My father, sister and I sat in the near-empty Chinese restaurant, picking at our plates, unable to avoid the question that we’d gathered to discuss: When was it time to let Mom die?
It had been a grueling day at the hospital, watching — praying — for any sign that my mother would emerge from her coma. Three days earlier she’d been admitted for nausea; she had a nasty cough and was having trouble keeping food down. But while a nurse tried to insert a nasogastric tube, her heart stopped. She required CPR for nine minutes. Even before I flew into town, a ventilator was breathing for her, and intravenous medication was keeping her blood pressure steady. Hour after hour, my father, my sister and I tried talking to her, playing her favorite songs, encouraging her to squeeze our hands or open her eyes. Continue reading →
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Set on a gritty corner of Oakland’s International Boulevard, the nonprofit Street Level Health Project offers free checkups to patients who speak a total of 22 languages, from recent Mongolian immigrants seeking a doctor to Burmese refugees in need of a basic dental exam.
It also provides a window into one of the challenges for state officials who are trying to implement the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul. Continue reading →
In less than one year — Jan. 1, 2014 — Obamacare’s promise to bring health care to perhaps 1 million more poor California residents will be tested. That’s when Medi-Cal, the publicly funded health program for the poor and disabled, launches a huge statewide expansion.
But making a promise is one thing, and delivering is another.
In some places, it’s already tough for many poor California residents to find a doctor who is able –- or willing — to see them when they need one. Continue reading →
Reforms to the individual health insurance market passed out of the Assembly and Senate in Sacramento on Thursday. Included in the bills were popular consumer provisions including: guaranteed issue, requiring insurers to cover all who apply; and rate setting rules that will make it illegal to charge people with pre-existing conditions more than anyone else or redline those conditions. Continue reading →
In a move that is expected to have repercussions across the country, the Obama Administration on Monday filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit Court in support of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 10 percent payment cuts to Medi-Cal providers.
Some background: The provider cuts were approved by CMS in 2011, but then immediately challenged by the California Medical Association (and others) in federal court. A federal judge blocked the cuts. The state of California appealed to the Ninth Circuit. A three-judge panel approved the cuts. The CMA asked for an en banc review by all the judges.
By Rebecca Plevin, Valley Public Radio The Central Valley suffers from an acute shortage of doctors — especially primary care doctors — but a new type of residency program aims to bring relief. These new “teaching health centers” are funded by the Affordable Care Act. This new approach contrasts with traditional medical residency programs, which are … Continue reading →
Calling today a “game changer for California and a game changer for the nation,” Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, announced health insurance benefit designs that will be featured in the insurance exchange. He also revealed launch of its new website (in English and Spanish) where consumers can access what is sure to be a very popular premium subsidy calculator. California is the first state in the nation to release benefit packages for the public to review. Continue reading →
Five of the 24 people invited to sit near First Lady Michelle Obama at tonight’s State of the Union have strong health care connections. They include a governor, a business owner and a beneficiary of the health law provision that prevents health plans from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Continue reading →
You’re likely familiar with rehabilitation — physical therapy after an injury would fall into this category. But parents with chronically ill children are all too familiar with ‘habilitation’ services, as Elaine Korry detailed Monday morning on The California Report. From her story:
“Habilitative services are really just making sure that a child can thrive in the world that they’re living in, so, for example, hearing aids are a habilitative service,” says Kelly Hardy, director of health policy at Children Now, a statewide advocacy group. Continue reading →
If you are a student at any of the UC campuses — or a family member of one — you might want to pay close attention to the case of Kenya Wheeler at UC Berkeley. A year ago he was “healthy as a horse,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports and biked to school every day.
But everything changed when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had health insurance through the UC Student Health Plan. But as medical bills mounted, he closed in on the $400,000 lifetime cap of the policy — caps that were made illegal under the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading →