Health

Health
4:13 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Kern County Residency Program To Transition to Clinica Sierra Vista

Clinica Sierra Vista will operate the Rio Bravo Family Medicine Residency Program out of a new community health center in east Bakersfield.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Kern Medical Center has welcomed new classes of physician residents specializing in family medicine for more than 30 years. But last week, the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to close the family medicine residency program at the financially struggling medical center, and transition it to Clinica Sierra Vista.

For the county, this arrangement could mean financial savings. The struggling hospital was reportedly losing more than $3 million per year on the family medicine program.

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Health Care
8:18 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Health Insurer Says Individual Plans Will Have Fewer Doctors Next Year

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California health insurers say people buying coverage for themselves next year should expect a different set of doctors and hospitals than are available this year. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California are the largest issuers of individual health insurance policies in the state. Jeff Smith of Blue Shield said in order to keep its plans affordable next year, it negotiated with doctors and hospitals.

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Health
12:01 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Universities Seek Public Input During 'Valley Fever Research Day'

The UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research will host Valley Fever Research Day.
UCSF Fresno

This Saturday, community members are invited to attend Valley Fever Research Day at the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research. The event is an opportunity for researchers from UCSF Fresno, UC Merced, and Fresno State to connect with community members who have been impacted by the disease.

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Health
5:13 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

March of Dimes Report: Valley's Premature Birth Rate Still High

Sarah Hinman Yenser's daughter was born almost four months early.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

California has reduced its premature birth rate. The rate has dropped to 9.6 percent, earning the state an A on the March of Dimes annual report card for the first time.

"But unfortunately in the Central Valley, we’re still at a grade of C, although we’re trending downward on pre-term birth rates, as the state is," Gail Newel, director of the Fresno County Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, said at a press conference this morning.

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Health Care
10:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

California Health Insurers: "Some People Will Pay More, Some People Will Pay Less"

California health insurers say the wave of individual policy cancelations across the country is part of an “evening out” of health care rules under the Affordable Care Act. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

At least 350,000 Californians who currently purchase health insurance will have that coverage canceled this year. Health insurers say they have to comply with new rules that guarantee broad coverage. Some will pay more, some will pay less.

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Commentary
9:56 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Can The Free Market Curb Asthma in Fresno?

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Is there a profit to be found in reducing children’s asthma attacks? A diverse team of public health advocates, asthma care providers, financiers, and foundations has set up a pilot program with the goal of making money for investors while solving a deeply entrenched health crisis in and around Fresno, California.

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Health Care Reform
11:30 am
Mon October 21, 2013

How Will Covered California Verify Incomes?

The final spending deal that ended the federal shutdown includes a provision that adds a layer of scrutiny for income verification in the new health insurance marketplaces.  Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento reports on what it means for California.

The agreement hashed out by Congress calls for federal reports to be submitted about how marketplaces confirm income.  But if you’re enrolling in California’s exchange it’s not going to make any difference.

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Health
7:43 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Study: Soda Consumption Down For Kids Under 12, Up For Teens

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

A UCLA report suggests more than 40 percent of California’s children have at least one sugary drink a day. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone  in Sacramento tells us, that rate has declined in recent years, but not for teenagers.  

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Health
6:06 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Yellow Fever Mosquitoes Discovered in Fresno, Fowler

The yellow fever mosquito is a small, dark mosquito with white markings and banded legs. It may be active around dusk and dawn but bites most often during the day and often bites indoors.
Credit Fresno County Public Health Department

The Fresno County Public Health Department has announced that yellow fever  mosquitoes have been found two more valley cities. The mosquitoes, which are not native to California, were discovered earlier this week in the cities of Fowler and Fresno.

It’s not the first time the potentially dangerous insects have been spotted in the county. In June, the mosquitoes were detected in Clovis. They have also been found in Madera County and San Mateo County.

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Health Care Reform
4:45 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Covered California Says More Than 28,000 People Have Joined Exchange

The Covered California health insurance exchange reported today that, during its first week of operation, more than 28,000 people became eligible for coverage. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

Covered California says the level of interest so far shows how eager Californians are for affordable health insurance.

“A million people in week one researching and finding out what’s right for them is huge,” says Peter Lee, Director of Covered California. He says early confusion about the level of interest was the result of semantics not accounting errors.

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Health Care Reform
10:54 am
Wed October 2, 2013

California's Health Marketplace Opening Through the Eyes of One Uninsured Woman

Credit Edge Hill University, Learning Services Learning Technology Development / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

Covered California opened for business Tuesday. By mid-afternoon, seventeen thousand phone inquiries had been made to the state exchange call centers. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento has the story of one uninsured woman who went shopping for new coverage online.  

Even before the Covered California call center in Rancho Cordova opened, there were floating balloons and words of congratulations.

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Health Care Reform
5:08 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Covered California Chair Dooley Praises "A Commitment to A Culture of Coverage"

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley
Credit CHHS Dept

On Tuesday, California launched its version of Obamacare, with the official debut of the state’s insurance exchange Covered California.

Despite the shutdown of the federal government, the exchange is moving ahead, according to California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley, who spoke to Valley Public Radio Tuesday morning, prior to a launch event at Fresno State. 

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Health Care Reform
12:14 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

How Does The Obamacare Launch Compare With Medicare's Debut?

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare Bill, July 30, 1965
Credit LBJ Presidential Library / YouTube / Public Domain

Open enrollment for health coverage under the federal health law began Tuesday.  Millions of people who may have had trouble getting insurance now have new options. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone reports on how the roll out of the Affordable Care Act compares to the last time the federal government made coverage available to millions.

Ever since the Affordable Care Act passed, health policy makers have been comparing it to another moment in history.

OBAMA: Is this, the most important step that we’ve taken towards health care since Medicare? Absolutely. 

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Health
12:03 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

In California, Some Deferred Action Youth Qualify for Health Care

Under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, announced by President Obama last year, youth aren't eligible for benefits of the Affordable Care Act. But they might be able to access care in California.
www.whitehouse.gov

Last summer, President Obama announced a new policy, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It allows certain immigrant youth to remain in the country and obtain a work permit, without fear of deportation.

“This is a temporary stop-gap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely, while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven and patriotic young people,” Obama said, when he announced the program in June 2012.

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Health
2:41 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Professor: To Gain Attention, Valley Fever Needs Passionate Advocates, Stronger Name

Barron Lerner, an author and faculty member at NYU Langone Medical Center, says valley fever groups should use publicity to explain that they disease can be worse than it sounds.
NYU Langone Medical Center

This week, the leaders of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are joining leading doctors, researchers, lawmakers, and area residents at a two-day symposium on valley fever in Bakersfield. Experts and patients say the meeting is an opportunity to shine a light on the chronically overlooked and misdiagnosed fungal disease.

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Health
10:11 am
Tue September 24, 2013

NIH, CDC Announce Clinical Trial On Valley Fever

National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins describes the valley fever clinical trial during a two-day symposium on the disease in Bakersfield.
Henry Barrios The Bakersfield Californian

The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will undertake a clinical trial to learn more about valley fever, agency leaders announced Monday at the start of a two-day symposium on valley fever, hosted by Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy.

"There are so many things we don't know about valley fever, and the best way to get the answers is to run a clinical trial," said National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins.

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Just One Breath
9:55 am
Mon September 23, 2013

'Unprecedented' Meeting Focuses On Valley Fever

Congressman Kevin McCarthy is hosting a symposium on valley fever in Bakersfield.
Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Kings County health officer Dr. Michael MacLean uses one word to sum up this week’s valley fever symposium: 'Unprecedented.'

He says it’s a big deal that the leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health are gathering in Bakersfield to focus their attention on an orphan disease that mainly affects the southwestern United States.

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Just One Breath
6:03 am
Sun September 22, 2013

Valley Fever Symposium Aims To Spark Search For Vaccine, Awarness

In his mid-20s, Shane Hoover started planning for his death.

Hoover was diagnosed with valley fever, which is caused by inhaling fungal spores that grow in the soil, in 2010. He took medications for a while that kept it at bay. But he says he could not afford to keep paying for the drugs and, when he stopped, the disease intensified.

“He’d say, ‘I feel my body shutting down. I feel like it’s just a war inside of me that I can’t win,’” his mother, Kathleen Birks, said. “Our conversations became, ‘What do you want me to do with you when you die?’”

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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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