Subject: Studies in the News 05-05 (March 8, 2005)


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


Contents This Week

Introductory Material HEALTH
   Racial disparities in healthcare
   Protecting the public from bad doctors
   Regulation of acupuncture
   National health information network
   Heavy metal and imported Ayurvedic herbal medicine
   SCHIP allotments redistributed
   Medicaid payments and dental care
   New Medicaid option for sickle cell anemia
   Implementing disease surveillance systems
   Institutions violating nurse-to-patient ratios
   McDonalds' trans fat settlement
   Understanding nutrition in California
   Medicare prescription drugs
   State of tobacco control
   Reorganizing state health agencies
   Ecological context of substance abuse treatment outcomes
   Influenza vaccinations and the elderly
   Availability of the influenza vaccine
HUMAN SERVICES
   Key indicators of older Americans
PREVIOUSLY IN STUDIES IN THE NEWS
   Studies in the News, July 2004
   Studies in the News, November 2004
   Studies in the News, December 2004
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, 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

AFRICAN AMERICANS

The Health Impact of Resolving Racial Disparities: An Analysis of U.S. Mortality Data. By Steven H. Woolf and others. IN: American Journal of Public Health, vol. 94, no. 12 (December 2004) pp. 2078-2081.

["Much of the billions of dollars spent in the United States to improve health outcomes is directed at the 'technology' of care - the race among private industries and academia to develop better drugs, devices, and procedures. Far less money and infrastructure is devoted to improving health by enhancing equity - achieving equal care for equal need - and eliminating disparities in the treatment and outcomes of those with similar conditions."]

[Request #S20050501]

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HEALTH CARE

Initial Report: Medical Board of California Enforcement Program Monitor. By Julianne D’Angelo Fellmeth, Center for Public Interest Law University, San Diego School of Law, and Thomas A. Papageorge, Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. (The Center, San Diego, California) November 1, 2004. 370 p.

Full Text at: www.cpil.org/download/MBC/MBC_Enforcement_Monitor_Report_2004.pdf

[“The state's Medical Board isn't doing enough to protect the public from bad doctors, according to a report ordered by the state, which found that it takes years for the agency to investigate complaints, and the public is kept in the dark in the meantime…. In addition, the report found, the agency often compounds the problem by failing to disclose negative information about doctors, including medical malpractice settlements, misdemeanor convictions and board decisions to refer investigations to prosecutors.” San Francisco Chronicle (December 24, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S20050503]

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Regulation of Acupuncture: A Complementary Therapy Framework. By Little Hoover Commission. (The Commission, Sacramento, California) September 2004. 100 p.

Full Text at: www.lhc.ca.gov/lhcdir/175/report175.pdf

[“In 2002, the Commission was asked by the Governor and Legislature to assess some long-standing and contentious issues regarding the State’s regulation of the acupuncture profession. Specifically SB 1951 and AB 1943 requested that the Commission review the scope of practice and educational requirements for acupuncturists, the process for accrediting acupuncture schools and for examining licensees.”]

[Request #S20050504]

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Collaborative Response. By the Markle Foundation and others. Issued to U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Department of Health and Human Services. (The Foundation, New York, New York) January 2005. 54 p.

["A group of 13 health and information technology organizations gave the Bush administration its recommendations for a road map for a national health information network. The group's report, suggesting the principles that should guide the creation of such a network, made an emphatic call for open, nonproprietary technical standards for communication across the network." New York Times (January 19, 2005) 1.]

Full report. 123 p.:
http://connectingforhealth.org/resources/collaborative_response/collaborative_response.pdf

Press Release. 1 p.:
http://connectingforhealth.org/news/pressrelease_011805.html

[Request #S20050505]

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LEAD POISONING

"Heavy Metal Content of Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine Products." By Robert Saper and others. IN: Journal of American Medical Association, vol. 292, no. 23 (December 23, 2004) pp. 2868-2873.

["More than a dozen 'Ayurvedic' herbal remedies imported from India and Pakistan were found to contain harmful levels of the heavy metals mercury, lead and arsenic according to U.S. researchers.... The report ... urged consumers of these products to get screened for heavy metal poisoning." Reuters News (December 15, 2004) 1.]

[Request #S20050506]

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MEDICAID

FY 2002 SCHIP Redistributions and Retentions. By Federal Funds Information for States. Issue Brief. 05-01. (FFIS, Washington, DC) January 19, 2005. 5 p.

["States have three years to use their federal allotments; unused funds are redistributed to states that have fully used their allocations.... While many of the 33 jurisdictions still have prior-year allotments to apply to their current SCHIP programs, some states for the first time are reaching the point of exhausting all available funds. The FY 2002 redistribution has been structured to redirect funds to such states."]

[Request #S20050502]

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Does Raising Rates Increase Dentists’ Participation in Medicaid? The Experience of Three States. By Renalyn Cuadro and Anna Scanlon, National Conference of State Legislatures. Issue Brief. (NCSL, Denver, Colorado) 2004. 19 p.

Full Text at: www.ncsl.org/print/health/forum/dentalreimbursementrates_04.pdf

[“States can do a number of things to make Medicaid participation more attractive for dentists. However, these efforts are not likely to increase provider participation without adequate reimbursement rates. The experience of Alabama, Ohio, and Michigan demonstrate that, when states couple their efforts with an increase in dental reimbursement rates, dentists respond and patient access is improved.”]

[Request #S20050507]

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New Medicaid Option for Sickle Cell Anemia. By Federal Funds Information for States. FFIS Issue Brief. 04-55. (FFIS, Washington, DC) November 16, 2004. 2 p.

["The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 creates a new Medicaid option for treatment of sickle cell anemia and for state efforts to identify, treat and educate individuals who are likely to be eligible. It also creates a demonstration program for the development and establishment of system mechanisms for prevention and treatment."]

[Request #S20050508]

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NATURAL DISASTERS

Tracking Silent Killers: Are State and Local Governments Effectively Implementing Disease Surveillance Systems? By The Center for Digital Government. (The Center, Folsom, California) 2004. 16 p.

Full Text at: media.centerdigitalgov.com/reg2view/CDG04White_Paper_NEDSS_-_Final.pdf

["Recent outbreaks of diseases like SARS, avian influenza and monkey pox - as well as the predictions of the potential for massive disease outbreaks following the tsunami in southeast Asia - are serving as wake-up calls for governments around the world, and in particular, U.S., state and local government leaders. Should a disease outbreak occur locally, how well would a state or local jurisdiction and its affiliated health organizations be able to respond?" Center for Digital Government (February 14, 2005).]

[Request #S20050509]

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NURSES

"Fifteen of 28 Institutions Checked by the State this Year after Complaints were Filed were Found to be Violating Required Nurse-to-Patient Ratios." By Jia-Rui Chong. IN: Los Angeles Times (December 31, 2004) Various pagings.

State regulators discovered that more than half the hospitals they checked were in violation of California's strict nurse-to-patient ratios. The inspection reports indicate that hospitals are having the greatest difficulty meeting ratio requirements in specific departments: emergency rooms, medical-surgical wards and telemetry units where heart patients are monitored." Los Angels Times (December 31 2004) B1.]

[Request #S20050510]

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NUTRITION

Plaintiff's Press Release on Settlement of McDonalds' Trans Fat Litigation. By Ban Trans Fat. (Ban Trans Fat, San Francisco, California) February 11, 2005. 1 p.

Full Text at: www.bantransfats.com/images/Trans%20Fat%20Litigation%20Plaintiffs%27%20Press%20Release.pdf

["McDonald's Corp. made front-page news nearly 2 1/2 years ago when it promised to cut the level of dangerous trans fats in its cooking oil. But the oil change never came. This week, the fast-food giant agreed in Marin County Superior Court to pay $7 million to the American Heart Association for a super-sized public education campaign about trans fats, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, the substance that makes crackers crisp and is found in the fryers of most fast-food chains." San Francisco Chronicle (February 12, 2005) 1.]

[Request #S20050511]

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Understanding Nutrition: A Primer on Programs and Policies in California. By D. F. Reed and Kate A. Karpilow, California Center for Research on Women and Families, Public Health Institute. (The Center, Berkeley, California) 2004. 52 p.

Full Text at: www.ccrwf.org/publications/NutritionPrimer.pdf

["This primer offers a statistical profile of the weight, dietary practices, and physical activity of Californians, a review of the relevant federal and state governmental structures and laws, a description of the programs supporting nutrition and community food security, and a review of the key policy issues."]

[Request #S20050512]

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PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Medicare Prescription Drugs: Medical Necessity Meets Fiscal Insanity. By Joseph Anntos and Jagadeesh Gokhale. CATO Institute. (CATO, Washington, DC) February 9, 2005. 8 p.

Full Text at: www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp91.pdf

["Medicaid is facing severe financial strains that threaten its future viability. Medicare spending is increasing at twice the rate of the gross domestic product, and according to Medicare's chief actuary, the program is facing a breathtaking funding shortfall of $62 trillion - nearly six times larger than the much-discussed shortfall in Social Security. The newly enacted Medicare prescription drug benefit could cost more than $700 billion over the next 10 years and will only add to the program's financial woes.... Congress should revisit the Medicaid prescription drug program and insist on significant market-based reforms, not merely an ever expanding array of benefits."]

[Request #S20050513]

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SMOKING

State of Tobacco Control: 2004. By the American Lung Association. (The Association, New York, New York) January 2005. 123 p.

["The report graded federal and state laws on four fronts: state spending for tobacco prevention and control, smoke-free laws, cigarette tax rates and youth access laws. (It) showed California received 'A' ratings in laws banning cigarette sales to children and smoking in public places, but continued to lag in state funding to boost smoking control and prevention programs." Pasadena Star News (January 6, 2005) 1.]

Full report. 123 p.:
http://www.lungusa2.org/embargo/sotc04/sotc_2004final.pdf

California summary. 1 p.:
http://lungaction.org/reports/state-summary04.tcl?geo_area_id=06

[Request #S20050514]

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STATE HEALTH POLICY

Reorganizing State Health Agencies to Meet Changing Needs: State Restructuring Efforts in 2003. By National Governors Association. (The Association, Washington, DC) December 2004. 31 p.

Full Text at: www.nga.org/cda/files/0411HEALTHAGENCIES.pdf

["This report provides a nationwide snapshot of state health agency organizational structures and examines state efforts to restructure these agencies during 2003. It also describes the focus, goals, and overall outcomes of restructuring efforts."]

[Request #S20050515]

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SUBSTANCE ABUSE

The Ecological Context of Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes: Implications for NIMBY Disputes and Client Placement Decisions. By Jerry O. Jacobson, Pardee RAND Graduate School, RAND Corporation. (The Corporation, Santa Monica, California) 135 p.

Full Text at: www.rand.org/publications/RGSD/RGSD183/RAND_RGSD183.sum.pdf

[“Treatment is an important part of the war on illicit drugs. However, most of the more than 1.1 million annual admissions to treatment end in client dropout. Why treatment often ends this way is largely unknown, scholars have examined a number of factors related to client characteristics and program components. Absent from research on treatment outcomes to date is location: the physical, social, and economic attributes of neighborhoods where treatment clients live and receive treatment.”]

[Request #S20050516]

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VACCINES

"Impact of Influenza Vaccination on Seasonal Mortality in the U.S. Elderly Population." By Lone Simonsen and others. IN: Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 165, no. 3 (February 14, 2005) pp. 265-272.

["Giving flu shots to every school-age kid in the United States may be the best way to prevent influenza deaths among the elderly, according to a study.... More than half of elderly patients in the U.S. today get flu shots, but influenza still kills more than a half-million people over age 65 every year.... Vaccinating the elderly does not prevent enough deaths. [The study] recommends that every child ages 5 to 18 get an annual flu shot to help reduce the spread of flu." Sacramento Bee (February 15, 2005) A1.]

[Request #S20050517]

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"Will Vaccines Be Available for the Next Influenza Pandemic?" By Klaus Stohr and Marja Esveld. IN: Science, vol. 306, no. 5705 (December 24, 2004) pp. 2195-2196.

["Will vaccines be available for the next influenza pandemic? Yes, but there is no doubt that current production capacity is insufficient to meet ... the world need for vaccine during an influenza pandemic. The better we prepare now, the more vaccine will eventually be available, hopefully also for nonproducing countries."]

[Request #S20050518]

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HUMAN SERVICES

ELDERLY

Older Americans 2004: Key Indicators of Well-Being. By the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics. (The Agency, Washington, DC) November 2004. 160 p.

Full Text at: www.agingstats.gov./chartbook2004/OA_2004.pdf

["This report provides a unified picture of the health and well-being of older Americans by providing 37 key indicators categorized into five broad groups: population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care."]

[Request #S20050519]

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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

HEALTH CARE

"Health" IN: Studies in the News, 05-2 (January 2005).

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2005/0502.htm

[Includes: "African Americans and health care;" "Reimbursement to pharmacies for prescription drugs;" and others.]

[Request #S20050520]

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"Health." IN: Studies in the News, 05-4 (February 2005)

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2005/0504.htm

[Includes: "Health coverage for California's children;" "Raising children with special needs at home;" "Overweight in preschool children;" "Diet quality of American preschoolers;" "SCHIP and dental care access;" and others.]

[Request #S20050521]

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"Health" IN: Studies in the News, 04-83 (December 2004).

Full Text at: www.library.ca.gov/SITN/2004/0483.htm

[Includes: "State of aging and health in America;" "Children and health insurance coverage;" "California employer health benefits survey;" "Problems with access to physicians;" "Nurses association sues over staff ratio regulations;" "Junk-food ban lowers campus revenues;" and others.]

[Request #S20050522]

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