California Prop 14 may change lives of sick kids, keep taxpayer funding of stem cell therapy research

Three-year-old Ava was constantly sick. Her gums were inflamed, and every time she got a scraped knee, it turned into a dangerous infection.

Her parents, Alicia and Jon Langenhop, were months pregnant with their third child when they learned that Ava’s constellation of symptoms added up to an extremely rare, inherited disorder of the white blood cells, called leukocyte adhesion deficiency-1. Although antibiotics and antivirals could prolong her life, the disease was considered fatal, usually before kindergarten.

Ava’s primary hope, doctors told the Langenhops, was a bone marrow transplant from someone who was a good match, probably a brother or a sister.

Two-year-old Olivia had inherited the same disease as her big sister. She had been hospitalized with infections, too.

The baby in Alicia’s belly would be the girls’ best hope. Since both parents were carriers of the rare genetic mutation, the new baby, a boy, had a 25% chance of inheriting it, too.

Alicia was still in the hospital last October when they found out baby Landon had the mutation. Around the same time, the couple learned of a research trial in California.

Children Ava, Olivia and Landon Langenhop were diagnosed with an extremely rare, inherited disorder of the white blood cells, called leukocyte adhesion deficiency-1. California Proposition 14, a citizen-initiated ballot measure, authorizes bonds continuing stem cell research.
Children Ava, Olivia and Landon Langenhop were diagnosed with an extremely rare, inherited disorder of the white blood cells, called leukocyte adhesion deficiency-1. California Proposition 14, a citizen-initiated ballot measure, authorizes bonds continuing stem cell research.

Doctors would take each child’s blood cells, fix the mutation and return them. It should be a permanent fix, with less risk than a bone marrow transplant because the healthy cells would be their own, so their bodies wouldn’t reject them as foreign.  

The approach had been tried in only one child, though.

This is the type of research reaching patients nearly two decades after President George W. Bush banned federal funding of stem cell research and 16 years after California residents approved a tax increase on themselves to support research.

Proposition 14 on Tuesday’s ballot asks whether Californians want to continue this work, providing $5.5 billion for stem cell research over the next three decades.

In the early 2000s, stem cell research was controversial because it often required the destruction of human embryos. Though embryonic stem cells remain essential for some therapies, in cases such as the Langenhops’, treatment focuses on manipulating a person’s own cells.

Stem cell science has made tremendous progress, but as in most new fields, the pace remains painstakingly slow. Every treatment has to be the subject of years of trial-and-error research, and many scientific hurdles linger. 

Stem cells have been used to treat rare diseases, such as severe combined immunodeficiency, also known as “bubble boy disease,” and they are being tested in more common conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, Type 1 diabetes and even heart disease.

“Even if a subset of stuff in the pipeline goes all the way, it will change the world for patients who currently don’t have other good options,” said Sean Morrison, a stem cell biologist in Dallas.

“It’s a pivotal time in the field,” said

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Coronavirus-laden nursing home loses federal Medicare funding

A Kansas nursing home has lost its federal Medicare funding after an investigation revealed faulty practices led to widespread coronavirus infection and 10 deaths.

An onsite investigation at Andbe Home, Inc. in Norton, Kansas, revealed noncompliance with federal requirements for long-term care facilities, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) documents obtained by Fox News. 

The survey investigation by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services cited “widespread immediate jeopardy” to resident health and safety, according to the documents. The facility was also slammed with a $14,860 federal civil money penalty while it worked to correct noncompliance back in May.

A Kansas nursing home has lost its federal Medicare funding after a state investigation revealed faulty practices led to widespread coronavirus infection and 10 deaths. 

A Kansas nursing home has lost its federal Medicare funding after a state investigation revealed faulty practices led to widespread coronavirus infection and 10 deaths. 
(iStock)

CLICK HERE FOR FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Stephen Crystal, director of the Center for Health Services Research at the Rutgers Institute for Health, told Fox News that the move marks CMS’ “ultimate penalty; decertifying a facility.”

“Most of the time, they try very hard do other things before they go to that step [like civil monetary penalties],” he said, adding “CMS actually doesn’t do this very often, and one could argue that they haven’t moved quickly enough on other facilities that had out of control spread,” referencing New Jersey and New York as examples.

In the case of the Kansas facility, staff identified two symptomatic patients on Oct. 5 and confirmed positive test results two days later but failed to separate them from the rest of the residents.

‘ALARMING RATE’ OF CORONAVIRUS INFECTION AMONG GROCERY STORE WORKERS, STUDY FINDS

“During this time, COVID-19 positive residents cohorted with COVID-19 negative residents, with only a curtain between them, against [Centers for Disease and Prevention Control] guidelines and best practice to prevent the spread of highly contagious COVID-19,” said the documents obtained by Fox News. The facility also allowed communal dining for two days after they discovered the symptomatic patients.

These failures, among others described in the report, ultimately exposed all 61 residents to the virus, every single one testing positive, which led to one hospitalization and 10 deaths. By Oct. 19, 37 staff members tested positive.

Crystal wasn’t privy to all the details but upon a brief account said, “It sounds pretty egregious.” 

The facility’s administrator, Megan Mapes, received a notice of a 23-day involuntary termination of the Medicare provider agreement: “We have determined that Andbe Home, Inc. no longer meets the requirements for participation as a skilled nursing facility in the Medicare program under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act.”

These failures, among others described in the report, ultimately exposed all 61 residents to the virus. 

These failures, among others described in the report, ultimately exposed all 61 residents to the virus. 
(iStock)

The termination will go into effect Nov. 18, 2020.

CMS informed Mapes that the Medicare program won’t pay for covered services to patients admitted to the facility on or after Oct. 27, 2020. Medicare will cover patients admitted before that date for up to 30 days “to ensure residents are successfully relocated.”

The facility was

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Sentry stands with Ryan White Clinics as study highlights importance of funding and 340B program in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic

Sentry stands with Ryan White Clinics as study highlights importance of funding and 340B program in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic

PR Newswire

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Oct. 26, 2020

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Sentry Data Systems, Inc., the nation’s leader in pharmacy procurement, compliance and utilization management, announced today a new analysis from Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access, a nonprofit organization of HIV/AIDS medical providers of which Sentry is a benefactor. The study highlights the importance of Ryan White Clinics in effectively treating the conditions, and it suggests that any reductions in federal funding or to the 340B drug benefits the clinics depend on would have a devastating effect on efforts to manage the public health crisis.

Sentry stands with Ryan White Clinics as study highlights importance of funding, 340B program in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic
Sentry stands with Ryan White Clinics as study highlights importance of funding, 340B program in managing HIV/AIDS epidemic

“Ryan White Clinics are an indispensable part of our nation’s healthcare safety net and play an effective role in treating an especially vulnerable group of Americans,” said Travis Leonardi, founder and CEO of Sentry Data Systems. “Sentry is proud to support Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access and its members through advocacy, technology and the expertise they need to maximize their 340B benefits and continue providing high-quality care to their patients.”

Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access (RWC-340B) is a national organization of health care clinics and service providers that receive support under the federal Ryan White CARE Act, which provides funds for services used primarily by indigent and uninsured people with HIV/AIDS. Ryan White providers are also eligible for the federal 340B Drug Discount Program and use it to expand affordable access to expensive and life-saving HIV/AIDS medications. Sentry is a Platinum Level Benefactor of RWC-340B and has made a significant donation to the nonprofit in 2020 to help share important 340B-related information with its members.

The new data-driven white paper comes as the 340B program is under assault from drug manufacturers and as the federal government is pushing Medicare Part B rate cuts for 340B drugs. It states that any reduction in resources, including 340B Drug Pricing Program savings, could have long-term consequences for patients served through Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program-funded clinics, including disruptions in care and treatment, adverse health outcomes, or increased healthcare expenses.

On Oct. 9, RWC-340B filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Health Resources and Services Administration. It seeks action against four drug manufacturers that have refused to sell 340B-discounted drugs to covered entities when ordered through a contract pharmacy.

“Given the sustained and serious threats to the 340B program, this white paper and analysis reveals important facts about the critical role Ryan White clinics play in the safety net,” said Mark Malahosky, RPh BPharm, Vice President, Pharmacy Services, Trillium Health and Treasurer of Ryan White Clinics for 340B Access. “This report proves what we’ve known all along: harm to the 340B program means dangerous consequences for public health and

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BridgeHealth Merges with Transcarent; Completes $40 Million Series A Funding

Combined entity will create a better experience and improved outcomes for employees and dependents of self-insured employers by providing greater access, choice, and transparency

BridgeHealth, the industry-leading provider of surgical advocacy and centers of excellence (COE) programs for large, self-insured organizations and their members, today announced a merger with Transcarent, a Silicon Valley-based consumer digital health company, as part of a $40 million Series A financing round. BridgeHealth will continue to provide its platform to employers with self-insured group health plans while introducing new high-touch, high-tech navigation services and solutions built using the Transcarent technology stack.

BridgeHealth, founded in 2007, helps members identify high-quality healthcare providers, including many of the country’s leading Centers of Excellence who perform high-quality surgeries at affordable, bundled rates. The company has developed the largest footprint of COEs in the market. With more than 300 pre-negotiated, contracted bundles covering procedures across eight surgical categories, members realize transparency, cost savings, and real choice in making their most important healthcare decisions.

“By partnering with BridgeHealth, Transcarent will be able to greatly accelerate our vision of putting health and care back in the hands of health consumers and enabling them to share in the value their decisions help to create,” said Krishnan Sridharan, President of Transcarent. “Together, our goal is nothing less than to transform healthcare and create a new and different experience that leads to better outcomes and lower costs for employees, dependents, and their employers.”

Transcarent, backed by 7wireVentures, Alta Partners, and General Catalyst, offers a technology layer that provides more choice and transparency, and addresses a broader range of health and care challenges people face in today’s confusing, complex, and costly healthcare system.

“We are thrilled to join forces with such an exceptional team of innovative healthcare entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders,” said Jamie Hall, President and CEO of BridgeHealth. “Together with Transcarent, BridgeHealth will continue to deliver great healthcare experiences for the people we serve and measurable value to our plan sponsors while we begin to significantly expand our solutions to the market.”

“Since its inception, BridgeHealth’s vision has been to support individuals with the best possible healthcare at their most vulnerable moments,” said David Calone, co-founder and outgoing Board Chair of BridgeHealth, and Director of Transcarent. “When we started the company, we focused on empowering consumers who needed planned surgeries, knowing that the future of healthcare depended on expanding this value to more people across more of their healthcare choices. We are excited to partner with Transcarent; their leadership and investors bring significant expertise and capital to our shared vision for transforming healthcare.”

To learn more about BridgeHealth visit online at www.bridgehealth.com.

About BridgeHealth

BridgeHealth (www.bridgehealth.com) is a provider of value-based healthcare services that guide members to surgical Centers of Excellence nationwide. Its bundled rates allow self-insured group health plans to improve the quality and outcomes of surgery while reducing costs from 30% to 50% on average per procedure. Members are supported through concierge-level care coordination, eliminating the stress of planning and preparing for

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Loss of funding means closure for maternity clinic which delivers half of Medicine Hat’s babies

A maternity clinic that delivers about half the babies in Medicine Hat has announced it will no longer accept new patients by the end of January, and will be closed by the end of July unless new funding can be found.

While family physicians typically pay their own overhead, a gap in Medicine Hat’s obstetric services in the mid-2000s led to the creation of the Family Medicine Maternity Clinic.

Funding was provided by the local Primary Care Network (PCN) and Palliser Health, which later merged with the other regional health authorities to form Alberta Health Services. 

Dr. Gerry Prince, a family doctor who helped establish the clinic in 2006, told the Calgary Eyeopener on Monday that the clinic will be closing because the PCN’s funding is due to end in March, and AHS wants the clinic to cover the overhead that includes rent, utilities and all staffing costs.

Prince said this would be impossible, as the costs to run the maternity clinic are roughly double the amount of what it can bill for patient services — and the doctors are already paying overhead for their family practices. 

“[The clinic] is closing because AHS is backing out of our partnership, and says that they want to rent us the space that we’ve been able to occupy for the last 17 years with their support,” Prince said.

“And the numbers they’ve given us are just impossible. So, they’ve given us an overhead number, which is about double the amount of billing that we would actually do through the clinic in a year.… Our guys, you know, as much as they love it, just — there’s no way you can do that.”

A ‘flawless service’

The Family Medicine Maternity Clinic was established due to a crisis of accessibility, Prince said. At the time, obstetrics was a declining service in the area.

“There [were] fewer and fewer physicians doing it, and got down to the point where there were only two family docs delivering about half of the babies in town — as well as running the regular community clinic,” Prince said.

“It was becoming quickly unmanageable.”

Prince said that some of the local doctors turned to health authorities and asked for help. 

The regional health authority agreed, and later partnered with the Primary Care Network to meet the community need. The clinic was established, attached to the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital.

“We went with this idea of a maternity clinic, a dedicated care centre, and they helped support it. And ultimately, we built a specified, designated, custom-design clinic area in our new ambulatory care building,” Prince said.

Eventually, Prince said, that clinic would deliver 500 to 600 babies a year.

“We’ve had a flawless service that’s been providing great care for 17 years.”

Soon, it’s all coming to an end — and why is complicated.

“The docs want to provide the services, we just need to be able to manage it financially. So the real question is, whose job is it [to save

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doTERRA Partners With World Bank in Kenya to Expand Access to Funding for Small-Scale Farmers

Development project will support fisheries and high-value agriculture chains

doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing in Kenya

doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing initiatives in Kenya provide smallholder farmers and harvesters with a stable income, regular agricultural training, and improved resources that encourage self-reliance.
doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing initiatives in Kenya provide smallholder farmers and harvesters with a stable income, regular agricultural training, and improved resources that encourage self-reliance.
doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing initiatives in Kenya provide smallholder farmers and harvesters with a stable income, regular agricultural training, and improved resources that encourage self-reliance.

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah and NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — doTERRA and its supply chain partners have connected with World Bank to improve access to funding for smallholder farmers in Kenya. The project is part of a broader plan called the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development Project (KEMFSED) that will support fisheries value chains, as well as high-value agriculture chains, including essential oil crops, within coastal fishing communities.

“When discussing the success of our farming initiatives in the region with representatives from World Bank, we began to brainstorm ways that we could work together to expand opportunities for even more individuals,” said Taylor MacKay, doTERRA strategic sourcing manager. “World Bank recognized our ability to truly support farmers and local communities through our Co-Impact Sourcing initiatives, and saw doTERRA as an implementation partner that could help them do even more in the region. It has been amazing to see this project take shape from the ground up—from idea generation to recommending other implementing organizations—we’re grateful for the opportunity to participate together in meaningful change.”

The KEMFSED project is slated to run for five years with an overall goal of enhancing livelihoods for individuals involved while safeguarding the integrity of associated ecosystems. If successful, the project has the potential to serve as a model for similar programs around the world.

One of doTERRA’s primary goals in Kenya is the formation of thriving cooperative farming groups within various communities across the region. In addition to providing opportunities for smallholder farmers, doTERRA is committed to supporting development projects improving overall community health and well-being. Learn more about doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing and community development projects in Kenya.

About doTERRA

dōTERRA® International is an integrative health and wellness company and the world leader in the Global Aromatherapy and Essential Oils market. dōTERRA sources, tests, manufactures and distributes CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils and essential oil products to over eight million dōTERRA Wellness Advocates and customers. Through industry leading responsible sourcing practices, dōTERRA maintains the highest levels of quality, purity and sustainability in partnership with local growers around the world through Cō-Impact Sourcing®. The dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation®, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, offers resources and tools to global sourcing communities and charitable organizations for self-reliance, healthcare, education, sanitation, and the fight against human trafficking. Through the life-enhancing benefits of essential oils, dōTERRA is changing the world one drop, one person, one community at a time. To learn more, visit www.doterra.com.

Contact:
Kevin Wilson
[email protected]

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ddd7b30d-9027-4b91-859d-c3f3652e6ce7

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