The Sacramento Bee hosted a live chat to answer readers' questions about the health insurance reform law. Emily Bazar, an expert on the Affordable Care Act, and Pauline Bartolone, who covers health care for Capital Public Radio, answered questions and provided guidance. Replay the chat here.
Replay the Q&A chat here
Emily Bazar, a veteran journalist and an expert on the Affordable Care Act, will answer readers’ questions about the health insurance reform law at Sacbee.com’s Healthy Choices blog Dec. 5 at 11:30 a.m.
The public is invited to join with your questions about how the new health insurance law works. You can send yourself an e-mail reminder about the chat by going to the upcoming events tab of sacbee.com/live.
Bazar, a senior writer for the California HealthCare Foundation’s Center for Health Reporting at USC Annenberg, will explain the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act during the live chat. Bazar will be joined by Pauline Bartolone, who covers health for Capital Public Radio.
Bazar’s advice column on the Affordable Care Act, “Ask Emily,” appears in 25 California media outlets, including The Sacramento Bee. Read her columns at www.sacbee.com/askemily
Three Sacramento region hospitals were named in a list of the nation’s top 90 hospitals, as rated by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit watchdog organization that bases rankings on comprehensive surveys.
The surveys consist of questionnaires as long as 60 pages querying hospitals about their safety results, what procedures they perform and what facilities and staff they have.
Dignity Health Mercy Hospital of Folsom made the list, as did the Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Center. The rankings place the hospitals among the top 10 percent of the 1,324 health systems participating in the national survey on quality and safety – and the top 90 hospitals nationwide.
Ann Madden Rice, chief executive officer of UC Davis Medical Center, said the designation “reflects the hard work of our physicians, nurses and allied health professionals to improve both our patient-care processes and reporting outcomes.”
It turns out there’s a right and a wrong way to wash one’s hands, says Sacramento County Public Health Nurse Kate McAuley. Unfortunately, most people do it the wrong way. They simply don’t spend enough time on the task.
For people who dab on soap, rub and dash, it may come as a surprise to learn they are not doing enough to clean their hands.
“It’s really important to thoroughly wash our hands as we go about our day. We pick up a lot of bacteria, viruses and dirt,” said McAuley, who is the county’s immunization program coordinator and interim director of public health nursing. “A quick rinse will not do the job. You need to take the time to wash the back of your hands, your palm and your fingers.”
This is especially true during the holiday season when people are eating lots of finger foods, and shopping in public places where doorknobs and escalator railings might be contaminated.
Western Connecticut State University, File/AP Photo
FILE - This undated file identification photo released Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn., shows former student Adam Lanza, who authorities said opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, killing 26 students and educators. Investigators released a report on the shooting Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, by the prosecutor overseeing the probe, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III.
One day after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., last December, Liza Long wrote a controversial blog post urging the nation to turn its attention to treatment for the nations mentally ill youth. In it, she shared the story of her own son, Michael (not his real name). I live with a son who is mentally ill, she wrote.
I love my son. But he terrifies me. A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books ...
Now comes a touching follow-up to that essay. Liza Long and her son hold a conversation about what its like to live with his mental illness for NPRs StoryCorps. As usual, StoryCorps brings out the most intimate thoughts and stories.
Kaiser Permanente said the Oakland-based nonprofit health care system is dedicating $1 million in cash and volunteer services to help residents in the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan’s destructive path.
Score of doctors, nurses and other workers have volunteered to help with disaster relief, said Kaiser Permanente emergency room physician Vivian Reyes.
In addition to volunteer work, Kaiser will donate a total of $200,000 to five organizations: The American Red Cross; Doctors Without Borders; Mercy Corps; Relief International and Team Rubicon. Remaining funds, officials said, will be available to support recovery and rebuilding efforts in the devastated areas torn up by the typhoon.
The good news is that overall soda consumption is on the decline among California’s young children. The flip side? A new UCLA survey says kids are still being fed fast food meals on a regular basis.
Though kids’ fast food meals and sodas usually come packaged together, there’s been a sharp decline in kids ages 2 to 5 drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, UCLA researchers said. Ten years ago, about 40 percent of young children drank soda the previous day of the survey. By 2009, that proportion dropped to 16 percent.
But the decrease in soda drinking, seen as a positive by nutritionists, is offset by a steady rate of fast food meal consumption, the survey found. In both 2007 and 2009, about two-thirds of California children ate at least one fast food meal weekly, and about 29 percent ate the meals twice a week or more.
Researchers concerned about childrens’ health say the fast food habit is a factor in rising obesity rates for children. About one-fourth of California kids ages two to five are overweight or obese.
First there’s the elation over the new funds. Then, the realization of mounds of work to be done.
So it goes for the El Dorado County Community Health Center, which is looking forward to an infusion of more than $1 million in Affordable Care Act funds to allow the nonprofit county-based operation to expand to a new clinic in Cameron Park.
“Are we excited? Yes. Are we stressed? Yes,” said Stacy Bolton, clinic executive director. Bolton was referring to what it’ll take to get the new satellite facility up and running within the clinic’s target goal of three years.
El Dorado clinic officials applied for the so-called New Access Point grant in anticipation of increased demand for health care under the ACA, which will extend private insurance and Medi-Cal to thousands more people in the region.
One of the conundrums of paying for health care is we never quite know how much medical services will cost us until its too late to figure out what we can afford. (Though we do know that a day in the hospital $4,000 to $5,000 on average costs much more than staying at a luxury hotel.)
Luckily, this is being openly debated and many health policy experts think the time for transparent pricing is not too far off.
The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), a nonprofit philanthropic organization based in Oakland, is coming to Sacramento to host Inside the Black Box: The Future of Price Transparency in California, a briefing that will explore strategies for driving transparency forward in California.
Three speakers who will shape the discussion are: Adams Dudley, professor of medicine and policy at Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco; Maribeth Shannon, director of market and policy monitor program at CHCF; Jill Yegian, vice president of policy and research, Integrated Healthcare Association.
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Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) celebrates a three point basket by teammate Jimmer Fredette (7) against the Phoenix Suns during their 107-104 victory at Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 in Sacramento, Calif.
If you like the Sacramento Kings now, wait until you see them whipped into shape with the help of nutrition and fitness advice from Kaiser Permanente’s team of sports medicine doctors.
Kaiser’s doctors are the new official team doctors, providing the kind of integrated medical care that is the hallmark of the nonprofit health care system.
These team doctors won’t just sit on the sidelines waiting to tend to a sports injury. They will be active members in caring for the Kings, helping the players eat healthily and stay fit. What, you say? Yes, apparently even professional athletes can benefit from intrgrated care.
Dr. Jason Brayley is Kaiser Permanente’s chief of sports medicine. He said he recognizes that “with 82 regular season games and countless practices and workouts, the physical demands on the players are tremendous.”
We talked to Dr. Steve Friend, over at the U.S. HealthWorks clinic in West Sacramento, about how to do Thanksgiving without overdoing the feast.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Friend suggests we balance out our meal with a little exercise:
Push yourself away from the table.
Lift plenty of glasses of water all day.
After dozens of consumer complaints, the California Department of Managed Health Care on Monday ordered three prominent health insurance companies to stop denying speech therapy to patients.
Health Net, Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross were all slapped with cease-and-desist orders by DMHC attorneys for what they said was unlawful denial of medically necessary therapies. Health Net, with the highest number of complaints at 41, was hit with a $300,000 fine.
All three health insurers had language in their policies that allegedly violated state law mandating access to speech therapy.
Health Nets policy, for instance, states: We do not consider speech therapy medically appropriate for any of the following: .... Delayed or suppressed speech development due to an idiopathic (non-diagnosable) disease or injury which occurred before the child developed any level of functional speech, that is, before 18 months of age. (The bold and underlined words were included in Health Nets document.)