CA Access News

November 2009

In this Issue: Features | Partner Spotlight | Calendar | Welcome New Partners | In the News | Interesting Information | Contact Us


Take Control of Your Medicines -- Keeping You and Your Family Safe

By Michael J. Negrete, PharmD
CEO, Pharmacy Foundation of California

We are becoming increasingly bombarded in the media by stories about celebrities who are being taken from us far too soon because of the improper use of perfectly good medications. Unfortunately, these stories do not even begin to scratch the surface of a rapidly escalating public health crisis in our country.

According to an article that was published last year in the Archives of Internal Medicine, an astonishing number of Americans are dying in their homes because of mistakes in the way their medications are being used. By the end of 2004 (the last year CDC death certificate data was available for the study), almost 12,500 Americans per year were being killed in this manner. On average, that's more than 34 Americans each day. Read more

Partner Spotlight

Combined Health Agencies

To improve our community's health by supporting member agencies through individual and corporate giving.

Since 1970, Combined Health Agencies has worked to better the health of residents in the San Diego community. Combined Health Agencies is an umbrella organization comprised of twenty-five chapters of local and national health charities dedicated to providing education, client and community services and funding research. Collectively, more than 1.6 million individuals are touched annually by these various programs and services, and in the last three years, over $100 million have been invested in local research to find new therapies, drugs and cures to improve quality of life for those suffering from a specific disease or health condition.

Web site


CPAT Seminars:

Making the Most of Your Medicines
Thursday, November 5, 2009
12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Embassy Suites Sacramento
River City Ballroom
100 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814

For more information, please contact Charlotte Phillips at (916) 658-0144 or


Making the Most of Your Medicines
Thursday, November 12, 2009
12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Hilton San Diego Mission Valley
Carmel III Room 901
Camino Del Rio South
San Diego, CA 92108

For more information, please contact Arlen Valdivia at (323) 466-3445 or



Check out our CPAT partner events occurring this month!

Welcome New Partners

Join Now


In the News

Prescription for success: Don't bother nurses
San Francisco Chronicle, October 28, 2009
For nurses, constant interruptions while tending to a patient are part of the job. But a distraction that happens while they're giving medications could have deadly results. A UCSF program to improve accuracy in administering drugs -- with particular emphasis on reducing interruptions that often lead to mistakes -- resulted in a nearly 88 percent drop in errors over 36 months at the nine Bay Area hospitals, according to results being released today.

Electronic medical records not seen as a cure-all
Washington Post, October 25, 2009
In a health care debate characterized by partisan bickering, most lawmakers agree on one thing: American medicine needs to go digital. But such bipartisan enthusiasm has obscured questions about the effectiveness of health information technology products, critics say. Interviews with more than two dozen doctors, academics, patients and computer programmers suggest that computer systems can increase errors, add hours to doctors' workloads and compromise patient care.

Health care bills do little to address medical errors
San Francisco Chronicle, October 16, 2009
Health care legislation before Congress takes only modest steps to address a problem that is more deadly than inadequate medical insurance -- medical error. Studies show that preventable medical errors, ranging from poor sanitation to mistakes during surgery, kill four times as many people as the lack of medical insurance.

10 Medicine Cabinet Secrets
Women's Day, July 17, 2009
Should your pills stay or should they go? Going by the expiration date is unsatisfying; many people suspect their meds are perfectly usable months after they've supposedly expired. And they're right: A 1980s study conducted by the FDA and the military revealed that most pills remain effective years after their expiration date. But how can you be sure? We talked to doctors, pharmacists and the FDA to get these 10 tips for gauging a date's accuracy--and more.

New Study Shows Danger Of Drug Errors
KTVU-TV FOX 2 San Francisco, May 5, 2009
Patients taking the wrong medicine or combining medicines that have an unexpected outcome can have dangerous or even fatal results. A recent federal study looked at medication errors and what might be done to reduce the startling number of errors that occur every year.

Interesting Information

Holiday Blues

The holiday season can be a time full of joy, cheer, parties and family gatherings. But for many people, it is a time of loneliness and anxiety about an uncertain future.

What Causes Holiday Blues?
Many factors can cause the "holiday blues": stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, financial constraints, and the inability to be with one's family and friends. The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension. People may also develop other stress responses such as headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating and difficulty sleeping. Even more people experience post-holiday let down after January 1. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months compounded by the excess fatigue and stress.

Coping with Stress & Depression during the Holidays

  • Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Try to set realistic goals for yourself. Pace yourself and organize your time. Make a list and prioritize the important activities.
  • Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Don't put the entire focus on just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day).
  • Remember the holiday season does not banish reasons for feeling sad or lonely; there is room for these feelings to be present, even if the person chooses not to express them.
  • Leave "yesteryear" in the past and look toward the future. Life brings changes, and each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way. Don't set yourself up in comparing today with the "good ol' days."
  • Do something for someone else. Try volunteering some of your time to help others.
  • Enjoy activities that are free, such as taking a drive to look at holiday decorations, going window shopping or making a snowperson with children.
  • Be aware that excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.
  • Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way.
  • Spend time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends, or contact someone you haven't heard from in a while.
  • Save time for yourself! Recharge your batteries and let others share in the responsibility of planning activities.

Can the Environment be a Factor?
Studies show that some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which results from being exposed to fewer hours of sunlight as the days grow shorter during the winter months. Phototherapy, a treatment involving a few hours of exposure to intense light, is shown to be effective in relieving depressive symptoms in patients with SAD.

Other studies on the benefits of phototherapy found that exposure to early morning sunlight can be effective in relieving seasonal depression. Recent findings, however, suggest that patients respond equally well to phototherapy when it is scheduled in the early afternoon. This has practical applications for antidepressant treatment because it allows the use of phototherapy in the workplace as well as the home.

To learn more about depression during the holidays, please visit the Mental Health America Web site.



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