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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Government & Politics
7:13 am
Sat June 21, 2014

Audit Finds That California Prisoners Were Illegally Sterilized

A new audit finds that prisoners at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.
Credit CDCR

A California State Audit has found that dozens of women in state prisons were sterilized illegally. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone says prison medical officials are faulted for not following consent laws.  

Lawmakers called for the audit after coverage from the Center for Investigative Reporting last year. The Center found more than 100 incarcerated women had tubal ligations without proper approvals since 2006.

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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
5:54 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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Government & Politics
12:10 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Families Concerned By Possible IHSS Changes

Judy Lee smiles at her son Justin.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s In-Home Supportive Services program allows the disabled to remain in their homes by paying for their caregivers. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, a proposal to modify the program is creating tension in the state budget process.

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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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The Moral Is
10:29 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Commentary: It's Not Just Physicians Who Are Influenced By Gift Giving

Christopher Meyers, Professor of Philosophy and Executive Director, Kegley Institute of Ethics, California State University, Bakersfield.

The same human characteristics that build community can also work against its well-being. As humans, we give back to those who are kind to us and we feel indebted to those who show us kindness.  In this edition of FM89’s commentary series The Moral Is, philosophy professor Christopher Meyers of CSU Bakersfield argues that our disposition for reciprocity can work against the common good. 

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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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The Moral Is
9:07 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Commentary: What Is Death?

Christopher Meyers

Should parents have to option to determine the definition of death for their children? Jahi McMath’s case has motivated that question, along with a host of associated ethical concerns. In this edition of Valley Public Radio’s The Moral Is, Christopher Meyers, Professor of Philosophy at CSU Bakersfield and a clinical ethicist, concludes that there are medical, scientific and moral reasons why determinations of death must be left to health care experts.

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What does it mean to say someone has died?

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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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Education
3:47 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Central Valley Students Win Big at International Science and Engineering Fair

Ashima Thusu and Japmeet Sandhu of Clovis North High School won a special award from the American Statistical Association.
Credit Jennifer Weibert

Last week, 1700 high school students from over 70 countries met in Los Angeles for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, including 5 students from Fresno and Clovis.

Beatrice Choi, a sophomore from Fresno’s University High School, brought home third place in Chemistry.

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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 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 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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