Health

Air Quality
4:24 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Would You Build A Park Next To A Freeway? Fresno May Build Two

The group says parks next to freeways are a risk to children’s health and that direct exposure to exhaust can lead to higher rates of asthma, diabetes and gastrointestinal disease.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

With the final vote for the Fresno General Plan Update and Environmental Impact Report just around the corner, activists are appealing for changes to the plan that could potentially alter the health of children in the region. 

A group of activists an    d health leaders met today at the site of a proposed new park in Northwest Fresno near Highway 99 to protest what they call a big problem with the city's proposed new general plan. Their concern - this park and another would be built next to busy freeways - and the polluted air that comes from them.

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Health
12:12 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

On Valley Edition: Valley Children's Hospital CEO Todd Suntrapak

Valley Children's Hospital CEO Todd Suntrapak.
Credit http://www.childrenscentralcal.org/Info/Leaders/Pages/ToddSuntrapak.aspx

Last week the valley’s only pediatric hospital announced some big changes, starting with a new name – Children’s Hospital Central California is now returning the name it had from 1950’s through the early 2000’s Valley Children’s Hospital.

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Health
4:46 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Valley Children's Returning To Old Name, Creating Health Network

Children's Hospital Central California is switching its name back to Valley Children's Hospital, and creating a new network of pediatric care.
Credit Valley Children's Hospital

Children's Hospital Central California announced three big changes they say will improve quality of care for children in the Central Valley.

First, Children's Hospital Central California is returning to its old name Valley Children's Hospital, which it hasn't officially used since 2002.

Second, the hospital revealed its own new health network that will provide a full spectrum of pediatric services for kids in the region.

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Health Care
7:45 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Health In An Age Of Change: State Health Czar Diana Dooley Reflects On The ACA's Impact

Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency
Credit CHHS Dept

Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, oversees 13 departments and supervises the state’s rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act, including Covered California, the state’s insurance marketplace, and the Medi-Cal program for the poor. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her in late 2010. A native of Hanford, she earlier served as president and CEO of the California Children’s Hospital Assn. She worked for Brown during his first administration.

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Health Care
7:33 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Health Reform In California: A State Of Accelerating Change

Gail Fulbeck unloads her van full of soda, water and snacks onto a dolly so she can re-stock some of the 23 vending machines she owns around downtown Sacramento. The 64-year-old saved a lot of money by switching to a Bronze health plan under Covered California.
Credit Lauren M. Whaley / CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Gail Fulbeck, 64, relies on her body for work. She hauls soda, energy drinks, snacks and water to the 23 vending machines she owns around downtown Sacramento.

The physical demands of her job, coupled with her husband’s history of migraines and bad knees, make health insurance essential.

Last year, Fulbeck and her husband paid a monthly insurance premium of $2,555.

Starting Jan. 1 of this year, the couple’s premium for a nearly identical plan totaled $165. It was, she said, almost unbelievable.

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Health
5:30 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Arvin Residents Move Back Home Despite Health Concerns

Eight families living on Nelson Court in the small agricultural town of Arvin are finally returning home after being evacuated because of a gas leak in March.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

After being forced to evacuate in March because of a gas leak, eight Arvin families are finally returning to the place they call home. But, as Fm89’s Diana Aguilera explains, some residents are still concerned about the situation.

State and Kern County officials met with the families on Friday and told them it was safe for the residents to return home.

Representatives from the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources say the rounds of testing done in and around the homes on Nelson Court confirmed that the level of gasses were back to normal.

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Health Care
3:09 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Covered California Attempting To Calm Immigrants' Fears

Covered California is trying to reassure immigrant communities their information will not be turned over to immigration authorities if they sign up for health insurance.

Only documented immigrants are eligible for California’s health insurance exchange. But Executive Director Peter Lee says the fear of deportation still prevents some from using the service.   

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Health
5:31 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Fresno County Supervisors OK Juvenile Psychiatric Ward, Hold Firm On Pot

It's still illegal to grow marijuana in Fresno County. The Board of Supervisors entertained the possibility of lifting the outright ban on cultivation during their meeting today but instead decided to retain the county's zero tolerance policy.

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Health
10:26 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Advocates Say More Immigrants Eligible For Medi-Cal

file photo
Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

Immigrant advocates say more undocumented Californians could receive health care as a result of President Barack Obama’s recent executive action. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

California already allows some undocumented immigrants to enroll in Medi-Cal if they’ve qualified for deportation relief. Anthony Wright is Executive Director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access California. He says the president's executive action will expand the pool of Medi-Cal eligible immigrants.

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Health
12:51 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Covered California Hopes To Enroll More Latinos, But There's A Problem

Covered California executive director Peter Lee urges Fresno residents to sign up during the second open enrollment period, which started Saturday and runs through February 15.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

With the second open enrollment period of Covered California in full swing, state officials are boosting their efforts to reach out to Latinos. Yet, there are many people in the Central Valley who are living in the shadows when it comes to enrolling for health care.

Covered California officials say they're proud to have signed up 1.2 million people for health insurance during the first year. But Executive Director Peter Lee says there’s still some things they want to improve.

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Health Care
11:39 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Covered California Gears Up For Open Enrollment

Covered California is trying to raise awareness about the start of open enrollment this Saturday, November 15th. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us from Sacramento, the experience this year may be different for people buying their own insurance.

Covered California says its website this year will be able to accommodate more people who might be logging in at the same time. And Director Peter Lee says it will have 200 storefront locations and expanded service center hours.

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Health Care
4:36 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Fresno County To Fund Health Care For Undocumented, Partially

Undocumented immigrants may not lose access to specialty health care in Fresno County, after the Board of Supervisors approved a new $5.5 million plan on Tuesday. 

The move comes just months after the county voted to exclude those in the country illegally from accessing the Medically Indigent Services Program or MISP, a safety net program that had provided immigrants care for decades. 

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Health
4:07 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Fresno Supervisors To Determine Fate Of Health Care For The Undocumented

After months of uncertainty, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors will decide on Tuesday the future of health care for its undocumented community.

The board has two options. They can accept or reject a deal from the state to defer the county’s payment of $5.5 million for road funds in exchange of continuing to provide specialty care for the medically indigent.

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Health
11:30 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Female Fresno State Student Diagnosed With Tuberculosis

Fresno State campus.
Credit Fresno State / Fresno State Official Facebook

A female Fresno State student was recently diagnosed with active tuberculosis, Fresno County health officials announced Thursday.

David Luchini, the assistant director of the county’s department of public health, says the female student was diagnosed about a week to ten days ago. Luchini says the student was infectious.

"Now we're working very closely with the Fresno State medical staff to identify students who we consider close contacts to the student who has tuberculosis, to get these contacts screened with a TB skin test," he says.

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Health
4:48 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Cases of Enterovirus D68 On The Rise In California; Local Hospitals Prepare

Children's Hospital Central California says they are taking the necessary precautions to protect patients from Enterovirus D68.
Credit Children's Hospital Central California

California public health officials announced Friday that 14 people have now been diagnosed with Enterovirus D-68, a respiratory virus that has sent children to emergency rooms across the country. Out of the 14 cases, there were no cases confirmed in the Central Valley.

So far, the virus has affected children ages ranging from 11 months old to 15 years of age in the state, epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez said. Mild symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, fever and muscle aches. Health officials say symptoms can escalate for children with asthma, triggering severe wheezing.

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Health In the Central Valley
5:01 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Brown Signs Bill To Help Fresno County Continue Indigent Care

Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Sunday in an effort to help Fresno County continue to provide health care services for the indigent and undocumented population. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea, comes several weeks after the county voted to eliminate a health safety net for undocumented immigrants.

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Health
4:39 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

In East Porterville "They Were Drinking Water That Looked Yellow And Red"

Andrea Zousino has lived in East Porterville all her life. She says this is the first time that the private well that supplies water to her home went dry.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This story is part of a Valley Public Radio original series on how the health of rivers impact the health of communities produced as a project for The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of USC's Annenberg School of Journalism.

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Health
11:39 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Student At New Pharmacy School Plans To Give Back To The Central Valley

The Central Valley has struggled with a long list of health care issues for decades. Now with the opening of the Valley’s first and only pharmacy school in Clovis just weeks ago. Instructors and students hope to make a dent in the problem and attract more health care professionals to the region. FM 89’s Diana Aguilera explains how one young man plans to help by giving back to the community he calls home.

Meet 25-year-old Jose Vera. Ever since Vera was young there was one thing that always sparked his imagination.

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Health
6:12 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Seville Residents Get Green Light to Drink Tap Water

Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

The community of Seville has received good news: its residents can finally drink their tap water.

With the help of Tulare County and state emergency funding, the unincorporated community last month drilled a new well for its 500 residents—and tests just confirmed that its water is potable.

The community had been struggling for years with high levels of nitrates and leaky pipes.  Ryan Jensen with the Community Water Center says water pressure is also a problem: when it’s too low, contaminants can get in.

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Health Care
10:31 am
Wed August 20, 2014

400,000 Medi-Cal Applicants Still Waiting for Coverage

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The state of California says about 400,000 applicants to the Medi-Cal program are still waiting for their coverage. Administrators say they’ve made a lot of progress on the backlog in recent weeks. But as Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us from Sacramento, consumer advocates say the state could be doing more to get people coverage faster.  

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