Subject: Studies in the News 07-19 (April 17, 2007)

Studies in the News
Health Care Supplement

Contents This Week

Introductory Material HEALTH
   Particulate matter threatens women's lungs
   Stroke risk with even slight air pollution
   Antipsychotic drugs and Alzheimers
   Healthcare needs of cancer survivors
   Simplifying SCHIP and Medicaid enrollment rules
   Causes of death within ethnic groups
   Drug use and dependence in prisons
   Egg donors for stem cell research
   Stem cell research guidelines
   Fraud in paramedic licensing
   Government pays growing share of health costs
   Health care quality rankings
   Patient-centered communication
   Self-pay markets in health care
   Healthcare spending eases off
   Healthcare system scores low on efficiency
   Consumer-driven health plans
   State rankings for heart disease and stroke
   Worst hospitals for care of pneumonia
   Bay Area clinics nab top honors
   States lag with electronic medical records
   State health IT initiatives
   Internet users seek health information
   Consumer-directed health care costs and quality
   Health savings accounts underfunded
   Consumer-directed health plans
   Disability access services survey
   Rating HMO's and medical groups
   High-risk, high cost medicaid beneficiaries
   Medi-Cal births to undocumented mothers
   Study reveals more Medicare coverage confusion
   Promoting healthy eating
   Natural brain substance linked to Parkinson's
   Tobacco use among adults
   Youth smoking increasing
   Court ruling reignites tobacco lawsuits
   Recommendation for shingles vaccine
   Teens harmed by alcohol use
   Youth health in jeopardy
   High-risk behavior among teens
   Deeply depressed teens
   Studies in the News, January - April 2007
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; 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:



“Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution and Incidence of Cardiovascular Events in Women.” By Kristin A. Miller and others. IN: New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 356, no. 5 (February 1, 2007) pp. 447-458.

[“Tiny particles in polluted air -- much of it caused by tailpipe emissions -- significantly increase the risk of heart disease for older women. The findings raise new questions about whether Environmental Protection Agency pollution limits are tough enough. Researchers have known that particulates can contribute to heart and lung disease -- with women perhaps more susceptible, perhaps because of their smaller blood vessels and other biological differences.” Los Angeles Daily News (January 31, 2007) 1.]

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“Associations of Fine and Ultrafine Particulate Air Pollution With Stroke Mortality in an Area of Low Air Pollution Levels.” By Jaana Kettunen and Timo Lanki. IN: Stroke, vol. 38, no. 2 (February 2007) pp. 918-922.

[“Low environmental levels of fine and ultrafine particulate matter, as well as carbon dioxide, increase the risk of stroke, but the heightened risk occurs only during warm weather months, researchers report. During the warm season, every 6 microgram per cubic meter increase in current-day levels of fine particulate air pollution was associated with a 6.9 percent increase in deaths from stroke. ‘Our results suggest that the levels of combustion-originating particles rather than coarse particles explain the association between particulate matter and stroke. Thus, regulatory efforts should be focused on reducing emissions of combustion particles.’ ” World Environment News (February 19, 2007) 1.]

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"Effectiveness of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease." By Lon S. Schneider. IN: New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 355, no.15 (October 12, 2006) pp. 1525-1538.

[“Widely prescribed anti-psychotic drugs do not help most Alzheimer's patients with delusions and aggression, ... the first major study on sufferers outside nursing homes concludes. The finding could increase the burden on families struggling to care for relatives with the mind-robbing disease at home.... The medications were ineffective or had side effects that included grogginess, worsening confusion, weight gain, and Parkinson's-like symptoms such as rigidity and trouble walking.” Associated Press (October 12, 2006) 1.]

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From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition. Edited by Mary Hewitt and others, Committee on Cancer Survivorship, National Cancer Policy Board. (National Academy Press, Washington, DC) 2006. 506 p.

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["The ranks of cancer survivors in the United States are 10 million strong and growing....The transition from active treatment to post treatment care is critical to long-term health.... Assessment tools and screening instruments for common late effects are also needed to help identify those who have late effects and who may need extra surveillance or interventions."]

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Resuming the Path to Health Coverage for Children and Parents: A 50 State Update on Eligibility Rules, Enrollment and Renewal Procedures, and Cost-Sharing Practices in Medicaid and SCHIP in 2006. By Donna Cohen Ross, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities For Kaiser Commission On Medicaid and the Uninsured. (The Commission, Washington, DC) January 9, 2007. 6 p.

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["A few states broke new ground by setting in motion plans to provide health coverage for all children. States continued to adopt proven strategies to simplify enrollment and renewal, and to reinstate simplified procedures that were retracted when their budgets were tight. Several states have announced fundamental coverage expansions and a significant number have allocated funds to reactivate outreach activities. A pressing issue is whether the federal government's decisions will help advance such efforts or place obstacles in their way. "]

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Death and Dying in California. By the California HealthCare Foundation. (The Foundation, Oakland, California) 2006. 30 p.

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["While heart disease is the number one cause of death for Whites, Latinos, and African-Americans. Asians are most likely to die of cancer. Stroke is the third most likely cause of death for all but Latinos, who die more frequently from accidents, the majority of which are motor vehicle-related."]

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Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004. By Christopher J. Mumola and Jennifer C. Karberg, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. (The Bureau, Washington, DC) 2006. 12 p.

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["Prior drug use among state prisoners remained stable on all measures between 1997 and 2004…. For the first time, half (50%) of federal inmates reported drug use in the month before their offense, up from 45% in 1997…. At the time of their arrest, drug dependent or abusing state prisoners (48%) were also more likely than other inmates (37%) to have been on probation or parole supervision."]

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Assessing the Medical Risks of Human Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research: Executive Summary. By the Committee on Assessing the Medical Risks of Human Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research, Institute of Medicine. (The Committee, Washington, DC) 2007. 23 p.

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[“Women who donate their eggs to be used in embryonic stem cell research face minimal risks, mostly from the hormones used to stimulate their bodies to release multiple eggs. In studies of women who used these hormones to get eggs that could be used for in vitro fertilization, between 2 percent and 5 percent developed a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Up to now, researchers working with embryonic stem cells have obtained them from embryos left over at fertility clinics when women undergoing in vitro fertilization didn't need them all. Because the supply of leftover eggs is limited, and because they come mostly from white, upper-middle-class women, scientists at universities including Harvard and UC-San Francisco plan to recruit women willing to donate their eggs for research.” Bloomberg News (February 7, 2007) 1.]

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Guidelines for the Conduct of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. By the International Society for Stem Cell Research. (The Society, Northbrook, Illinois) December 21, 2006. 15 p.

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[“The International Society for Stem Cell Research said its guidelines were meant to establish ground rules for a field stung by a fraud scandal and opposition on moral grounds. The nonbinding rules are intended to promote uniform research practices worldwide.... They require explicit consent from anyone donating cells for such research. The guidelines prohibit ‘reproductive cloning’ aimed at producing human clones.” Los Angeles Times (February 3, 2007) 1.]

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"Fraud Taints Paramedic Licensing Process" and "Busted Rescuers Keep Working" [Investigative Report.] By Andrew McIntosh. IN: Sacramento Bee (January 29 and February 25, 2007) A1+

[“Most paramedics work hard to earn and keep their licenses by studying the latest advances in emergency medicine, taking refresher courses and disclosing past legal trouble. But others cut dangerous corners -- and nobody knows just how many of them are out there in ambulances. These unqualified paramedics hide their background and lack of qualifications in myriad ways to land and keep their jobs. They embellish training records, manufacture classes never attended, or even claim someone else's license number.”]

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“Health Spending Projections Through 2016: Modest Changes Obscure Part D's Impact." By John Poisal and others. IN: Health Affairs, vol. 26, no. 2 (February 21, 2007) pp. 242-253.

[“As pressure grows for the government to pick up more of the nation's health-care tab, new data show its contribution is already at 45% and is expected to approach 50% within 10 years. Overall, health spending in the U.S. is expected to double to $4.1 trillion by 2016, consuming 20% of the nation's gross domestic product, up from the current 16%, according to a new federal study. By then, the study predicts, the government will be paying 48.7% of the nation's health-care bill, up from 38% in 1970 and 40% in 1990. ‘We are moving incrementally away from traditional sources of insurance, such as employer-based coverage, to a system comprising more federal and state government-provided health care.’ “ Wall Street Journal (February 21, 2007) A1.]

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The State of Health Care Quality: Industry Trends and Analysis. By The National Committee on Quality Assurance. (The Committee, Washington, DC) 2006. 84 p.

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["The annual survey ranking the nation's health insurance plans ... was based on members' access to care, overall consumer satisfaction, coverage of preventive services, how well the plans provided coverage to members with existing health conditions and other factors. The survey found that three of the nation's top four plans are in Massachusetts: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan and Blue Shield of Massachusetts." American Health Line (October 27, 2006) 1.]

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Improving Communication -- Improving Care: An Ethical Force Program Consensus Report. By Fritz Allhoff, Ethical Force Program Staff, American Medical Association, and others. (The Association, Chicago, Illinois) 2006. 144 p.

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[“Patient-centered communication is respectful of and responsive to a person or population’s needs, beliefs, values and preferences. Patient-centered communication is important to ethical, high-quality health care. This report explains why. It also provides a framework and a set of expectations for health care organizations that want to assess their performance and design quality improvement initiatives around patient-centered communication.”]

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“Self-Pay Markets in Health Care: Consumer Nirvana or Caveat Emptor? Experience with LASIK, Dental Crowns, and other Self-Pay Procedures Reveals Key Barriers to Robust Consumer Price Shopping.” By Ha T. Tu and Jessica H. May. IN: Health Affairs, vol. 26, no. 2 (February 6, 2007) w217-w226.

["While markets for self-pay medical procedures, such as LASIK and cosmetic surgery, are often held up as models of consumer engagement that could help rein in spiraling costs and spur improved quality across the health care system, patients undergoing self-pay procedures typically face significant barriers to effective shopping and instead rely on word-of-mouth recommendations to choose providers, according to the study." California Healthcare Foundation Press Release (February 6, 2007) 1.]

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"National Health Spending in 2005: The Slowdown Continues." By Aaron Catlin, the National Health Expenditure Accounts Team, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and others. IN: Health Affairs, vol. 26, no. 1 (January 2007) pp. 142-153.

[“Government figures show that Americans may be getting a respite from the torrid pace of increases in healthcare spending, but experts cautioned that it was too soon for a national sigh of relief. The data show that in 2005, spending on healthcare grew 6.9%. That was the smallest rate of increase since 1999.... A slowdown in spending on prescription drugs was the main reason for the improvement in 2005. Analysts credited a continuing shift to generic medications, as well as aggressive cost-control efforts by state Medicaid programs.” Los Angeles Times (January 9, 2007) 1.]

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Why Not the Best? Results From a National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance. By the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. (The Fund, New York, New York) 2006. 36 p.

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[“America’s health system falls far short of what is attainable, especially given the resources the nation invests. Across 37 indicators of performance, the U.S. achieves an overall score of 66 out of a possible 100 when comparing actual national performance to achievable benchmarks. Scores on efficiency are particularly low."]

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Early Experience With High-Deductible and Consumer-Driven Health Plans: Employee Benefit Research Institute/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Care Survey, 2006 . By Paul Fronstin and Sara R. Collins. (The Fund, New York, New York) December 2006.

["Until now, nobody had a good fix on what consumers thought about the newfangled options, which combine a high-deductible health plan with a tax-free savings account to cover medical expenses.... If given a choice, only 36 percent of people in a consumer-driven plan would stick with it, the study found. What's driving the dissatisfaction? More than half of people said they weren't satisfied with their out-of-pocket costs, compared with just 21 percent of people in traditional managed-care plans." US News and World Report (December 18, 2006) 67.]

Report. 48 p.

Charts. 64 p.

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"Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics: 2007 Update." By the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. (The Association, Dallas, Texas) 2006. 40 p.

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["Nearly 2,400 Americans die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) each day.... If all forms of major CVD were eliminated, life expectancy would rise by almost seven years. If all forms of cancer were eliminated, the gain would be three years. According to the same study, the probability at birth of eventually dying from major CVD is 47 percent and the chance of dying from cancer is 22 percent."]

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Community-Acquired Pneumonia: Hospital Outcomes in California: 2002-2004. By the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. (The Office, Sacramento, California) 2006. 101 p.

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[“Five Kaiser Permanente hospitals were among the 28 institutions with the highest death rates in California for patients with pneumonia, according to a state report. Statewide, 12.29% of pneumonia patients -— or about one in eight -— died within 30 days of admission. The 28 hospitals that fared worst had an average mortality rate of 17.2%. Pneumonia was selected for the report card because -— like heart attack -— it is common and has a relatively high risk of death. ‘The report is meant to act as a report card for patients,' said a patient data analysis manager. ‘People can use this to shop around for the best healthcare.’ “ Los Angeles Times (February 27, 2007) 1.]

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The Fifth Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence Study. By HealthGrades, Inc. (HealthGrades, Golden, Colorado) January 2007. 49 p.

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[“Five Bay Area hospitals have received top honors in a study on clinical excellence by an independent health care ratings company. Patients treated at these top-rate hospitals nationwide have nearly a one-third better chance of surviving, on average, than those admitted to other hospitals. Patients who undergo surgery at these hospitals have an average 5 percent lower risk of complications during their stay. The hospitals were ranked in terms of mortality and complication rates for 26 procedures and diagnoses, from bypass surgery to stroke.” Oakland Tribune (January 30, 2007) 1.]

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Check Up: Electronic Medical Record Use and Regional Health Information Organization Participation in the States: Barriers, Opportunities, and Recommendations, 2007. By Citrix Systems, Inc. (Citrix, Fort Lauderdale, Florida) February 2007. 25 p.

[“Public-sector health care organizations participate in regional health information organizations at twice the rate of private-sector organizations, but lag significantly when it comes to using electronic medical records (EMRs), according to a recent survey. Only 19 percent of state health executives reported using EMRs and only 16 percent said their state had set a timeline to achieve broad EMR use. Several impediments, including lack of budget, cultural resistance and technical difficulty, are slowing EMR adoption, the survey reported.” Federal Computer Week (February 19, 2007) 1.]

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Profiles of Progress: State Health IT Initiatives. By National Association of State Chief Information Officers. (The Association, Lexington, Kentucky) 2006. 54 p.

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["Eleven governors have issued executive orders over the past three years for various health IT initiatives, while 24 state legislatures have passed 36 bills that call for greater use of health IT. The study offers snapshots of each state's progress in making technology a pervasive part of health care information.... Hands-on involvement by state CIOs ranges from helping create policy and craft implementation strategies to developing technical standards and locating funds for initiatives." Government Computer News State & Local Weekly Update (November 21, 2006) 1.]

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Online Health Search 2006. By Susannah Fox, Pew Internet & American Life Project. (The Project, Washington, DC) 2006. 22 p.

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["Even though 80 percent of North Americans access health information on the Internet, some doctors see it as an unwelcome intrusion. The practice, they say, not only increases their workload but also leads patients to confusion, distress and a tendency toward detrimental self-diagnosis... Doctors aren't necessarily threatened when patients use Internet health information to educate themselves once they have a diagnosis." Sun-Sentinel (December 24, 2006) D4.]

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"Consumer-Directed Health Care: Early Evidence About Effects on Cost and Quality." By Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, RAND Corporation, and others. IN: Health Affairs, vol. 25 (October 24, 2006) pp. 516-530.

[“Demand for consumer-directed health care (CDHC) is growing among purchasers of care, and early evidence about its effects is beginning to emerge.... There is evidence of modest favorable health selection and early reports that consumer-directed plans are associated with both lower costs and lower cost increases.... Greater information about prices, quality, and treatment choices will be critical if CDHC is to achieve its goals.”]

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HSA Funding: Are Health Care Consumers Leaving Money on the Table? By Thomas Cochrane, Vimo Research Group. (The Group, Mountain View, California) January 2007. 14 p.

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["By focusing on recent enrollment statistics, it is clear that there is a significant gap between High deductible Health Plan (HDHP) enrollment and Health Savings Account (HSA) adoption. Not surprisingly, it is also evident that HSA asset levels are deficient. Many employers and individual policyholders seem to view Consumer-Directed Healthcare as some sort of cost containment panacea. Certainly there are immediate and significant savings available when companies or individuals migrate to HDHPs. This cost differential can be pocketed as a one time gain, or it can be used to fund most or all of the HDHP deductible by depositing the difference into an associated HSAs. It would seem that many employers are opting for the one time gain."]

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Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Potential Effects on Health Care Spending and Outcomes. By the Congressional Budget Office. (The Office, Washington, DC) 2006. 100 p.

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[“This study examines in detail the potential effects of consumer-directed plan designs, analyzing the impact they might have on the use of health care, the prices and quality of health care services, and the health of enrollees.... Because the plans’ designs are so new, there is little empirical evidence about their effects; thus, much uncertainty about their impact remains to be resolved as more data about them become available.”]

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Pilot Survey of Disability Access Services Provided by California Health Plans: Report of Findings and Recommendations. By Anne Cohen, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. Prepared for the California Office of the Patient Advocate. (The Centers, Sacramento, California) 2006. 27 p.

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["This report presents findings from a pilot survey to gather baseline data on the accessibility of California health plans' services for consumers with disabilities.... The survey results may provide the basis for future Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) program initiatives including targeted consumer education programs and service assessments on the annual HMO Report Card.... Recognizing the tremendous impact the delivery of health care services has on the lives of people with disabilities, OPA examined health care service delivery for these consumers."]

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2006 Healthcare Quality Report Card: Rating California's HMOs and Medical Groups. By the Office of the Patient Advocate. (The Office, Sacramento, California) 2006. Various pagings.

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["If you're pregnant or suffer from asthma, your HMO is doing a good job taking care of you. On the other hand, California's major health maintenance organizations fare poorly when it comes to treating your youngster's throat infection or helping you quit smoking. These were some of the conclusions reached in an annual report card." Sacramento Bee (September 28, 2006) D1.]

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Medicaid "Best Buys" for 2007: Promising Reform Strategies for Governors. By Melanie Bella and others, Center for Health Care Strategies. (The Center, Hamilton, New Jersey) December 2006. 6 p.

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[“Improving the way care is delivered in Medicaid will not only target scarce public resources more effectively, it can also spill over to improve health care delivery as a whole, for state employees, retirees, and commercially insured populations. This analysis of Medicaid 'Best Buys' outlines five of the most promising opportunities for improving the health of high-risk and high-cost Medicaid beneficiaries while slowing the rise in spending."]

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Medi-Cal Funded Deliveries, 2004. By Jan Rains, Medical Care Statistics Section, California Department of Health Services. (The Department, Sacramento, California) 2006. 28 p.

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[“Births to Medi-Cal beneficiaries in calendar year 2004 increased two percent above calendar year 2003, to a total of 248,086. These births represented 46% of all births in California hospitals.... Over 80% of the Medi-Cal funded deliveries fell into two major aid groups. The greatest number of deliveries was to 'Undocumented' women (43%), followed closely by the 'Families' aid group (39%). The 'Percent Poverty' programs are the only other large aid group, with 13% of the deliveries in 2004; all remaining categories were very small."]

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"Status Report On Medicare Part D Enrollment In 2006: Analysis Of Plan-Specific Market Share And Coverage." By Juliette Cubanski and Patricia Neuman. IN: Health Affairs, vol. 26, no. 1 (2006) pp. 1-12.

[“Although seniors have many choices among Medicare drug plans offered next year, few plans will bridge the $3,850 coverage gap, and seniors may not be selecting a plan that's right for them, according to a study. Nearly half of enrollees in Medicare Part D -— 10.9 million people -— were liable for 100 percent of their drug costs if they fell into a coverage gap known as the doughnut hole. That figure excludes 9.3 million low-income beneficiaries who received a subsidy. About 4 million people are projected to have spending in the doughnut hole this year.” Oakland Tribune (November 21, 2006) 1.]

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Recommitting to Health. By the Prevention Institute and the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments. (The Institute, Oakland, California) 2006. 12 p.

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["Encourage the food and beverage industry to make major improvements by discontinuing marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children and making healthy options the default in children’s meals at fast food restaurants.... Complete streets that are designed not only for cars, but for all modes of transportation, including pedestrians, bicycles, and people with disabilities, so that all users can travel safely and independently.... This report ... identifies missed opportunities and key areas where more work should be done to create healthy eating and activity environments in California,"]

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“Endocannabinoid-Mediated Rescue of Striatal LTD and Motor Deficits in Parkinson's Disease Models.” By Anatol C. Kreitzer and Robert C. Malenka. IN: Nature, vol. 445, no. 7128 (February 8, 2007) pp. 643-647.

[“Neuroscientists have found that a substance similar to the active ingredient in marijuana but produced naturally in the brain helps to control mobility -- and may offer a novel target for treating Parkinson's disease. The findings show how marijuana-like 'endocannabinoids' form part of the neural machinery that directs normal physical movement. A shortage of the endocannabinoids can knock the system out of balance to produce the characteristic tremor, rigidity and other mobility problems of Parkinson's disease patients." San Francisco Chronicle (February 8, 2007) 1.]

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Tobacco Use Among Adults: United States, 2005. By the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. IN: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, vol. 55 no. 42 (October 27, 2006) pp. 1145-1148.

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["In 2005, approximately 20.9% of U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers, the same percentage as in 2004.... The adult prevalence might represent a stall in the decline in current cigarette smoking during the preceding 8 years and mirrors a lack of decline in smoking among adolescents since 2002. Influencing factors might include smaller annual increases in the retail price of cigarettes and a 26.5% reduction in funding for comprehensive state programs in tobacco control and prevention from 2002 to 2006. Additionally, tobacco-industry advertising and promotional expenditures, primarily focused on price-discounting strategies, more than doubled from $6.7 billion in 1998 to $15.1 billion in 2003."]

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State of Tobacco Control: 2006. By the American Lung Association. (The Association, Washington, DC) January 9, 2007. Various pagings.

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["The report shows California's youth smoking has increased. High School smoking has increased from 13.2 percent in 2004 to 15.4 percent in 2006. Smoking among middle school students has increased from 3.9 percent in 2004 to 6.1 percent in 2006.... California's tobacco tax dropped in the national rankings from 23rd in the country to 26th. The current tax remains at 87-cents-per-pack." Capitol Hill Bulletin (January 12, 2007) 2.]

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Leslie J. Grisham, et al. v. Phillip Morris USA, et al. California Supreme Court. S132772. February 15, 2007. 31 p.

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[“The California Supreme Court made it possible for people who become ill from smoking to once again win large judgments from tobacco companies, unanimously rejecting a four-year-old federal court decision that had virtually halted all smoker lawsuits in the state. In its decision the high court said that although judges and juries can presume that plaintiffs should have known of the dangers and filed their lawsuits earlier, smokers can rebut that presumption by presenting evidence that tobacco companies misrepresented the risks." Los Angeles Times (February 16, 2007). 1]

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Provisional Recommendation for the Use of Zoster Vaccine. By the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Centers for Disease Control. (The Centers, Atlanta, Georgia) 2006. 53 p.

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[“The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), has recommended people age 60 and older receive a new vaccine to prevent herpes zoster, or shingles, a condition that often leads to debilitating chronic pain. The ACIP voted to recommend a newly licensed zoster vaccine, Zostavax, to protect against shingles be given to all people age 60 and older, including those who have had a previous episode of shingles. Zostavax reduced the occurrence of shingles by about 50 percent and post herpetic neuralgia (pain persisting after an episode of shingles) by 67 percent. While the ability for the vaccine to prevent shingles declined with age, the risk of chronic pain among those older vaccinated persons who still developed shingles was lowered.” Press Release (October 26, 2006) 1.]

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Oakland on the Rocks. By the Alameda County Public Health Department. (The Department, Oakland, California) 2006. 40 p.

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["A survey found that half of Oakland's teenagers had their first alcoholic beverage by age 13, and more than 21 percent of them started drinking by age 11. The study found that many merchants still don't check IDs, but youngsters also have access to booze at parties and through their parents. They can also buy alcohol on the Internet.... 41 percent of youths said they'd ridden in a car with a drunken driver." San Francisco Chronicle (November 28, 2006) 1.]

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Youth Health and Wellness in Alameda County, 2006. By Janet Brown, Alameda County School-Based Health Center Coalition, Alameda County Department of Public Health, and others. (The Department, Oakland, California) December 2006. 76 p.

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[“Homicide is the leading cause of death among Alameda County youths, and rates of sexually transmitted infections are soaring, according to a first-ever report on youth health. Striking health disparities exist among youths depending on their race and ethnicity, and where they live. For instance, blacks had the highest rates of poverty, homicide, foster care placement and high school dropouts. Latinos had the highest rates of teen births and obesity. The researchers found that 16 percent of youths are uninsured, but health officials said this figure is misleading because insurance doesn't necessarily translate to services.” Contra Costa Times (December 14, 2006 1.]

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“Binge Drinking and Associated Health Risk Behaviors among High School Students.” By Jacqueline W. Miller and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 119, no. 1 (January 2007) pp. 76-85.

[“Binge drinking is the most frequent form of drinking among teens, according to [a] study. Binge drinking accounts for 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by 12- to 17-year-olds and often is associated with long-term health problems. Compared with high-schoolers who don't drink, binge drinkers were five times more likely to be sexually active, 18 times as likely to smoke cigarettes and four times as likely to have been in a fight. Marijuana use, suicide attempts and low school performance also were higher among binge drinkers. The students with the highest rate of binge drinking, at 75 percent, were white male seniors.” Columbus Dispatch (January 2, 2007) 1D.]

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The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Deeply Unhappy Kids. By Madeline Levine. (HarperCollins Publishers, New York, New York) 2006. 256 p.

["Among teenagers there are high rates of eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harming behavior and serious emotional and psychological issues. The problem isn't affluence, it's the culture of perfectionism that encircles affluent communities. And it's driven by the very things that make these communities affluent in the first place -- highly educated, ultra-competitive parents with high expectations."]

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[This section links to items in Studies in the News since the last Health Care Supplement.]


"Health." IN: Studies in the News, (January 2007 - April 2007).

[Includes:  "Few minorities use hospice care;" "Federal tax incentives for health insurance;" "Health care underinsurance leaves many in debt;" "Hospital-physician relations;" "Shopping for price in health care;" "Promoting health information technology;" "Ruling may snag state health plan;" "Court upholds stem cell program;" "Summary of Oregon assisted suicide law;" "Hospitals will miss seismic upgrade deadline;" "Fast food easier to find than healthful fare;" "Guide to pandemic flu intervention;" "Healthy Families Program needs more funding;" "USDA declares cloned meat safe;" "Financial incentives for physicians dominate;" "Methods to negotiate prescription prices;" "Stem cells in amniotic fluid show promise;" and others.]

[Request #S71946]

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