisions, researchers say.... The study's findings could be useful to patients who want to try to lower their cholesterol through lifestyle changes instead of drugs." San Francisco Chronicle (April 27, 2004) A6.]

[Request #S3130]

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INSURANCE

Private Health Insurance: Employers and Individuals Are Vulnerable to Unauthorized or Bogus Entities Selling Coverage. By the U. S. General Accounting Office. GAO-04-312. (The Office, Washington, DC) 2004. 54 p.

Full Text at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d04312.pdf

["The Department of Labor and the states identified 144 unique entities not authorized to sell health benefits coverage. The number of entities newly identified increased each year, almost doubling from 31 in 2000 to 60 in 2002. Many of these entities targeted employers and policyholders in multiple states.... The 144 entities left at least $252 million in unpaid medical claims, only about 21 percent of which had been recovered at the time of GAO's 2003 survey."]

[Request #S3131]

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MARIJUANA

"Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States." By Wilson M. Compton, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and others. IN: JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Assocation, vol. 291, no. 17 (May 5, 2004) pp. 2114-2121.

["Stronger Pot, Bigger Worries: Problems with marijuana abuse have increased over the past decade, even though the percentage of people using pot has remained roughly the same, a new study says.... A 25 percent increase in serious problems with marijuana from 1992 to 2002 is likely explained by a 66 percent increase in the potency of the drug, researchers from the National Institute of Drug Abuse report." Sacramento Bee (May 5, 2004) A1.]

[Request #S3132]

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MEDICARE

Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003: Implications for States. By the National Association of State Budget Officers. (The Association, Washington, DC) 2004. 5 p.

Full Text at: www.nasbo.org/Publications/Medicare%20Prescription%20Drug%20Act.pdf

["The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 offers a new voluntary program to provide outpatient prescription drugs for those who are eligible for Medicare.... This information brief will address the aspects of the bill that are most significant for state budgets.... The benefit will be provided through stand-alone prescription drug plans or comprehensive plans under Medicare Advantage."]

[Request #S3133]

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OBESITY

Calories Count: Report of the Working Group on Obesity. By the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration. (The Adminstration, Washington, DC) March 2004. Various papings.

Full Text at: www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/owg-toc.html#execsum

["In unveiling the Calories Count program ... the Food and Drug Administration plans to make it easier for consumers to track calories and portions by improving food labels and encouraging restaurants to provide caloric information." Washington Post (March 16, 2004) F03.]

[Request #S3134]

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"Trophic Action of Leptin on Hypothalamic Neurons that Regulate Feeding, Rapid Rewiring of Arcuate Nucleus Feeding Circuits by Leptin." By Sebastian G. Bouret and others. IN: Science, vol. 304, no. 5667 (April 2, 2004) pp. 108-115.

["Hormone Linked to Changes in Brain that Controls Appetite: responding to how much fat is on an animal's body, leptin can alter brain circuitry that controls how much is eaten.... It is almost as if the brain were developing a memory for the weight it wants the animals to be, raising intriguing possiblities about weight regulation in people." Sacramento Bee (April 2, 2004) A9.]

[Request #S3135]

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PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

"Economic Implications of Evidence-based Prescribing for Hypertension." By Michael A. Fisher and Jerry Avorn. IN: JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 291, no. 15 (April 21, 2004) pp. 1850-1856.

["Doctors Favor Costly Hypertension Drugs: Doctors often prescribe newer, more expensive drugs for high blood pressure instead of the ones recommended under medical guidelines, and the practice is costing the nation more than $1 billion per year, researchers say. The researchers did not examine why, exactly, doctors go with the costlier drugs, but they speculated that aggressive drug-company advertising may be one reason." San Francisco Chronicle (April 21, 2004) C3.]

[Request #S3136]

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TEEN PREGNANCY

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative: 2003 Annual Report. By the California Wellness Foundation. (The Foundation, Woodland Hills, California) 2004. 66 p.

Full Text at: www.tcwf.org/annual_2003/ar.pdf

["Teen Births Plunge 40%: California's teen birthrate has dropped by more than 40 percent over the past decade, a trend attributed to a state-sponsered program that provides information on sexual abstinance and birth control.... California's decline in teen birth rates surpassed all of the other states except Alaska.... California is the only state that refuses to accept federal sex-education money, which requires public schools to teach only sexual abstinance and avoid providing information on contraception." Los Angeles Daily News (May 11, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S3137]

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TOXICOLOGY

Body of Evidence: New Science in the Debate Over Toxic Flame Retardants and Our Health. By Yana Kucher and Meghan Purvis, U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Environment California Research & Policy Center. (The Center, San Francisco, California) 2004. 36 p.

Full Text at: www.environmentcalifornia.org/reports/BodyofEvidenceEnvCal.pdf

["Manufacturers of common household products add Deca to plastics or fabrics to make them resist the spread of fire. A growing body of evidence shows the exposure to Deca may cause adverse health effects in developing children, including damage to the nervous system and impaired motor skills. New research also indicates Deca can break down into the types of flame retardants recently banned in the European Union and California because of their bio-accumulative and toxic properties."]

[Request #S3138]

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WOMEN

"Effects of Conjugated Equine Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women with Hysterectomy." By Women's Health Initiative Steering Committee. IN: JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 291, no. 14 (April 14, 2004) pp. 1701-1712.

["Risks From Estrogen Reported: Six weeks after a large clinical trial on estrogen therapy was abruptly terminated, scientists have published the first details of the study -- revealing that, on the average, the hormone caused 12 more strokes and six additional venous blood clots per 10,000 women each year. Researchers also reported that estrogen therapy for post-menopausal women did not provide protection against heart disease." Los Angeles Times, (April 14, 2004) A26.]

[Request #S3123]

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YOUTH

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance: United States, 2003. By JoAnne Grunbaum and others, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. (The Centers, Atlanta, Georgia) May 21, 2001. 100 p.

Full Text at: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/SS/SS5302.pdf

["High school students surveyed last year smoked less, drank less and used seatbelts and bike helmets more frequently than their counterparts 12 years earlier, according to an analysis.... Some trends are moving in the wrong direction, however. Use of cocaine and illegal steroids has increased and the numbers of those overweight remain high." Atlanta Journal-Constitution (May 21,2004) A1.]

[Request #S3139]

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PREVIOUSLY IN STUDIES IN THE NEWS
[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Health Care Supplement.]

HEALTH CARE

"Health." IN: Studies in the News, 04-32 (April 2004)

Full Text at: bancroft.library.ca.gov/sitn/admin/issue/archives/html/sitn0432.html

[Includes: "Prescription drug importation;" "Drug companies spending on research;" "Medically uninsured rolls grow;" and others.]

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"Health." IN: Studies in the News, 04-34- 04-37(May 2004)

Full Text at: bancroft.library.ca.gov/sitn/admin/issue/archives/html/sitn0434.html

[Includes: "U.S. at risk for poor care;" "Inadequate treatment increases deaths;" "Millions of low-income workers uninsured;" "Immigrants outlive U.S. born citizens;" "Prescription drug purchases;" "Disabled people can sue states;" "Immigration and the labor force;" "New York City smoking rate declines;" "Cost of covering California's uninsured;" "Profile of the uninsured;" and others.]

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