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health care

KMC / Kern County

The California State Senate’s health committee held a rare hearing in Bakersfield this afternoon discussing the local impact of President Elect Trump’s quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez testified that while Kern Medical has seen its financial health improve in recent years, that could change quickly if the law is rolled back.

Ask Emily: New Rules to Limit Medi-Cal 'Death Fees'

Jan 5, 2017
California Healthline

Six months after her mother died in 2014, Karen Craig opened her mailbox to find a bill for $9,530.06.

It came from Medi-Cal, the state’s version of the Medicaid program for low-income people, which was seeking repayment for her mother’s medical care even though she had used her coverage just once, for a routine wellness exam. (Her mother’s medical costs were primarily covered by Medicare, the federal program for seniors, Craig says.)

“I was just shocked and panicked,” says Craig, a Central Coast resident.

Facebook page of Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Bakersfield’s Kern Medical has selected to work with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control on a new clinical trial for valley fever. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made the announcement Thursday at the hospital. The study aims to learn more about both diagnosing and treating the disease.

Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that grows in the soil throughout the southwest, including the Southern San Joaquin Valley. If inhaled it can cause serious health problems, those most people never know they have been infected.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Sometimes in public policy, especially in health care, most everyone agrees there is an obvious problem. But more often than not, getting everyone to agree on a solution is much harder. That’s what is happening right now when it comes to access to mental health care in the Central Valley and two mental health facilities are showing that gap in a stark way.

First, let’s get the ‘thing everyone agrees on’ out of the way.

It’s probably not a surprise that the Central Valley has a severe shortage of mental health facilities and providers.

Kern County Public Health Services Department Facebook

A new report from the Kern County Public Health Services Department is looking at the issue of childhood deaths in the county. According to the report, 51 children under the age of 17 died in the county last year.

Around 40 percent of the deaths were accidental, including drowning and car crashes. Another 40 percent were considered undetermined, meaning there was insufficient or conflicting evidence for the coroner to issue a cause of death.  

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Over the last few weeks, Valley Public Radio has aired a series of reports looking at how life in violent communities can affect the health of area residents, and how the lack of health care can contribute to some of that violence at times. But there’s another side of this story – the one of the police who patrol those streets.

In the first part of a series on the health impacts of violence in the community, Valley Public Radio introduced you to the family of a mentally ill man fatally shot by police. His case is an extreme example but the mental and physical health impacts of violence can be seen in more subtle ways too. Now some people are now comparing violence in the valley with a well-known condition often connected to war.

Joey Williams has spent nearly his entire life living in east Bakersfield.

Fresno Police Department

Community violence and a visit to the doctor might seem like two totally unrelated topics. But for people living in violent communities, and the police who patrol them, it might be more closely related than you think. In the first report in a multi-part series on the links between health care and violence in the San Joaquin Valley, we learn what happened when one man’s health care interventions became law enforcement interventions. 

Roger and Freddy Centeno were brothers and part of a big family living in Southeast Fresno. In all, there were nine kids, six girls and three boys.

HCCA

This month in Tulare, voters are being asked to weigh in on a big issue – whether or not to support a $55 million bond measure for hospital construction at the Tulare Regional Medical Center. The hospital last issued an $85 million bond back in 2005 to fund a new tower for the hospital. But the project went out of control, and construction stopped as the money ran out, with the tower incomplete.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

The last time we reported about the Fresno Needle Exchange, it was an illegal program, operating without support from policymakers and under threat of police intervention. It became legal in 2012 under a state law. Now, the program is more popular than ever, and new research suggests it’s making the community safer.

Michael lives in north Fresno. He’s 56. He studied social work and he’s now self-employed. He has a daughter in nearby Dinuba. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Have you ever called your doctor or hospital seeking an appointment and been told the wait will be weeks or maybe months? You have been affected by the Central Valley’s doctor shortage.

Now more than one group is pushing a potential solution, locally sourced doctors from a new medical school.

Being in a waiting room at the doctor’s office isn’t the most pleasant place to be.

But waiting to get into that waiting room can be even worse.

That is what health care experts call a ‘doctor shortage’ and in the valley it’s bad.

Courtesy Kaweah Delta Health Care District.

A controversial bond measure for the Kaweah Delta Hospital district in Visalia has been defeated by voters. The special mail in ballot sought approval for a $327 million bond to construct a new hospital wing, to replace an existing facility that doesn’t meet state earthquake standards. As of late last night, the measure was well short of the required two thirds approval, with only 43 percent of voters in support.

 

 

Clovis Community Medical Center could soon be home to a new state of the art cancer treatment facility. The Community Medical Centers board voted recently to proceed with design work on the planned $65 million facility adjacent to the current hospital.

 

Paul Ortiz is vice president of cancer services for Community. He says the goal is to consolidate all of Community’s outpatient cancer services in the new building, including those currently offered at CRMC in downtown Fresno and the California Cancer Center in north Fresno.

Effort To End "Surprise" Medical Bills Resumes In Sacramento

Mar 22, 2016
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

An effort to do away with “surprise medical bills” narrowly failed in the California Legislature last year, but patient and consumer advocates think they can resurrect it this year. Ben Bradford reports from Sacramento.

KMC / Kern County

Kern Medical Center has a new name. But that's actually the smallest change the venerable public hospital is set to undertake in the next year. After being run by Kern County for over a century, the hospital - now branded simply as "Kern Medical" - will be spun off later this year to a newly created, independent hospital authority. 

Kern Medical CEO Russell Judd says the new name reflects a new era for the nearly 150 year-old institution. 

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