Health

News on health, wellness and health care

California Department of Public Health

 

After 6 years, the state of California has approved the expansion of a toxic waste landfill near Kettleman City. The decision will allow the landfill to expand by 50%, or 5 million cubic yards, which owners at Waste Management Incorporated estimate will last about 8 years.

Jim Marxen is a spokesperson for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Fresno County Department of Public Health

Two different types of mosquitoes – one that carries West Nile Virus and another that can spread dengue and yellow fever have Fresno County health officials on high alert.

The county says a crow reported earlier this month tested positive for West Nile Virus. Officials have also detected the presence of another invasive mosquito species that can spread potentially serious tropical diseases. In severe cases, the more serious symptoms stemming from these diseases can lead to death.

David Luchini is the assistant director for the county’s Department of Public Health.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Thousands of students will graduate across Central California over the next few weeks. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports, for a group of students in the small valley town of Caruthers, Thursday night’s graduation was a milestone in more ways than one.

Ermerendo Vasquez comes from a family that is plagued by diabetes. But he says that without the Doctors Academy at Caruthers High School, where he interned with a local physician, he wouldn’t have known how detrimental the disease can be. 

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.

A new study reveals that around a third of the California’s hospital patients have diabetes. And as FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, it’s even more of a problem in the San Joaquin Valley.

The study released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that among hospital patients in California ages 35 and older, 31 percent had diabetes. That age group makes up the majority of hospitalizations in the state.

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

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.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Across California, urban planners and health professionals are increasingly looking at the connections between the design of our communities and the health of the people who live there. Many neighborhoods that lack sidewalks and access to parks have dramatically different health outcomes than those that do. Correcting that problem is the focus of an event taking place on Thursday in Kern County called “Community Design Matters   - Building Walkable Healthy Livable Communities." Dr.

A new report on air quality shows that many neighboorhoods in Fresno County and Bakersfield rank among the worst in the nation when it comes to pollution.

The American Lung Association released the findings of its annual “State of the Air” report today ranking the Fresno- Madera area as the nation’s worst based on exposure to chemicals and particulate matter.

Jaime Holt is the chief communications officer with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

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.

Creative Commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/digitizedchaos/5913317383/

In 2012, 29 people were killed in car accidents in Fresno – and 14 of those were pedestrians.  

That means just about half of all those killed in collisions in 2012 weren’t even in a car, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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

California lawmakers will hear a bill this week that would give unauthorized immigrants the ability to buy health insurance and enroll in Medi-Cal. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The Affordable Care Act specifically excludes undocumented immigrants from new health coverage options. In California, undocumented immigrants can receive emergency health services and some counties offer other care to people regardless of status. 

Fresno County

Community health advocates expressed their dismay today after a judge ruled that Fresno County is no longer required to provide health care to undocumented residents.

Superior Court Judge Donald Black overturned a portion of a 30-year-old court order this week, saying the county had proven a change in law no longer requires it to pay for specialty medical services for undocumented individuals.

Advocates Urge 'Vigilance' to Ensure Care for New Medi-Cal Patients

Apr 22, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s Medi-cal program has seen a huge surge in enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento about what those patients can expect when they try to see a doctor. 

California officials say they’re pleased to see 1.9 million have signed up under the Medi-Cal expansion.  

Toby Douglas: “1.9 million is far more than we ever projected, and there are even more that we’re working to get on as quickly as possible.”

'Bumpy' California Enrollment Period Ends With Over 3 Million Health Care Sign-Ups

Apr 17, 2014

California health officials say the open enrollment period for insurance has been ‘bumpy’ but it has ended with more than 3 million people signed up for coverage. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

About 1.9 million Californians have new Medi-Cal coverage, and just under 1.5 have signed up for private insurance.

Among the people with private plans, about half had insurance agents or enrollment counselors sign them up. Peter Lee of Covered California says that’s something to keep in mind for the next enrollment period.

California Lawmakers Consider Medical Interpreters Program For Second Time

Apr 8, 2014
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

For the second time in a year, California lawmakers will consider a bill that would create a medical interpreters program. As Capital Public Radio’s Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone reports, the bill’s backers say circumstances are different this time.    

This year’s bill is essentially the same as last year’s. The state would pay interpreters to help Medi-Cal patients who have limited English skills to understand their health care.

Will Shuck with the California Assembly Speaker’s office says what’s different this year is the timing.

Deadline Sparks Surge in Covered California Applications

Apr 1, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California’s health insurance exchange says it’s received a surge of last-minute enrollments ahead of Monday’s midnight application deadline.  Enrollment events popped up across the state as the Covered California call center reported waits of more than an hour in the final days.  Ben Adler reports from one such event in Sacramento.

A room full of people waited up to 45 minutes at a Sacramento union hall to sign up for the Covered California health care exchange on the final day of open enrollment.  Union organizers called it a 17-hour “enroll-a-thon.”

Faith Groups Help With Final Health Insurance Sign-Up Efforts

Mar 27, 2014

Faith groups are stepping up to help enroll people in health insurance in the final days of open enrollment this week. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

Covered California says religious organizations have been good partners all along, but now they’re making a concerted push.

Dana Howard: “From the mega churches to the mega temples, we have really good response going on… in the Southern California area especially.”

A new ranking of health outcomes in California counties has grim news for San Joaquin Valley residents. Out of California's 60 counties, all six San Joaquin Valley counties  in the bottom third of the state. Fresno County ranked 46th, Tulare 49th and Kern 54th. 

Counties in the Bay Area led the survey, with Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara occupying three of the top five spots.

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