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health care

400,000 Medi-Cal Applicants Still Waiting for Coverage

Aug 20, 2014
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.  

Community Hospitals / UCSF Fresno

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted today to end specialty health care services to its undocumented residents and took a step to end its contract for medical services for the poor.

The county took advantage of a recent court ruling to exclude undocumented residents from the program. The change would take effect December 1.

In a majority vote, the county also took a step to end its long running contract with Community Regional Medical Center for its indigent population.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Juana Paredes is a farmworker who lives in Fresno. A couple days ago, she took her daughter and niece with her to the Mosqueda Community Center and joined others in a rally to stop Fresno County from dismantling a program that offers health care to undocumented residents.

Sitting in the front row, Paredes says she showed up because she has a clear message to Fresno County— continue health care services for the undocumented.

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.

Contentious Health Bills Await California Lawmakers Upon Return

Jul 7, 2014
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.

Families Concerned By Possible IHSS Changes

Jun 11, 2014
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.

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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Three Year California Medical School Pilot Program Set to Begin

Jun 9, 2014
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.”

Commentary: What Is Death?

Jun 2, 2014

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?

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:

Californians Get More Time To Switch From COBRA To Covered California

May 16, 2014

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.

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

May 14, 2014
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.

KMC / Kern County

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.

Bill To Extend Medi-Cal To Undocumented Immigrants Moves Forward

Apr 30, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 The California Senate Health Committee approved a bill today that would make undocumented immigrants eligible for  Medi-Cal benefits. Capital Public Radio’s Max Pringle reports.

Backers of the bill say it would prevent millions of people from having to forego needed medical care because they can’t afford it. Democratic State Senator Ricardo Lara says his bill would give immigrants access to a system they help pay for.

Lara: “In 2010 alone, undocumented immigrants contributed $2.2 billion in state and local taxes.”

Last week’s court decision on medical care for undocumented individuals has both health advocates and legal experts across the state buzzing. And as FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, the issue could have an impact beyond those in the program.

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The ruling by Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald Black lifted part of a 30-year-old court order involving specialty medical care for the indigent.

The county had been barred from using a person’s immigration status to turn away people from the program.

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