Health

Just One Breath
6:03 am
Sat September 21, 2013

Valley Fever Movement Could Learn from Health Success Stories

7-year-old Emily Gorospe reads from a handwritten note describing how valley fever has changed her life, at a town hall event in Bakersfield last year hosted by state Sen. Michael Rubio.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

When experts and policymakers from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention land in Bakersfield next week, they will be met by many smart, well-meaning individuals hoping for better treatments for valley fever and, ultimately, for a cure.

But they won’t be met by a movement.

Despite its severe toll in California’s Central Valley and other hot spots, valley fever has remained overlooked and underfunded for decades. The absence of a strong patient advocacy movement has contributed to the chronic neglect, experts say.

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Health
11:00 am
Tue September 10, 2013

For Madera Hospital, Obamacare Presents Questions And Uncertainty

Madera Community Hospital officials are unsure of how care will be funded and reimbursed once the Affordable Care Act is implemented.
Madera Community Hospital

If Madera Community Hospital is a safety net for county residents, then medical professionals like Stephanie Rolfo are a crucial link. On a September morning, Rolfo greets a patient who’s coming to the hospitals’ on-site clinic for a physical.

The hospital has 106 beds, and is the only adult acute care facility in the county. It also operates three rural health clinics, like the one where Rolfo, who’s a nurse practitioner, works.

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Health Care
5:13 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Home Birth Midwives Would Keep Attending to 'Low Risk' Pregnancies, Under California Bill

In modern times, midwives tending to homebirths have largely been marginalized from mainstream medicine. But a bill moving through the California legislature could foster stronger links between midwives and obstetricians.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Midwives have been delivering babies for most of human history. In modern times, midwives tending to homebirths have largely been marginalized from mainstream medicine. But a bill moving through the California legislature could foster stronger links between midwives and obstetricians. Capital Public Radio’s Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more.

In Tosi Marceline’s practice, pre-natal check-ups happen in the living room.

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Health Care
11:43 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Covered California TV Campaign Uses 'Welcome' Message

A screen capture from the first English language tv ad for Covered California
Credit Covered California

California’s new health insurance marketplace will start advertising through TV commercials this week. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento has more on the choice of messaging.

One of the Covered California ads features images of road signs, and shows a family driving down the California coastline with smiles on their faces and wind in their hair. 

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Health
10:18 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Growers Find Innovative Ways To Provide Health Care To Employees

All Paramount Citrus employees can visit the company's new, on-site health center.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

The almond harvest is well underway in Madera County.

Along a tree-lined, rural road, about a dozen Agriland employees are loading almonds into a huge elevator. The nuts will then be loaded into a truck. They will appear on the shelves as Blue Diamond-brand almonds, among others.

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Health
6:08 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

California Proposes Lower Threshold for Carcinogenic Substance in Drinking Water

Credit Valley Public Radio

California health officials propose to lower the limits of a heavy-metal often found in drinking water. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The California Department of Public Health proposes a regulation that would reduce the allowable level of ‘chromium-6’ in water to five times less than it is now. 

Chromium-six is carcinogenic. The substance is both naturally occurring, and leaks into the water supply from industrial hazardous waste areas.

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Mental Health
3:31 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

California Audit Points to Lack of Oversight of Mental Health Funding

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers and mental health groups say they ‘welcome’ new findings of inadequate oversight of state mental health funds. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The California State Auditor says state agencies haven’t made ‘serious efforts’ to measure the effectiveness of county programs intended to mitigate mental illness.

Democratic State Senate President Darrell Steinberg helped create the Mental Health Services Act.

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Health Care
3:21 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Some Rural Hospitals Given Partial Exemption from Medi-Cal Cuts

Hospitals in California are commending the state’s decision to prevent Medi-Cal rate cuts to rural hospitals with nursing facilities. Some of them have been at risk of closure. 

Republican State Assemblymember Brian Dahle says these medical providers are main employers in communities he represents in Northern California.

“We have folks who travel a long ways to those hospitals. And if we lose those hospitals we’re going to lose tour communities. And it would be hundreds of miles to get to the next facility so that’s very critical for our areas,” says Dahle.

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Health
2:02 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

California Supreme Court Rules in School Insulin Case

The California Supreme Court Building in Sacramento (file photo)
Credit Flickr user Steve Rhodes - Creative Commons / http://www.flickr.com/photos/ari/

The California Supreme Court has ruled that school employees without medical licenses can give insulin shots to diabetic students in some cases.

Monday’s unanimous ruling reverses a lower court decision that permitted only licensed nurses to give the shots.

Dr. Francisco Prieto is with the American Diabetes Association. He says the ruling is necessary to keep students at understaffed schools safe.

“Most schools do not have a full time nurse present all day long and kids with diabetes need care,” says Prieto.

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Health Care Reform
6:00 am
Tue August 13, 2013

How Will Young Adults and College Students Fare Under Obamacare?

Emily Bazar

Another in a series of Q&A columns answering consumers’ questions about the Affordable Care Act.

Q: My youngest child is 21 and graduated from college in May. My other daughter is 24 and is still a college student in Stockton. What are my options with them under the Affordable Care Act?

A: The good news, Simona, is that your daughters may have several options and their coverage could fall into place easily.

Or not.

Let’s cross our fingers and begin with “could fall into place easily.”

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Health Care
5:56 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

California Insurance Board to Pursue Pediatric Dentistry Coverage

The board of California’s health insurance exchange is looking for ways to add children’s dental insurance to the health plan it will roll out under the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Max Pringle / Capital Public Radio

California’s health insurance exchange board has taken a step toward adding children’s dental insurance to the health plans it will offer under the Affordable Care Act. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

The Covered California board wants to give consumers dental insurance options other than as stand-alone plans. To that end the board has voted unanimously to explore ways to add the coverage to its medical insurance plan by 2015. Elizabeth Landsberg with the Western Center on Law and Poverty says low income parents need a variety of affordable options. 

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Health Care
6:04 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Nurse Practitioner Measure Stalls in California Assembly

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The push to change California law to allow nurse practitioners more independence from doctors suffered a major setback today in an Assembly committee. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more.

The Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection voted down the measure, but the bill’s author says he wants it reconsidered.  Democratic State Senator Ed Hernandez says lifting restrictions on nurses would help meet a new demand for primary care under the Affordable Care Act, especially in areas without enough doctors.

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Health Care Reform
3:48 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Bill Would Break Down Language Barriers for Immigrants Receiving Healthcare

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A provision of federal healthcare reform may make it easier for immigrants to deal with language barriers.

Under the Affordable Care Act, California is eligible to receive $270 million to set up an interpreter program for Medi-cal patients.

The state would have to contribute 30 million dollars. The money would fund the program for three years.

Maximus Weikel is with Interpreting for California, which is urging the state to put up its share of the money. He says it would cover common languages, and those that are less well known in the United States.

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Health Care Reform
11:26 am
Tue July 30, 2013

What Does Obamacare Mean For You? We 'Ask Emily'

Emily Bazar

What does Obamacare mean for you? With the expansion of coverage just months away, we asked Emily Bazar,  senior writer with the California HealthCare Foundation’s Center for Health Reporting at the Annenberg School For Communication and Journalism at USC. She's the author of a regular column called "Ask Emily" which aims to answer questions about the complex and sometimes confusing law, also known as the Affordable Care Act. She joined us on Valley Edition to talk about issues like:

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Ask Emily
6:12 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Help! What Can Obamacare Do For Me Now?

Emily Bazar, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

 Another in a series of Q&A columns answering consumers’ questions about the Affordable Care Act.

Q: I am a married, 62-year-old female unable to obtain health insurance. I am retired and financially comfortable and in general good health. My husband is on Medicare/Anthem Blue Cross supplemental, so he is taken care of.

Who can I contact by phone to walk me through the process correctly? I have had several insurance salesmen contact me, and they each tell me something different.

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Health Care Reform
4:50 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

State Insurance Exchange Gets Ready to Launch Multimillion Dollar Marketing Effort

The new health insurance marketplace known as Covered California is getting ready to launch a $240 million dollar marketing and outreach campaign.

The exchange says about a third of that money will go towards TV, radio and digital media advertising.

Dana Howard of Covered California says enrollment counselors and educators will be spreading the word too.

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Just One Breath
6:41 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Congressional Task Force to Aid Valley Fever Fight

Credit Designed by ReportingonHealth.org graphic artist, Claudia Delgado

Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy made another move in his crusade against valley fever Wednesday, announcing the new “Congressional Valley Fever Task Force.”

The panel is comprised of 11 Republicans and three Democrats from California, Arizona and Texas. McCarthy said the group grew out of meetings he’s had throughout the year with Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., who will co-chair the task force.

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Health
6:22 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Employer Mandate Delay Means Working Californians Will Find Own Health Care

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (file photo)
Credit California Department of Insurance

California’s Insurance Commissioner says the Obama administration’s decision to delay the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act means more people will have to buy their own health insurance in a few months. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The Department of Insurance says the vast majority of California’s large companies already offer their employees health coverage. But about one and a half million Californians are in companies with 50 or more workers, and no insurance options.  

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Health
7:23 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Why Does the Central Valley Have A Big Mental Health Problem?

According to a new study of mental health throughout the state, the valley has the highest mental illness rate in California. It also is the region with the fewest mental health professionals.

Statewide around 1 in 20 adults suffer from a serious mental illness. Valley counties score even higher. While 5.1 percent of Fresno adults have a serious mental illness, and 5.7 percent of Kern County residents, that number rises to 6.9 percent in Kings County and 7 percent in Madera County.

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Health Care
6:05 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Covered California Starts Training Health Care 'Educators'

More than two-thousand Californians are being trained this month to educate people about getting coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

Several dozen people affiliated with labor unions, local government and non-profits filled a room at UC Davis School of Medicine to hear about the federal health care law. 

They’re part of a $37 million effort by Covered California to educate people about the benefits of buying insurance through the new state health insurance marketplace. 

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