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BUSINESS
March 21, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
U.S. lawmakers have asked Gilead Sciences Inc. to justify the price of its new $84,000 drug for hepatitis C patients amid growing concern about the high cost to taxpayers and consumers. In a letter to the Foster City, Calif., company, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and two other Democratic lawmakers asked Gilead Chief Executive John C. Martin to explain the rationale for selling Sovaldi for $1,000 per pill. Medical experts say previous therapies for hepatitis C helped only about half of patients and had numerous side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, anemia and depression.
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HEALTH
March 21, 2014 | By Jessica Ogilvie
Onstage at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, an older couple assumes a ballroom dance position. A tango begins, and the man, wearing a porkpie hat and suit, leads. The woman, wearing a floral dress, follows gracefully. Judging by the ease and fluidity of their movements, one would never know that Nancy Dufault, 72, has Parkinson's disease. When she is dancing, moving in time with her husband, Bob, she experiences a brief respite from symptoms. "She asked me to write a tango," says Mike Garson, a classically trained pianist who played with David Bowie for nearly 40 years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - Records for nearly 56,000 San Francisco patients, some with Social Security numbers, were stored in computers stolen last month from a medical billing firm in Torrance, said San Francisco's Department of Public Health on Friday. “We are working to ensure that all patients are notified and provided with resources to help them protect their privacy,” said Barbara Garcia, San Francisco's health director. Most of the San Francisco patients whose records were stolen were uninsured and visited the city's public health offices, including San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, between August 2012 and November 2013, the department said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 2014 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion
An Orange County pain doctor caused the deaths of three patients by negligently prescribing them powerful narcotics, state medical authorities said in a complaint made public Friday. The Medical Board of California is seeking to suspend or revoke the license of Dr. Van H. Vu, who was linked to more than a dozen patient overdose deaths by a Times investigation in 2012. The medical board alleged Vu was grossly negligent in the deaths of a 22-year-old woman who had been planning her wedding, a 43-year-old mentally ill man who was prescribed drugs by Vu the day he was released from a hospital after an earlier overdose, and a 51-year-old single father who became addicted to pain drugs after a car accident.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 20, 2014 | By Robert J. Lopez
  A 25-year-old nursing attendant has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a patient at County-USC Medical Center, authorities said Thursday. Terrence Tekoh is accused of assaulting the victim Wednesday in a examination room, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The victim was waiting for a medical procedure. Tekoh was employed by a private company that provides medical personnel for the facility. He was fired after the allegations were reported, the department said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO - A 52-year-old La Mesa man Friday was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of practicing medicine without a license and promising to cure patients of AIDS, cancer and other maladies. Desperate, terminally ill patients paid up to $40,000 to Keith Barton for cures, prosecutors said. A 60-year-old woman suffering from an autoimmune disease followed Barton's advice to have all her teeth extracted as part of an ineffective treatment called "dentritic cellular therapy," according to court documents.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2014 | Steve Lopez
Dr. David Rizzo's love affair with Los Angeles was rock solid for decades. The first sign of trouble came last year, when the house-call foot doctor finally grew tired of logging so many hours in his car and decided to break off the relationship. Rizzo, 62, thought he was ready for semi-retirement, and he loves infernal heat. So he moved to Phoenix. In August. "The sky at night is a celestial event," Rizzo said of his new metropolitan mistress. But the sun kept coming up, shining brightly on a man who cast a long, lonely shadow in the Arizona desert.
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]
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