Health

News on health, wellness and health care

Talking About Death Over Dinner

Mar 24, 2015
Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

The last time you went to a dinner party you probably didn’t talk about death. But, that’s the focus of conversation at a growing number of tables. It’s part of a national movement called “Death Over Dinner.” The goal is talk about important questions before it’s too late. Lesley McClurg joined a recent gathering of friends in San Francisco.

Eric Weinstein and his wife Pia Malaney are hosting five friends for dinner.   

The guests arrive just as the sun is setting on a Sunday evening.

California 'Safety-Net' Hospitals at Risk Amidst Health System Changes

Mar 17, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Throughout California, many hospitals that serve mostly low-income patients face financial strains. And as Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento found, changes in the health care system are making the problems even worse.

Safety-net hospitals serve a higher percentage of the uninsured, and low-income patients who have Medi-Cal. Jan Emerson-Shea with the California Hospital Association says these hospitals often don't have enough patients with higher-paying commercial insurance to offset losses.

Zara Arboledo / Valley Children's Hospital

Valley Children’s Hospital has opened an outpatient clinic in Bakersfield in an effort to help ease the growing demand for pediatric specialists in Kern County.

The clinic on 34th street opened its doors Monday. 

“We’re able to start seeing patients that would of normally had to travel to Madera a little bit closer to home in Bakersfield,” says Kari Boscacci, the director of Ambulatory Operations.

California Lawmakers Look At Unequal Access to Health Care

Mar 12, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers spent a large part of Wednesday hearing about ways to make health care equally accessible regardless of race, ability or sexual orientation. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento found, policymakers say solutions will start with better information.

Assembly Health Committee Chair Rob Bonta says eyes may glaze over when the conversation turns to data. But developing different methods of collecting data could reveal problems faced by specific groups of people.

California Doctors, Lawmakers Renew Push for Medi-Cal Rate Increase

Mar 5, 2015

Doctors, insurers, a union and lawmakers are teaming up to push for an increase in Medi-Cal reimbursement rates to providers. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento tells us, the groups are asking for compensation equal to the federal Medicare program.

Lawmakers say they don't just want to reverse the 10 percent reimbursement cut to doctors under Medi-Cal, they want to increase payments to as much as three times what the current rate is for a typical doctor visit. Dr. Luther Cobb is President of the California Medical Association.

Covered California Expects Hundreds of Enrollment Fairs Through The Weekend

Feb 13, 2015

Sunday is the deadline to sign up for a new health insurance plan if you’re buying your own. Covered California says there will be hundreds of enrollment events around the state to give people in-person help. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone dropped in on one this week in Sacramento.

At Highlands High School in North Sacramento, 32 families have trickled in during the first couple of hours of this enrollment event.

California Lawmakers Revisit Proposal To Put Health Advisory on Sodas

Feb 12, 2015
Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers will be taking another look at a proposal that would require warning labels on sugary drinks. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento explains, the bill is similar to one that failed last year.

The proposal would mandate health advisories on sodas, sweet teas and energy drinks with 75 calories or more per 12 ounces.

Democratic Senator Bill Monning says the evidence of the link between sugar, obesity and diabetes is "rock solid."

California Lawmakers Want to Remove "Personal Belief" Exemption From Vaccine Law

Feb 5, 2015
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

U.S. and California State Senators say it’s time to change a law that allows parents to opt out of vaccinations for their kids. Democratic State lawmakers propose a bill to require children to be vaccinated before they attend school, unless there is a medical reason. Capital Public Radio’s Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone visited a Sacramento school where a number of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their kids because of personal beliefs.  

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

With the second enrollment period of Covered California coming to an end, state officials are making their last rounds encouraging more residents to sign up and avoid a tax penalty.

There’s about 275,000 Californians who have recently signed up for a health insurance plan through Covered California. But now people have less than two weeks to enroll as the February  15 open enrollment deadline approaches. Those who miss the date, could face a tax penalty.

Executive Director Peter Lee made a stop in Fresno Wednesday afternoon at an insurance exchange office.

Merced Police Department

A Golden Valley Health Centers pediatrician was taken into custody for allegedly placing a camera inside a patient restroom at the health centers’ clinic in Merced.

Officers arrested Dr. Carlos Teran Tuesday morning at the 847 Childs Avenue clinic. The investigation was sparked after a woman found a camera inside a flower pot in the unisex bathroom Friday afternoon, Lt. Tom Trinidad says. After collecting statements from staff, Teran was taken into custody.

Fresno County Department of Public Health

On Monday a child care center in Santa Monica closed after a baby there contracted measles. It’s just the latest case in California  – at least 92 since December – that has health officials worried about a possible widespread outbreak.

Last week the measles concern hit Fresno County after officials revealed that a man with the virus visited the third and fourth floors of Community Regional Medical Center, as well as Fashion Fair Mall and Winco Foods on Kings Canyon and Peach between January 22nd and 25th.

CA Department of Corrections

More than 2,100 California inmates will have to be moved from two Central Valley prisons because they may be susceptible of contracting valley fever.

Results from skin tests conducted earlier this month showed an additional 3,050 inmates have already been exposed to the potentially deadly illness.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will move the inmates from Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons but officials are still determining where the inmates will be transferred to.

Fresno County Department of Public Health

Fresno County health officials say a man with measles recently visited a local hospital and other places including the Fashion Fair Mall, possibly exposing residents to the virus.

The man, who is from Southern California, was visiting a relative in the labor and delivery floor at Community Regional Medical Center. He was on the third and fourth floor of the hospital on two different occasions between January 22 and 25 at 9:00 p.m.

Health officials say CRMC is taking steps to contact patients who were exposed to this highly contagious disease.  

California Lawmakers Introduce 'End-of-Life Option" Act

Jan 27, 2015
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

California lawmakers say public opinion has changed since the last time “right to die” legislation has been proposed in the state. That may explain why a group of Democratic lawmakers has introduced the “End of Life Option Act.” As Capital Public Radio’s Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone explains, the measure is modeled after a similar law in Oregon.

Fresno County

Fresno County's Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday two people have died from complications of flu infections. Both men, one in his 40’s and the other one in his 50’s, had medical conditions which put them at risk from the flu.

Joe Prado, the county’s community health manager, says the men were hospitalized in intensive care for five days before they died earlier this month due to influenza A.

“It’s concerning to our community when we lose two individuals but also it reminds us how deadly flu is.”

Community Regional Medical Center

The ongoing battle over pediatric services between two Central Valley hospitals reached another level Monday. 

Community Medical Centers and UCSF plan to strengthen their partnership in the valley by expanding pediatric specialty care and a pediatric medical education program at CMC’s downtown Fresno hospital.

The center’s announcement came weeks after rival Valley Children’s Hospital revealed a plan to build its own pediatric residency and fellowship programs, after working with UCSF for years.

Craig Kohlruss / The Fresno Bee

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is spending more than $5 million dollars to test around 90,000 inmates for the potentially deadly illness. The goal is to reduce number of infections, and determine who can be housed at both Avenal and Pleasant Valley Prisons.

The results from the newly available skin test will reveal who is at a higher risk of catching Valley Fever and who is not. Those found to be in high-risk groups will not be transferred to the two prisons.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Valley Children’s plan for a new medical education program for pediatric residents and fellows might lead to the breakup of a long running partnership in local medicine.

The new program will train doctors to become pediatric sub-specialists at the hospital, and will establish a fellowship program. The hospital’s choice to have its own residency program means that the hospital’s 40 year medical education partnership with UCSF – Fresno could come to an end.

Fountains For Schools With Limited Water Access

Jan 8, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

More than 100 schools in California's Central Valley will receive water purification stations under a new program designed to give kids fresh water instead of sugary drinks with lunch. Capital Public Radio's Bob Moffitt reports.

The California Endowment created the pilot project called "Agua For All" and has joined with three regional groups in the state to identify schools that need water fountains or water filtration systems. 

Sarah Buck with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation says 120 schools will receive new fountains.

Children's Hospital Central California

Valley Children's Hospital has announced a plan for a new graduate medical education program for pediatric residents and fellows.

The new program will trains doctors to become pediatric sub-specialists at the hospital, and will establish a fellowship program.

The hospital says it has offered to sponsor the existing pediatric residency program,  which is a partnership with UCSF. Officials with Valley Children's say the hospital will continue to support that program financially until the hospital's own residency program is established. 

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