News on health, wellness and health care

Last week the valley’s only pediatric hospital announced some big changes, starting with a new name – Children’s Hospital Central California is now returning the name it had from 1950’s through the early 2000’s Valley Children’s Hospital.

Valley Children's Hospital

Children's Hospital Central California announced three big changes they say will improve quality of care for children in the Central Valley.

First, Children's Hospital Central California is returning to its old name Valley Children's Hospital, which it hasn't officially used since 2002.

Second, the hospital revealed its own new health network that will provide a full spectrum of pediatric services for kids in the region.

Health In An Age Of Change: State Health Czar Diana Dooley Reflects On The ACA's Impact

Dec 8, 2014

Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, oversees 13 departments and supervises the state’s rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act, including Covered California, the state’s insurance marketplace, and the Medi-Cal program for the poor. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her in late 2010. A native of Hanford, she earlier served as president and CEO of the California Children’s Hospital Assn. She worked for Brown during his first administration.

Health Reform In California: A State Of Accelerating Change

Dec 8, 2014
Lauren M. Whaley / CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Gail Fulbeck, 64, relies on her body for work. She hauls soda, energy drinks, snacks and water to the 23 vending machines she owns around downtown Sacramento.

The physical demands of her job, coupled with her husband’s history of migraines and bad knees, make health insurance essential.

Last year, Fulbeck and her husband paid a monthly insurance premium of $2,555.

Starting Jan. 1 of this year, the couple’s premium for a nearly identical plan totaled $165. It was, she said, almost unbelievable.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

After being forced to evacuate in March because of a gas leak, eight Arvin families are finally returning to the place they call home. But, as Fm89’s Diana Aguilera explains, some residents are still concerned about the situation.

State and Kern County officials met with the families on Friday and told them it was safe for the residents to return home.

Representatives from the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources say the rounds of testing done in and around the homes on Nelson Court confirmed that the level of gasses were back to normal.

Covered California Attempting To Calm Immigrants' Fears

Dec 3, 2014

Covered California is trying to reassure immigrant communities their information will not be turned over to immigration authorities if they sign up for health insurance.

Only documented immigrants are eligible for California’s health insurance exchange. But Executive Director Peter Lee says the fear of deportation still prevents some from using the service.   

Fresno County

It's still illegal to grow marijuana in Fresno County. The Board of Supervisors entertained the possibility of lifting the outright ban on cultivation during their meeting today but instead decided to retain the county's zero tolerance policy.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

Immigrant advocates say more undocumented Californians could receive health care as a result of President Barack Obama’s recent executive action. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

California already allows some undocumented immigrants to enroll in Medi-Cal if they’ve qualified for deportation relief. Anthony Wright is Executive Director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access California. He says the president's executive action will expand the pool of Medi-Cal eligible immigrants.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

With the second open enrollment period of Covered California in full swing, state officials are boosting their efforts to reach out to Latinos. Yet, there are many people in the Central Valley who are living in the shadows when it comes to enrolling for health care.

Covered California officials say they're proud to have signed up 1.2 million people for health insurance during the first year. But Executive Director Peter Lee says there’s still some things they want to improve.

Covered California Gears Up For Open Enrollment

Nov 13, 2014

Covered California is trying to raise awareness about the start of open enrollment this Saturday, November 15th. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us from Sacramento, the experience this year may be different for people buying their own insurance.

Covered California says its website this year will be able to accommodate more people who might be logging in at the same time. And Director Peter Lee says it will have 200 storefront locations and expanded service center hours.