Health

Health Care
11:21 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Fresno Among Worst California Counties For Whooping Cough Rates

Some California counties are showing substantially higher rates of whooping cough than the state average. And as Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento was told, the epidemic this year could be one of the worst in fifty years.

Marin, Humboldt, Sonoma and Fresno counties have some of the highest rates of pertussis. Whooping cough surges every three to five years, but Dr. Dean Blumberg of the UC Davis Health System says this year is terrible.

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Health
10:35 am
Fri July 11, 2014

11,000 Stuck In Fresno County's Medi-Cal Backlog

Irving Toscano became newly eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act.

California’s poor continue to face month long waits in getting state health coverage. FM 89’s Diana Aguilera reports how a young couple in Fresno County is dealing with the backlog.

Paola Martinez and her husband Irving Toscano thought they had done everything right to get health care coverage.

They made sure they met the Medi-Cal eligibility requirements, they filled out the paperwork and signed up through the Covered California website at the end of March.

But ever since then, they’ve been waiting.

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Health Care
1:01 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Contentious Health Bills Await California Lawmakers Upon Return

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

California lawmakers have left Sacramento for the month of July. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento tells us, when they return, they’ll consider health care measures supported by consumer advocates and opposed by insurance companies.

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Health
5:48 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

New Study Links Pesticides And Autism

Over the years health officials have raised concerns over exposure to pesticides. But now a new report from UC Davis suggests it could be an even bigger concern for pregnant women.

A new study reveals that pregnant women who live near areas where pesticides are used are more likely to have a child with autism.

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Health
12:28 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Air District Questions Asthma-Air Pollution Link

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

New research this week questions the connection between air pollution and asthma.

In 2011, a study by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District established a link between asthma-related ER visits and levels of PM2.5, or fine particulate matter in valley air.  But after a follow-up to that study, the Air District now reports that for a number of years, asthma-related ER visits increased even as PM2.5 levels dropped.

David Lighthall, health science advisor to the Air District, says the findings should not be interpreted as black and white.

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Health
5:35 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Local Health Officials Worried: Whooping Cough Epidemic Strikes California

The last time California reached a whooping cough epidemic was in 2010. Health officials say it peaks every three to five years.

For the first time in four years, whooping cough has reached an epidemic level. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports how this peak has local health officials worried.

California health officials have recently confirmed that cases of pertussis also known as whooping cough have reached epidemic proportions in the state.

The Department of Public Health reported more than 3,400 cases so far this year. That’s a thousand more cases than all of last year.

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Health
5:54 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

FDA Puts Valley Fever On Key Funding List

Valley Fever is an infection caused by the fungus Coccidioides which is common in the soil in the Central Valley.
Credit Craig Kohlruss / The Fresno Bee

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will include the fungus that causes valley fever on a list of pathogens eligible for federal research funding.

Experts like John Galgiani from the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona say the move will aid in the development of drugs to treat the disease.

"It's another example of increasing recognition of the importance of this problem," Galgiani said. "And repeated recognition can only help but identify this as an unmet need deserving of further funding."

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Health
12:38 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Healthy Rivers: Will Wealthy Fresnans Block Access On The San Joaquin?

The entrance of the proposed Highway 41 point of access.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

This 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 Care
12:23 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Three Year California Medical School Pilot Program Set to Begin

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Students in a pilot accelerated medical school program at UC Davis will begin classes this summer. A bill in the California legislature would allow them to obtain licenses in less than four years. Capital Public Radio’s Max Pringle reports.

The program was set up to address a growing problem in California.

Bonilla: “We have far more patients than we have doctors.”

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Health
9:41 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Mendota Woman's Fight To Overcome Mental Illness Example For The Valley

Silvia says praying on a daily basis has helped her find the strength she needs to overcome major depression.
Credit Diana Aguilera

Many women across the Central Valley have dedicated their lives to their families.

They take on the daily task of being a housewife.

"My name is Silvia, simply Silvia."

Meet Silvia – a housewife from Mendota. Like many other women in rural communities, she's devoted her life to her two sons and husband always greeting them with a smile and home-cooked dinners when they arrive home.

But about a year ago, her smile started to fade.

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Health Care
6:30 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Pharmacy Bill Moves Forward In Legislature

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A new bill that would allow Californians to opt-out of mail order pharmaceutical programs advanced Friday in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AB 2418 would also allow patients and pharmacists to synchronize the pickup of multiple medications. 

The bill is a response to cost-savings efforts by many health insurance providers that have limited options for how patients receive their prescription drugs.

Jon Roth is the CEO of the California Pharmacists Association:

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Health
6:11 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

State Approves Expansion of Kettleman Hills Toxic Waste Facility

Kettleman City is home to one of the largest toxic waste landfills in California.
Credit California Department of Public Health

 

After 6 years, the state of California has approved the expansion of a toxic waste landfill near Kettleman City. The decision will allow the landfill to expand by 50%, or 5 million cubic yards, which owners at Waste Management Incorporated estimate will last about 8 years.

Jim Marxen is a spokesperson for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

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Health
5:46 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Mosquitoes Have Fresno County Health Officials On High Alert

This invasive type of mosquito was first detected in California and Fresno County last summer.
Credit Fresno County Department of Public Health

Two different types of mosquitoes – one that carries West Nile Virus and another that can spread dengue and yellow fever have Fresno County health officials on high alert.

The county says a crow reported earlier this month tested positive for West Nile Virus. Officials have also detected the presence of another invasive mosquito species that can spread potentially serious tropical diseases. In severe cases, the more serious symptoms stemming from these diseases can lead to death.

David Luchini is the assistant director for the county’s Department of Public Health.

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Health
12:57 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

UCSF High School Doctors Academy Sends 81 To University

Twentyone students graduated from Caruthers High School this year throught the Doctors Academy.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

Thousands of students will graduate across Central California over the next few weeks. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports, for a group of students in the small valley town of Caruthers, Thursday night’s graduation was a milestone in more ways than one.

Ermerendo Vasquez comes from a family that is plagued by diabetes. But he says that without the Doctors Academy at Caruthers High School, where he interned with a local physician, he wouldn’t have known how detrimental the disease can be. 

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Health Care
11:27 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Californians Get More Time To Switch From COBRA To Covered California

California’s health insurance exchange has announced a special enrollment period starting Thursday for people who want to opt-out of their COBRA health insurance.

Covered California says about 300,000 people in the state may be paying the full price of what used to be employer-based health coverage.

Executive Director Peter Lee says they have until July 15th if they want to find another option.

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Health
6:14 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Study: Over One Third Of Valley Hospital Patients With Diabetes

The San Joaquin Valley has among the highest diabetes rates in the state.

A new study reveals that around a third of the California’s hospital patients have diabetes. And as FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, it’s even more of a problem in the San Joaquin Valley.

The study released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that among hospital patients in California ages 35 and older, 31 percent had diabetes. That age group makes up the majority of hospitalizations in the state.

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Health Care
2:45 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

New Budget Projects Almost A Third Of Californians Will Have Medi-Cal

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

California Governor Jerry Brown’s new budget estimates that almost a third of the population of California will be enrolled in Medi-Cal during next fiscal year. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

About 11.5 million Californians will get health care through Medi-Cal. That’s higher than what the Governor or state health planners anticipated. So the revised budget adds more than a billion dollars to account for the surge.

Anthony Wright of Health Access says he’s pleased the state expanded Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act.

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Health Care
8:21 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Amid Budget Woes, County Looks To New Future For Kern Medical Center

Kern Medical Center (file photo)
Credit KMC

The Kern County Board of Supervisors met Monday to discuss the future of the county’s financially troubled Kern Medical Center. The Board met with hospital CEO Russell Judd and an outside consultant to outline new governance guidelines for KMC which is losing around $3 million a month.

Supervisor Mike Maggard says the hospital is at a critical juncture.

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Health
7:50 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Event Asks How To Make Kern County More Walkable, Healthy

Downtown Bakersfield (file photo)
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Across California, urban planners and health professionals are increasingly looking at the connections between the design of our communities and the health of the people who live there. Many neighborhoods that lack sidewalks and access to parks have dramatically different health outcomes than those that do. Correcting that problem is the focus of an event taking place on Thursday in Kern County called “Community Design Matters   - Building Walkable Healthy Livable Communities." Dr.

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Health
6:03 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Valley Counties Rank Among Worst In Air Pollution Report

A new report on air quality shows that many neighboorhoods in Fresno County and Bakersfield rank among the worst in the nation when it comes to pollution.

The American Lung Association released the findings of its annual “State of the Air” report today ranking the Fresno- Madera area as the nation’s worst based on exposure to chemicals and particulate matter.

Jaime Holt is the chief communications officer with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

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