Health

News on health, wellness and health care

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.

----  

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.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

With just 10 days left before the Covered California enrollment deadline, farm labor activist Dolores Huerta took her message to students at Fresno State today. As FM89's Joe Moore reports, it's part of a last minute push to boost enrollment figures among Latinos and young people. 

Speaking to a class of students at Fresno State today, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta invoked memories of the civil rights movement to help spur young Latinos to sign up for health insurance.

Fresno County Seeks to Eliminate Health Safety Net for the Undocumented

Feb 25, 2014
Farida Jhabvala Romero / Radio Bilingue - Reporting on Health Collaborative

Natividad, an undocumented farm worker in California’s San Joaquin Valley, lives with her children and three other families in a cramped house in the city of Fresno. Only her first name is being used because of her immigration status.

Natividad can’t read or write, and speaks only Mixtec, an indigenous language from Southern Mexico. She has diabetes and high blood pressure, and when she feels very sick, she heads to the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. She always carries a written note that asks for an interpreter.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

This year, you’re likely to hear a lot of predictions about how the drought will impact our health, environment, and food.

But one thing you won’t hear is whether the dry conditions will – without a doubt - increase the risk of valley fever in California. Sure, it makes sense. Even microbiologist Antje Lauer expects that drought conditions, and drier soil, would increase the risk of valley fever.

“If we want to have less of the valley fever fungus in the soil, you would pray for more rain,” Lauer says. 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

In a cramped cubicle in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Fresno County, Neng Yang is playing a small role in the country’s healthcare overhaul. On this afternoon, she’s helping a Hmong woman enroll in Medi-Cal.

“She prefers English, so her kids can read to her, because she doesn’t read and write in Hmong, and sometimes the translation gets lost when it’s sent to her in Hmong,” says Yang, a certified enrollment counselor at Fresno Center for New Americans.

Community Hospitals/ UCSF Fresno

In Fresno County, implementation of the federal healthcare law has had some unintended consequences.

For one, the law expanded the insurance program for the poor, known here as Medi-Cal. That’s a huge benefit to uninsured people who could not previously afford health coverage. But it’s turned out to be a problem for the county. It’s now receiving less state funding for its medical safety-net program, based on the assumption that less people will need it. The county contracts out this care to Community Regional Medical Center.

K. West / California National Primate Research Center

A new study suggests that exposure to wildfire smoke can result in reduced immune system function. The study, funded by the California Air Resources board, looked at primates which were exposed to unusually high levels of fine particulate matter or PM2.5 for 10 days in 2008, during a number of wildfires.

California Medical Device Makers Have Mixed Views on Obamacare Tax

Dec 24, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California is a place where medical device makers can thrive. The industry says employment in the sector is growing, and companies here benefit from almost half the biomedical venture capital dollars nationwide. This year, some medical device businesses have faced a new tax under the Affordable Care Act. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento says the industry has a mixed reaction.

No one likes to be taxed. For many small businesses, the added costs can be especially unwelcome.

Pages