Health

Health Care Reform
2:23 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

California Releases Details of Health Insurance Exchange

Details of California’s new health insurance exchange were announced today. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, about five million people are eligible to get covered through the exchange.

California is opening the exchange to comply with federal healthcare reform. Thirteen insurance agencies will offer a variety of plans. While some plans will be available throughout the state, others will be targeted to specific regions.

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Health Care
5:52 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Medical Procedures Vary By Region, According to New Study

A map from a new study by the California Healthcare Foundation displays the geographic disparities in certain medical procedures, in this case, induced deliveries.

Depending on where they practice, doctors in different parts of California are more likely to recommend certain procedures. It’s a phenomenon called “variance.” A study from The California Healthcare Foundation shows it’s a consideration both patients and physicians should be aware of. The Foundation’s Maribeth Shannon says doctors might not realize what they’re doing.

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Health
10:55 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Paso Robles Winemaker Battles Valley Fever

Winemaker Todd Schaefer has been battling valley fever for about ten years.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

The quest for the perfect pinot noir lured Todd and Tammy Schaefer from Malibu to Paso Robles in 2001. But a different fate awaited them and their business, called Pacific Coast Vineyards.

“My wife and I had just come up here, to set up shop and continue our practice of winemaking, and, ‘Welcome to Paso Robles, here’s valley fever,’” Todd recounts.

In October of 2003, Todd was running a bulldozer through a vineyard, and kicking up lots of dust. They had no idea that dust would make him ill.

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Health Care
4:01 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Brown's New Budget Calls for State-Based Medi-Cal Expansion

California Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal shows clear intent for a state-based Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act. January’s budget suggested a possible county-led expansion.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 California Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal shows clear intent for a state-based Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act. January’s budget suggested a possible county-led expansion.  

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley says the budget also proposes a way the state will seek to capture money counties currently use to treat the uninsured.   

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Health
10:04 am
Mon May 13, 2013

California Soda Tax Proposal Sparks Debate

Credit Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers are considering a measure that would tax sugary drinks a penny per fluid ounce. The proposal is intended to cap soda consumption in order to reduce obesity rates. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento has found a range of opinions on the soda tax.

It’s a hot afternoon in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood. Teenagers are out of school for the day. Some have beverages in their hands. Kirk Allen is sixteen years old:

"What are you drinkin’?" "Tiki punch, Shasta."

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Health
9:39 am
Tue May 7, 2013

State Raises Questions About Moving Inmates At Risk of Valley Fever

Under the plan proposed by the federal receiver in charge of health care in California's prisons, an estimated 50 percent of inmates at Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons would be moved because they are at high risk of contracting valley fever.
Credit CA Dept of Corrections

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court yesterday, the state Attorney General raised questions about the federal order to exclude inmates especially vulnerable to valley fever from two Central Valley prisons.

“The receiver is calling for the transferring, he described it last week as ‘effective immediately,’ of over 3,000 inmates from those two prisons,” says Jeffrey Callison, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “That’s a huge, complex undertaking. Could it happen? Of course it could happen, but it would take a long time to implement.”

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Health
6:44 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Prison Health Advocates Call For More Steps to Stop Valley Fever Outbreak

On Monday afternoon, the federal receiver in charge of health care in California’s prisons ordered the state prison to remove inmates from two Central Valley prisons who are especially at risk of contracting valley fever.  A day later, the state and experts are digesting that directive. Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin reports, as part of the Reporting on Health Collaborative’s investigation into the disease.

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Health
9:59 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Inmates At Risk of Valley Fever To Be Moved From Two Valley Prisons

About 40 percent of the inmates at Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons will be relocated, due to their risk of acquiring valley fever.
Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

The federal receiver in charge of health care in California’s prisons is ordering the state to remove inmates from two Central Valley prisons who are especially at risk of contracting the fungal disease known as valley fever. The move affects about 40 percent of the inmate population at Avenal and Pleasant Valley State Prisons. 

Those affected include African Americans, Filipinos, inmates who are HIV positive, have compromised immune systems, or are pregnant or elderly.

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Health Care Reform
12:54 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

California Considers Expanded Roles for Nurses in Primary Care

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Most counties in California have a shortage of primary care doctors. And with millions more people in the state expected to get health coverage next year, lawmakers are proposing ways to make sure basic care is available in areas that need it. One bill would allow nurse practitioners to treat patients without consulting a physician. Health care reporter Pauline Bartolone reports on what it might mean for patients.

Some nurse practitioners in California already see patients without a doctor in the room. Patients like Anastacia Casperson.

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Health
9:30 am
Tue April 23, 2013

CDC To Hold Valley Fever Symposium in Bakersfield, McCarthy Says

Congressman Kevin McCarthy has enlisted the help of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to raise awareness of valley fever, and to encourage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to waive a fee needed to put a valley fever skin test on the market.
Credit Shelby Mack / The Bakersfield Californian

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will visit the San Joaquin Valley later this year to train public health professionals and the public in recognizing and defending against valley fever, Congressman Kevin McCarthy said Monday after an in-depth meeting with the agency and its director.

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Health
9:07 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Valley's Need For Medical Interpreters Could Increase With Health Law

Experts predict there will be an even greater demand for medical interpreters when the Affordable Care Act is implemented in 2014. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

When Mailu Lor translates for a Hmong patient, she can’t just repeat the doctor’s orders, word for word. That’s because the Hmong language often doesn’t contain advanced medical terminology, or names for diseases, like diabetes.

“Hmong language is a very difficult language,” Lor said. “We don’t have any dictionary for medical terminology.”

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Health
1:26 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Soda Tax Proposal In Front of California Lawmakers This Week

Credit Valley Public Radio

  A bill that would impose a tax on soda in California goes before lawmakers in Sacramento this week. Health care reporter Pauline Bartolone says a similar measure failed last session.

The state-wide law would tax sugary drinks such as sodas, energy drinks and sweet teas one cent per fluid ounce. Democratic Senator Bill Monning says something must be done to curb alarming rates of obesity and preventable diabetes.

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Health
12:53 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

California Builds Clinics Under Federal Health Law, But Hiring Doctors May Be A Challenge

Clinica Sierra Vista in Arvin, CA - (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Starting next year, millions of people will gain new health coverage under the federal health law.  In California, dozens of clinics are gearing up for the expansion, with new funding to build clinics and expand old ones.  But as Pauline Bartolone reports from Sacramento, it may be a challenge to find the physicians to staff the new centers.

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Health
6:17 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Doctors, Lawmakers Propose Ways to Increase Number of Doctors

file photo
Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California physicians and lawmakers are trying to draw attention to a shortage of doctors in the state. They made the point jointly in Sacramento Tuesday. As Pauline Bartolone reports from Sacramento, they agree more doctors will be needed to see millions of people who will start enrolling in coverage next year.   

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Health
9:02 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Mobile Health Clinic Provides Care to Merced's Homeless

Dr. Salvador Sandoval, left, gives Nick Arellano a cortisone shot.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

Below a Highway 99 overpass, and sandwiched between the D Street homeless shelter and the railroad tracks, is an unlikely beacon of hope for Merced residents low on luck. It’s an RV that houses Golden Valley Health Center’s mobile health clinic for the homeless.

Nick Arellano, 55, has come to the mobile unit to see Dr. Salvador Sandoval, the homeless clinic’s doctor. Arellano has long hair and blue eyes that shine from his weathered face.

“How are you doing?” Sandoval asks.

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Health
10:31 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Disability Advocates Call for Closure of State-Run Residential Centers

Porterville Developmental Center is one of several California state-operated facilities that serve people with developmental disabilities
Credit http://www.dds.ca.gov/Porterville/Index.cfm

The steps to the State Capitol were crowded with people Thursday who wanted lawmakers to hear one message: Close down state-run residential centers for the disabled. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.   

People with disabilities shared stories about abuse at the state’s developmental centers. Their advocates said ‘institutionalization’ is outdated. Jaquie Dillard–Foss from the organization “StrategiesTo Empower People” has helped people make the transition from developmental centers back into communities.

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Health Care Reform
6:04 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Bill Would Exclude Hospital-based Nursing Facilities From Budget Cuts

Hospital-based skilled nursing care facilities say more Medi-Cal cuts will devastate patients and families. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, lawmakers from both parties support a bill that would exclude those facilities from budget cuts. 

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Health Care
10:18 am
Mon April 8, 2013

State Loan Repayment Help Not Enough to Solve Doctor Shortage

Dr. Glen Villanueva sees a patient at a clinic in Ceres, California.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 

California’s health care system is expected to face an influx of millions more patients as new insurance requirements start next year. But experts are worried that a limited number of doctors in the state will mean health care consumers will have an insurance card but no doctor to see them. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

Dr. Glen Villanueva has known he wanted to be a doctor since he was five years old.

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Health
5:20 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Study Links Access to Parks to Teenage Exercise Habits

Centennial Park in Bakersfield
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

  A new study from the UCLA Center For Health Policy Research shows that teenagers who live near parks and open space areas are more physically active than those who don't. 

The study also shows that low income teens use parks less, citing safety concerns. Low income teens were also less likely to be active for at least one hour a day. 

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Just One Breath
12:48 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

CDC Study: Valley Fever Cases Increasing Dramatically

Dust storms can carry millions of spores from the fungus that causes valley fever.
Credit Craig Kohlruss / The Fresno Bee

Cases of valley fever are climbing at stunning rates nationwide, and especially in California and Arizona, according to a new study released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency launched its analysis following the publication of the Reporting on Health Collaborative’s ‘Just One Breath’ series on valley fever. Valley Public Radio is a member of the partnership.

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