Health

Living in the Shadows
3:30 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Fresno County Seeks to Eliminate Health Safety Net for the Undocumented

Natividad (center) is a farm worker and indigent care patient who struggles to take care of her diabetes and high blood pressure. Her family shares a home with three other families in Fresno, CA.
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.

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Health
2:57 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

In California, Researchers Uncertain If Drought Will Increase Valley Fever Risk

Wit the right 'grow and blow' conditions, valley fever might thrive after a drought, experts say.
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. 

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Health
9:51 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Medi-Cal Expansion In Fresno County Is Steady, But Stressful

Neng Yang, a certified enrollment counselor at Fresno Center for New Americans, helps people enroll in Medi-Cal.
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.

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Health
10:28 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Fresno County Plan to End Care For Undocumented Meets Resistance

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors say they can't afford to fund the indigent care contract with Community Regional Medical Center.
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.

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Health
5:44 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

New Study Links PM 2.5 Pollution, Immune System Damage

Researchers at the California National Primate Research Center & UC Davis examined the health effects of exposure to PM2.5 on primates, in a study funded by the California Air Resources Board
Credit 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.

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Health Care
1:28 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

California Medical Device Makers Have Mixed Views on Obamacare Tax

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.

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Health
10:03 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Fresno Area High School Students Embrace Mindfulness Movement With New Club

Just walking into this room with Emily Grant makes you want to slow down and take a deep breath. The lights are dimmed, there’s soft music playing, and the room smells sweetly of lavender.

“Take a few deep breaths in, and exhale," Grant says. "Take another deep breath in, and exhale.”

This isn’t a yoga studio. It’s a classroom, where Grant guides Sunnyside High School’s meditation club.

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Health Care
5:32 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

No Deadline Extension, Says Covered California

California’s health care exchange is NOT extending the same one-day enrollment grace period as the White House is for the federal exchange.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, that means the deadline for Californians to apply for health insurance that takes effect January 1st remains tonight at midnight.

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Health Care Reform
2:34 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

First Covered California Enrollment Deadline is December 23

There aren’t many days left to sign up for health insurance through Covered California if you want coverage to start next month.  Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The deadline to apply for coverage and pick a health plan is Monday December 23rd. Payment is not due until January 6th.

Covered California says it expects a surge of applications in the coming days. Anthony Wright of the consumer advocacy group Health Access says there are a number of options if you’re faced with long wait times or technical problems. 

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Health Care
6:13 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Supervisor Perea Envisions Break Between Fresno County, Community Hospitals

Community Regional Medical Center
Credit Community Hospitals/ UCSF Fresno

Supervisor Henry Perea says that Fresno County’s decades-long contract with a local hospital to provide medical care to indigent patients could soon come to end.

“I think in the very near future, we just may be ending the contract with Community Hospitals, and going a different direction on the health care piece of it,” says Perea.

Perea was speaking on Valley Public Radio’s Valley Edition. 

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Health Care Reform
4:29 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

California Health Insurers Restrict Doctor Choice To Lower Costs

San Francisco based insurance broker Susan Shargel says she’s trying to sort out all the new ways insurers are contracting with doctors. Some health plans will have fewer doctors and hospitals. Blue Shield, for example will have half the doctors and three quarters of the hospitals they have this year.
Credit Pauline Bartolone / Capital Public Radio

As Californians shop for new insurance under the federal health law next year, they’re faced with many choices for health plans at different prices. But the plans they choose also come with different combinations of doctors and hospitals. And as Health Care reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us, some people are confused and frustrated by the new conditions.  

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Health
9:30 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Kettleman City Resident Uneasy With Landfill's Connection To Clean Water Plan

The sign in Maricela Mares Alatorre's backyard reminds her why she continues fighting for environmental justice in Kettleman City.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

Maricela Mares Alatorre says she has a “hate-hate” relationship with Kettleman City’s water, which contains unsafe amounts of naturally occurring arsenic.

“Usually, very early in the morning or late at night, there’s like a petroleum smell, like gas,” Alatorre says. “Sometimes during the day, while we’re washing the dishes, we’ll have a white dish, and all of a sudden, we’ll see the water is totally brown.” 

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Health
4:34 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Earlimart Pesticide Warrior Honored For Advocacy

Teresa De Anda, of Earlimart, helped shine a light on the health impacts of pesticide drift. She's being honored by Fresno Metro Ministry.
Courtesy of Teresa De Anda

When you arrive at Teresa De Anda’s house on the edge of Earlimart, you might think the biggest health threat here is her pack of dogs. But from De Anda’s perspective, the almond orchard directly across the street, and the nearby vineyards and fields, are much more dangerous.

“It’s nice not having neighbors across the street, but it’s not nice having all the spraying and the tilling and the dirt and the bees,” De Anda says.

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Health Care
11:41 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Californians with Food Stamps to Get 'Fast Tracked' to Health Care

The state of California says as many as 600,000 people who receive food stamps could be fast-tracked into Medi-Cal next year if the federal government approves.  Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The state says people on the CalFresh program have the same income as people who qualify for expanded Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act next year.

Rene Mollow of the California Department of Health Care Services says it will offer food stamp recipients a way to sign up for free health care without filling out another application.

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Health
5:24 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Peter Lee: Covered California Answers Questions And 'Prayers'

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, visited the new call center in Fresno.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

Operators have responded to about 400,000 calls since Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, launched Oct. 1. Starting this week, employees at the new Fresno Service Center will also answer questions, and help people enroll in health insurance.

“Fresno is a community that reflects the diversity of California, and that’s who we need to have on our phones, serving Californians,” said Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California.

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Health Care
6:18 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Despite Obama's Proposal, California Health Insurers Want to 'Stay the Course'

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California health insurers don’t like President Obama’s proposal to allow people to stay on health plans that don’t meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act next year. But as Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us, the state’s Insurance Commissioner supports the President. 

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Health Care
11:25 am
Thu November 14, 2013

California Stands Out In New Obamacare Numbers

Both California and the federal government have released numbers about people applying for health coverage next year. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento reports, California stands out from the rest of the states.

The federal government’s numbers show more than 35,000 Californians have picked a health plan through the state-run exchange as of November 2nd.

But Peter Lee of Covered California says the total is almost twice that if you count the latest numbers.

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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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