First Edition: July 19, 2022 – Kaiser Health News

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Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.
KHN: Fighting Monkeypox, Sexual Health Clinics Are Underfunded And Ill-Equipped
Clinics that treat sexually transmitted diseases — already struggling to contain an explosive increase in infections such as syphilis and gonorrhea — now find themselves on the front lines in the nation’s fight to control the rapidly growing monkeypox outbreak. After decades of underfunding and 2½ years into a pandemic that severely disrupted care, clinic staffers and public health officials say the clinics are ill-equipped for yet another epidemic. (Szabo and Weber, 7/19)
KHN: No-Bid Medicaid Contract For Kaiser Permanente Is Now California Law, But Key Details Are Missing
California lawmakers have approved a controversial no-bid statewide Medi-Cal contract for HMO giant Kaiser Permanente over the objection of county governments and competing health plans. But key details — including how many new patients KP will enroll — are still unclear. On June 30, with little fanfare, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill that codifies the deal, despite concerns first reported by KHN that KP was getting preferential treatment from the state that would allow it to continue enrolling a healthier pool of Medi-Cal patients, leaving other health plans with a disproportionate share of the program’s sickest and costliest patients. Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, the government-funded health insurance program for people with low incomes, covers nearly 14.6 million Californians, 84% of whom are in managed-care plans. (Wolfson, 7/19)
KHN: In Some States, Voters Will Get To Decide The Future Of Abortion Rights
As states grapple with the future of abortion in the U.S., Michigan, California, and Vermont could become the first states to let voters decide whether the right to abortion should be written into the state constitution. In Michigan, a proposed constitutional amendment would override a 90-year-old state law that makes abortion a felony even in cases of rape or incest. The U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last month could revive that abortion ban — and has galvanized abortion-rights advocates to secure new protections. (Wells, 7/19)
The Wall Street Journal: Abortion-Pill Orders Increase, Even In Restrictive States
U.S. companies that prescribe abortion pills after telehealth consultations are expanding, but only in states that allow the practice, after the Supreme Court last month removed constitutional protections for abortion. Nonprofits based abroad, meanwhile, are mailing more pills to women across the U.S., including patients in states that have banned or restricted medication abortion. (Abbott and Montes, 7/18)
AP: OB-GYN Tests Go Virtual; Board Cites COVID, Abortion Ruling
The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology exams are voluntary, but certification lends respect to doctors’ credentials, indicating they graduated from an accredited medical school and passed written and oral competency exams. Some employers also require the tests. The Dallas-based board had held virtual exams during the pandemic but planned to have the upcoming fall oral exams in-person. On Thursday, the board announced a reversal, saying the exams would be virtual. (Tanner, 7/18)
Axios: Abortion Training Set To Change After Dobbs Decision
Virtual training and practice on anatomical models may soon become the norm for how OB-GYN residents learn how to safely conduct abortions as medical programs navigate new state abortion bans. (Dreher and Gonzalez, 7/19)
Los Angeles Times: Nurse-Midwives Struggle To Receive Abortion Training
When Ariela Schnyer was choosing where to get trained as a nurse-midwife, California stood out for an important reason: The state would allow clinicians like her to provide abortions. But three years later, after graduating from her nurse-midwifery program at UC San Francisco, Schnyer is not yet prepared to provide abortions that require hands-on care. After the news broke that Roe vs. Wade had been overturned — a shift that is expected to send more abortion patients to California — Schnyer was trying to find out whether she could get trained in Mexico City. (Reyes, 7/18)
Politico: ‘A Uniquely Dangerous Tool’: How Google's Data Can Help States Track Abortions
Figures from Google, one of the most prolific collectors of location data, show that the company received 5,764 “geofence” warrants between 2018 and 2020 from police in the 10 states that have banned abortion as of July 5. These warrants demand GPS data showing which mobile devices were present in a specified area during a particular time period, and can help investigate individuals who were present at crime scenes or other locations of interest. (Ng, 7/18)
Newsweek: Kamala Harris Says Abortion Bans Fit History Of U.S. Owning Human Bodies
Vice President Kamala Harris stressed the implications of the recent rollback on abortion rights in the U.S. on Monday by noting that the country has claimed "ownership" over human bodies before. Harris was speaking at the 113th NAACP National Convention when she called for steps to be taken in order to protect "fundamental freedoms," which she said included women being able to make decisions about their own bodies. (Strozewski, 7/18)
The New York Times: Democrats Navigate Nuanced Views On Abortion Among Black Voters
While Black voters remain overwhelmingly allied with the Democratic Party, some, especially older churchgoers, have a conservative streak when it comes to social issues like abortion. The best way to communicate to those members of her community, Ms. Smith-Pollard and other faith leaders said not long before the court ruled to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion, would be to frame the response as not just a matter of abortion, but rather as part of a broader movement to restrict individual rights, including voting, marriage and control over one’s own body. (Kanno-Youngs, 7/18)
The Markup: Facebook Allows Ads For Possibly Dangerous 'Abortion Reversal' Procedure
The Markup has found that Facebook is serving up ads and posts for the “abortion pill reversal” procedure, a medically unapproved and potentially dangerous process that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says is “not based on science.” (Kirchner, Varner and Waller, 7/19)
AP: Owner: Mississippi Abortion Clinic Is Sold, Won't Reopen
The Mississippi abortion clinic at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade has been sold and will not reopen even if it’s allowed to do so by a state court, its owner told The Associated Press on Monday. (Wagster Pettus, 7/18)
AP: Judge Blocks Enforcement Of West Virginia Abortion Ban
Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Tera L. Salango granted the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia a preliminary injunction against the 1800s-era ban, saying that in the absence of action by the court, the state’s sole abortion clinic and its patients, “especially those who are impregnated as a result of a rape or incest, are suffering irreparable harm.” (Willingham, 7/18)
AP: Idaho GOP Rejects Abortion Exception To Save Mother's Life
The Idaho Republican Party has rejected adding language to their platform to allow an abortion to save the life of the mother. KMVT-TV reported that a majority of the roughly 700 delegates from around the state rejected the change to the party’s existing platform during its three-day convention that wrapped up Saturday. The platform does not have the force of law but states the party’s position it wants Republicans in elected office to follow. (7/18)
Axios: Supreme Court Lets Indiana's Parental Consent Abortion Law Take Effect
The Supreme Court issued an order on Monday letting Indiana officials enforce a law requiring a minor to have parental consent to get an abortion. (Gonzalez, 7/19)
AP: EXPLAINER: Challenge Pending To North Dakota Abortion Ban
North Dakota’s only abortion clinic, the Red River Women’s Clinic, has gone to state court seeking to declare the state’s imminent abortion ban is contrary to the state constitution. The lawsuit also seeks to at least delay the July 28 date for the ban to kick in. (Kolpack, 7/18)
AP: House To Vote On Same-Sex Marriage, Push Back Against Court
While the Respect for Marriage Act is expected to pass the House, it is almost certain to stall in the Senate, where most Republicans would surely block it. It’s one of several bills, including those enshrining abortion access, that Democrats are pushing to confront the court’s conservative majority. Another bill, guaranteeing access to contraceptive services, is set for a vote later this week. (Mascaro, 7/19)
The Hill: House To Vote On Respect For Marriage Act In Response To Clarence Thomas Opinion
Thomas wrote that the court’s “substantive due process precedents” set in cases like Obergefell v. Hodges — which legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states — should be revisited, creating widespread uncertainty and panic among same-sex married couples over whether their unions will continue to be recognized. (Migdon, 7/18)
The Hill: Harris Says Rights Under Assault From ‘Extremist So-Called Leaders’
Vice President Harris told a gathering at a civil rights conference Monday that Americans’ freedoms are under assault from “extremist so-called leaders” looking to curtail access to abortion services and enact voting restrictions. “We must recognize there are those who are fighting to drag us backward,” Harris said in keynote remarks at the NAACP National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J. (Chalfant, 7/18)
Newsweek: Walgreens Hit With Boycott Calls Amid Claims Of Birth Control Sale Hassles
Calls for boycotts ramped up on social media on Monday after an article published by The Star Tribune earlier in July featured a Minnesota woman named Jessica Pentz detailing a Walgreens clerk allegedly refusing to sell her condoms based on a religious objection. The incident allegedly happened over the July 4th weekend, when Pentz visited a store while on vacation in Wisconsin with her husband Nate, who later shared an account of the refusal on Twitter. (Slisco, 7/18)
The Washington Post: The Misleading Claim That A Democratic Candidate ‘Sued’ A Group Of Nuns Over Contraception Coverage 
Over and over, Doug Mastriano has claimed that his Democratic opponent, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, sued a group of nuns, aiming to force them to “violate their religious beliefs.” Catholics make up about one-quarter of Pennsylvania’s population. They traditionally lean toward Democrats, so this attack line is intended to undermine Shapiro’s standing among Catholics. (Kessler, 7/19)
The New York Times: Covid Rises Across U.S. Amid Muted Warnings And Murky Data
“I feel strongly that you can’t just kind of cry wolf all the time,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago health department, who said she would wait to see whether hospitals become strained before considering another citywide mask mandate. “I want to save the requirements around masks or updating vaccine requirements for when there’s a significant change.” (Bosman, Fuller and Sandoval, 7/18)
The Washington Post: The BA.4 And BA.5 Subvariants Now Dominate Worldwide
In the past year, the rapid mutation of the coronavirus has triggered new variants, which have swept across the world: Delta last summer, then omicron in winter and more recently omicron’s subvariants BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5. The last pair have quickly become the world’s dominant forms of the coronavirus, as recorded in the GISAID international repository of coronavirus genetic sequences analyzed by The Washington Post. (Keating, Dong and Shin, 7/18)
The Washington Post: CDC Stops Reporting Covid Cases On Cruise Ships
“CDC has determined that the cruise industry has access to the necessary tools (e.g., cruise-specific recommendations and guidance, vaccinations, testing instruments, treatment modalities, and non-pharmaceutical interventions) to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 on board,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said in an email. (Finnegan and Hiatt, 7/18)
AP: Scars Of COVID Persist For Sickest Survivors, Their Families
While more than 1 million died from COVID in the U.S., many more survived ICU stays that have left them with anxiety, PTSD and a host of health issues. Research has shown that intensive therapy starting in the ICU can help, but it was often hard to provide as hospitals teemed with patients. (Hollingsworth, 7/19)
The New York Times: The Novavax Vaccine Could Clear Its Final Hurdle In The United States This Week
Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet this week to discuss the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Novavax, whose latecomer shot would offer unvaccinated Americans another choice as the vaccination rate has leveled off. (Olson, 7/18)
CNN: New Covid-19 Vaccines Aim To Put The Brakes On Virus Spread 
Injected vaccines against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 have been hugely successful, saving nearly 20 million lives globally in their first year of use and slashing the pandemic's death toll by an estimated 63%, according to a recent study. (Goodman, 7/18)
Reuters: Analysis: Years Of Neglect Leaves Sexual Health Clinics Ill-Prepared For Monkeypox
Sexual health clinics on the frontline of the monkeypox response are already financially stretched, leaving the United States and UK ill-equipped to tackle the first major global health test since the COVID-19 pandemic. Infectious disease experts say sexual health clinics – which offer confidential walk-in diagnosis and treatment – are best placed to identify and treat cases of monkeypox, which is largely affecting men who have sex with men. (Steenhuysen and Rigby, 7/18)
Stat: With Monkeypox Spreading, Many Experts Believe Virus Can't Be Contained
It has been a mere nine weeks since the United Kingdom announced it had detected four cases of monkeypox, a virus endemic only in West and Central Africa. In that time, the number of cases has mushroomed to nearly 13,000 in over 60 countries throughout Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, new parts of Africa, South Asia, and Australia. (Branswell, 7/19)
The New York Times: Debate Over Monkeypox Messaging Divides N.Y.C. Health Department
Inside the department, officials are battling over public messaging as the number of monkeypox cases has nearly tripled in the last week, nearly all of them among men who have sex with men. A few epidemiologists say the city should be encouraging gay men to temporarily change their sexual behavior while the disease spreads, while other officials argue that approach would stigmatize gay men and would backfire. (Goldstein, 7/18)
The New York Times: NYC Monkeypox Patients Face Painful Symptoms And Struggle For Care
While monkeypox can sometimes result in mild symptoms, it is turning out to be unexpectedly severe for a substantial number of patients infected in this outbreak, according to doctors, public health officials and patients in New York City, the epicenter of the nation’s cases. (Otterman, 7/18)
The Washington Post: D.C. Has Most Monkeypox Cases Per Capita
D.C. has more cases of monkeypox per capita than any state, prompting public health officials to launch an aggressive vaccination campaign aimed at blanketing the most at-risk communities. As of Friday, health departments were reporting 122 positive cases in D.C., 44 in Virginia and 37 in Maryland, but D.C. public health officials say there are more people infected than the data show because not everyone with symptoms obtains a test. (Portnoy, 7/18)
The Washington Post: Biden Considers Issuing Climate Emergency Declaration, Sources Say
President Biden is considering declaring a national climate emergency as soon as this week as he seeks to salvage his environmental agenda in the wake of stalled talks on Capitol Hill, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations. (Romm and Stein, 7/19)
AP: Partisan Lines Form Over Dem Drug Price Curbs, Economic Plan
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is warning that Democrats’ plans to curb drug prices would insert “socialist price controls” between Americans and the treatments they need as partisan battle lines form over a shrunken economic package that President Joe Biden wants Congress to complete within weeks. (Fram, 7/19)
Stat: Lawmakers Urge HHS To Fine Drugmakers For Curtailing Drug Discounts
Dozens of lawmakers are demanding the Biden administration penalize drug companies that have curtailed discounts to a federal program, the latest fallout from an intensifying battle between the U.S. government and the pharmaceutical industry. (Silverman, 7/18)
AP: Paul Blames 'Secret Deal' For Sinking Judicial Nomination
Further exposing long-simmering tensions between the state’s two Republican senators, Paul commented on his own role in sinking the nomination last week of anti-abortion lawyer Chad Meredith for a federal judgeship in Kentucky. The White House abruptly abandoned the nomination on Friday, pointing to the home-state resistance from Paul, who is seeking a third term in the U.S. Senate in this year’s elections. (Schreiner, 7/18)
AP: Beshear, Advocates Tout 988 Mental Health Crisis Lifeline
Mental health advocates in Kentucky expressed hope Monday that the launch of a three-digit mental health crisis hotline will help remove the stigma of reaching out for assistance. The 988 hotline went live nationally this past Saturday, offering quick help for suicidal thoughts and other mental health emergencies. People taking the calls are trained counselors. (7/18)
Reuters: Uber Settles U.S. Lawsuit Over Disabled Riders, Vows To Waive Fees
Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) will pay more than $2 million and waive wait time fees for disabled passengers to settle U.S. allegations that the ride share company had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department of Justice said on Monday. (7/18)
Fortune: Do Parents Pass Down Anxiety To Children? New Study Says It's Possible
Researcher Barbara Pavlova, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and colleagues reported in JAMA Network Open that the likelihood children would develop an anxiety disorder diagnosis during their lifetime was nearly three times higher when a parent of the same sex also had anxiety, but “no significant association” was observed when a parent of the opposite sex had anxiety. (Thompson Payton, 7/18)
CIDRAP: International Travel Linked To Spread Of Multidrug-Resistant STIs
In a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on gonococcal infection, antibiotic resistance, and international travel that were published from 2010 to 2021, a team of Spanish researchers found that 16 of 18 studies described a probable link between international travel and transmission of MDR Neisseria gonorrhoeae from the country of travel to the country of return, as the index cases reported unprotected sexual intercourse at their place of destination. Travelers mainly visited Southeast Asian countries (66.7%) and returned to the United Kingdom (38.9%). (7/18)
CIDRAP: Pre Vaccines, Teens And Young Adults Had Higher COVID-19 Rates Than Older Adults
A new study in JAMA Network Open shows a higher COVID-19 infection rate in adolescents and young adults compared with older adults before vaccines were available. The study is based on health department statistics from 19 states, and it contradicts previous studies from Europe and Asia that showed older adults were more at risk of contracting the virus during the early months of the pandemic. (7/18)
CIDRAP: COVID-19 Boosters Offer Good Protection Against Early Omicron Subvariants
First and second COVID-19 vaccine booster doses conferred substantial protection against emergency department/urgent care (ED/UC) visits and hospitalizations caused by infections with the Omicron subvariants BA.1, BA.2, and BA.2.12.1, finds a study of adults in 10 US states published late last week in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. (Van Beusekom, 7/18)
CIDRAP: Hospitalization For COVID-19 Tied To 45% Higher Risk Of Heart Failure
COVID-19 hospitalization is associated with a 45% greater risk of subsequent heart failure (HF), particularly for patients who are younger, White, or previously diagnosed as having heart disease, according to a US study published late last week in Nature Communications. (7/18)
Reuters: High Blood Thickness Ups Death Risk
… Data on 5,621 COVID-19 patients treated at six New York City-area hospitals between February 2020 and November 2021 showed that patients with high viscosity had death rates 38% to 60% higher than those with low blood viscosity. The inflammation associated with COVID-19 likely contributes to high viscosity, which in turn can lead to damage to blood vessel linings and clogging of arteries, according to the researchers. (Lapid, 7/18)
Stat: Heat Waves Pose Special Risk To People With Chronic Disease 
Extreme heat holds special risk for people with chronic diseases — an enormous group that has only been made larger by Covid-19. (Cueto, 7/19)
The Washington Post: How Stress May Accelerate Aging Of The Immune System
As people age, their immune systems naturally begin to decline. This aging of the immune system, called immunosenescence, may be an important part of age-related health problems such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, as well as older people’s less effective response to vaccines. (Klopack, 7/18)
AP: CEO Steps Down At Financially Troubled Mississippi Hospital
The CEO of a financially troubled hospital in the Mississippi Delta has resigned as the hospital continues to pursue a possible joint operating agreement with a larger medical center. Jason Studley announced his resignation from Greenwood Leflore Hospital on Friday in a memo to the hospital’s employees and medical staff, the Greenwood Commonwealth reported. (7/18)
AP: WA Hospitals Over Capacity Due To Patient Discharging Woes
In a news briefing, leaders from the Washington State Hospital Association said many health care facilities are 120% to 130% full, leading to long wait times in emergency departments, declining patient care and disruptions in ambulance services throughout the state, The Seattle Times reported. The high patient loads aren’t directly because of COVID-19 cases, although they are increasing, but due to delayed procedures and difficulties discharging hospital patients. (7/18)
The New York Times: Oklahoma Sees Surge In Heat-Related Health Emergencies
In Tulsa, Emergency Medical Services Authority, the state’s largest ambulance provider, has responded to 84 heat-related illness calls and taken 55 patients to hospitals since July 1, when the third heat alert of the year was issued for the city. In Oklahoma City, since a heat alert on July 7, the agency has responded to 59 calls, with 42 patients taken to hospitals. (Romero, 7/18)
Axios: Heat Wave Puts 40 Million Under Warnings As 89 Fires Rage Across U.S.
Some 40 million Americans are under heat alerts due to "dangerous and intense" potentially record-breaking heat across the Plains and Mississippi Valley that's expected to expand into the Southeast this week. (Falconer, 7/19)
AP: Rhode Island Sues 5 Landlords Over Alleged Lead Hazards
Rhode Island has sued five more landlords who rent properties in which children with lead poisoning live, the state attorney general said Monday. The three properties in Providence, one in Central Falls, and one in Newport all contain “significant lead hazards” and the landlords have failed to comply with state lead poisoning prevention laws, Attorney General Peter Neronha said in a statement. (7/18)
San Francisco Public Press: How California’s Coercive Control Law Could Help Women Manipulated By Partners
After two decades of marriage, Blanca finally hit a breaking point. Watching her husband rip apart the wedding dress she had so painstakingly sewn, then preserved over the years caused something to shift for her. That act was the final rupture in a relationship that had been turbulent from the start, with only short interludes of affection thrown in. The emotional abuse had been going on for years, according to Blanca. She said he constantly denigrated her appearance and Spanish-accented English. He refused to put her and their two sons on the health insurance provided by his job as a mechanic, telling her to buy her own. He rejected her pleas to let her write checks and have access to their joint bank account. He made her pay all the rent on the Bay Area home they shared with his relatives. (Sundaram, 6/27)
Berkeleyside: At 114 Years Old, Berkeley Supercentenarian Mila Mangold Has Died
Longtime Berkeley resident Mila Mangold has died at 114 years, 7 months old. The supercentenarian was the second oldest person in the United States at the time of her passing on July 2, 2022. Mangold was long considered a neighborhood treasure. (Raguso, 7/17)
The Washington Post: WHO Identifies Deadly Marburg Virus In Ghana: What To Know
The Marburg virus is a “genetically unique zoonotic … RNA virus of the filovirus family,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The six species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family.” Fatality rates range from 24 percent to 88 percent, according to the WHO, depending on the virus strain and quality of case management. (Suliman, 7/18)
The Washington Post: U.K. Heat Wave Could Bring Record 40C Temperature
If you want to mark an unnatural, scary, real-world data point for climate change, it is here in Britain, right now, where temperatures are forecast to soar as high as 40 Celsius — 104 Fahrenheit — on Tuesday, an extreme weather episode, a freak peak-heat, not seen since modern record keeping began a century and a half ago. (Booth, 7/18)
Reuters: EU Secures 54,000 More Doses Of Bavarian Nordic's Monkeypox Vaccine
The European Commission said on Monday it has secured about 54,000 additional doses of the monkeypox vaccine developed by biotech firm Bavarian Nordic (BAVA.CO) as concern mounts over the disease amid a spike in cases. (7/18)
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Fighting Monkeypox, Sexual Health Clinics Are Underfunded and Ill-Equipped
No-Bid Medicaid Contract for Kaiser Permanente Is Now California Law, but Key Details Are Missing
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