Disparities

In San Joaquin, Two Medi-Cal Health Plans Struggle to Improve Quality

Two health plans that serve low-income residents in the Central Valley have consistently failed to meet state standards, recent reports show.

Health Net of San Joaquin and Health Plan San Joaquin, which serve nearly a quarter million Medi-Cal patients combined, failed to meet the state’s minimum performance levels for Medi-Cal health plans since at least 2016.

Mental Health Care is Absent at Many California Community Colleges

California’s community colleges serve more than 2 million students annually, but mental health services are not widely available on many campuses. Even on campuses that do have mental health care, availability and services can vary widely.

The lack of access is especially concerning because, as a whole, the students who attend community colleges are at higher risk for mental health issues.

Give Youth an Escape Route from Addiction

Every time a young person who suffers from addiction reaches out for help, we have an incredible and precious opportunity to find the road back to the youth’s full potential. Wasting that opportunity isn’t just a waste of public dollars, it is a matter of life or death.

That is why my organization, the California Society of Addiction Medicine, is sponsoring legislation, Senate Bill 275, to create clear standards for youth substance use disorder prevention, early intervention and treatment.

Lifestyle Medicine Can Address Diabetes Disparities

We can minimize the harmful effects of health disparities by designing programs that offer accessible, evidence-based interventions that empower people. A new approach to medicine—that takes into account a person’s way of life, culture and neighborhood—is helping.

Budget Boosts Funding for Programs Benefiting Low-Income Families

Advocates for young children are applauding the state’s budget plans for next fiscal year, which include millions of dollars for programs that help low-income parents and kids.

The $200-billion spending plan, which Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign into law, increases funding for cash assistance to poor families, launches a statewide home visiting program for new parents on welfare, and makes available more than 13,000 new vouchers to help low-income families pay for child care.

Doctor’s Notes: Head Start Offers Better Beginnings for School, Resilience for Life

Most of my patients are low-income and many have faced adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, which can cause lifelong physical and mental health problems. After years of working with low-income families, I’ve come to believe that combating ACEs contributes as much to a child’s academic success as learning the ABCs. That’s why Head Start is one of my weapons in the War on Poverty. It changes lives, one kid at a time.

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