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Judge Halts Medi-Cal Budget Cuts; State Plans Appeals

By Christina Jewett, California Watch

(Pierre Gazzola:Flickr)

(Pierre Gazzola:Flickr)

Attorneys for California’s Medi-Cal program are gearing up to appeal two court rulings issued last week that strike down a 10 percent cut to some medical service providers for low-income Californians.

Christina A. Snyder, a U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles, ruled in favor of pharmacies and hospital-based nursing facilities that sought to fend off the rate cut. In both cases, Snyder ruled that the gravity of the state’s fiscal crisis is not greater than the harm that might come to patients who are denied medical care.

A separate lawsuit by the California Medical Association, which represents about 30,000 physicians, is pending before Snyder and also seeks to strike down the rate cut. A hearing on the case is expected later this month.

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Top Health Concerns for San Jose’s Vietnamese Community

More than 130,000 Vietnamese have relocated to Santa Clara County since the end of the Vietnam War.

Over 130,000 Vietnamese people relocated to Santa Clara County since the end of the Vietnam War. (Photo: Monica M. DaveyAFP/Getty Images)

The first wave of Vietnamese refugees came to the San Jose area in the 1980s, after the fall of Saigon. Now San Jose has the largest Vietnamese population of any city in the country. Santa Clara County is also second largest of any county in the U.S., after Orange County.

Today, Santa Clara released its first-ever Vietnamese health assessment to get a better understanding of this growing population’s health needs.

Health Officer Martin Fenstersheib says Santa Clara County didn’t have a good understanding of what the health needs of its Vietnamese community were prior to this report.

“We had a great interest in doing this because we tend to lump all of our statistics together, especially in the Asian, Pacific Island community. So things are reported that way also.”

Vietnamese adults have the highest mortality rates for liver cancer, more than four times higher than other county residents.

Three top health concerns are highlighted in the report: access to health care and health insurance, stigma related to getting mental health services, and cancer — particularly liver cancer related to Hepatitis B. Fenstersheib says the report recommends creating a task force to focus on reducing these health disparities.

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