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SCIENCE
March 19, 2014 | By Melissa Healy, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Is there really a link between vaccine and autism, cellphones and cancer, the HIV virus and the CIA? Almost half of Americans believe the answer is yes for at least one of the many medical conspiracy theories that have circulated in recent years. And the attitudes and behavior of those conspiracists toward standard medical advice reflect that mistrust, says a study out this week. A pair of University of Chicago social scientists set out to determine the extent of "medical conspiracism" among the U.S. public and conducted a nationally representative online survey.
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SPORTS
March 17, 2014 | By Helene Elliott
Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the previous week: + The Dallas Stars' medical staff acted quickly and decisively in treating forward Rich Peverley after he collapsed on the bench last week because of an irregular heartbeat. He will undergo a heart procedure and will sit out the rest of the season, but the medical personnel on duty at the American Airlines Center saved his life. + Kudos to New York Islanders forward John Tavares for reaching out to Jake Lotocki, an 11-year-old Winnipeg boy who was rudely heckled for wearing a Tavares jersey to a recent Jets game.
OPINION
March 15, 2014 | By Philip Levitt
American hospitals have a big problem with unnecessary deaths from medical errors. Estimates of the numbers vary widely, but extrapolating from the best studies, a conservative estimate would be that well over 100,000 people a year die unnecessarily because of errors made by their healthcare teams. And the numbers have remained high despite concerted efforts to bring them down. Why? Because we've embraced a so-called solution that doesn't address the problem. For the last 14 years, the medical profession has put its faith in a systems approach to the problem.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
A patient whose personal information was stolen in a break-in at a medical billing contractor's office in Torrance has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company and Los Angeles County. Two Los Angeles law firms filed a complaint Friday in Superior Court. The suit was initially filed on behalf of a single patient whose name was not disclosed, but seeks class-action status. An office of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, which handles billing and collections for the county's Department of Health Services and Department of Public Health, was burglarized Feb. 5 and computers were stolen.
NATIONAL
March 14, 2014 | By Evan Halper and Cindy Carcamo
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration handed backers of medical marijuana a significant victory Friday, opening the way for a University of Arizona researcher to examine whether pot can help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, a move that could lead to broader studies into potential benefits of the drug. For years, scientists who have wanted to study how marijuana might be used to treat illness say they have been stymied by resistance from federal drug officials. The Arizona study had long ago been sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration, but under federal rules, such experiments can use marijuana only from a single, government-run farm in Mississippi.
NEWS
March 10, 2014 | By Kerry Cavanaugh
Monday morning, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and Police Chief Charlie Beck will announce an effort to help property owners and real estate agents comply with Proposition D, which banned all but about 100 medical marijuana dispensaries that opened before 2007. Proposition D was essentially a compromise between medical marijuana advocates and City Hall to impose some regulation on pot shops in the city after previous attempts to control the industry were blocked in court. L.A.'s convoluted attempts to control medical marijuana are by no means unique.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2014 | By Abby Sewell, This post has been updated. See below for details.
As many as 168,500 patients of Los Angeles County medical facilities may have had their data stolen in a break-in at a county contractor's office last month, county officials said Thursday. A Torrance office of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, which handles billing and collections for the county's Department of Health Services, was broken into on Feb. 5 and computer equipment was stolen, according to a statement from the county. [ Updated at 4:19 p.m.: Sutherland also handles billing and collections for the county's Department of Public Health]
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
Personal data of as many as 168,500 patients of Los Angeles County medical facilities may have been stolen in a break-in at a county contractor's office last month. A Torrance office of Sutherland Healthcare Solutions, which handles billing and collections for the county's Department of Health Services and Department of Public Health, was burglarized Feb. 5 and computer equipment was stolen, according to a county statement issued Thursday. The computers contained data including patients' first and last names, Social Security numbers and certain medical and billing information, and they may also have included birth dates, addresses and diagnoses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
You'd think this would be a simple problem to fix: The unfair low limits on pain and suffering awards in California medical malpractice suits. But few things of genuine importance are simple in California's innately pugnacious Capitol. There's greed, ill will, stubbornness, hubris, vindictiveness, indifference ( doesn't affect me ), cowardice - all the human traits that politicians bring to Sacramento from the citizenry they represent. And too often these characteristics aren't tempered with people's counter-attributes of fairness, compromise and common sense.
BUSINESS
March 2, 2014 | By Lisa Zamosky
Peter Altschuler's back surgery had been a long time coming. The 66-year-old marketing professional and actor from Santa Monica slipped a disc about 10 years ago, and he's been coping with it ever since. A series of injections kept him pain-free for years, he said, but by 2012 they stopped doing their job. "I was in constant discomfort," he says. His doctors said it was time for surgery. Although old enough to qualify for Medicare, Altschuler held on to an insurance policy he'd had through a professional association before turning 65. As most health plans do, his insurer required him to obtain prior approval for his procedure.
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