In the first six months of California’s new End of Life Option Act, which allows some terminally ill patients to end their lives with medication, there have been no initial surprises. California statistics are so far quite similar to those reported by Oregon and Washington, which also have aid-in-dying laws. However, many people seeking to use the End of Life Act are having trouble doing so.
While California’s schoolchildren were looking forward to winter break last month, the federal government made a major announcement: 31 school-based health centers in the state received more than $14.3 million in grants. Since 2011, the government has invested nearly $200 million in school health, and California has received more than $30 million – the most funding received by any state.
America spends an astonishing amount — at least $2.5 trillion — on health care each year, yet we aren’t as healthy as we could or should be. For every dollar we spend on health care, less than a nickel goes toward policies and programs aimed at public health and prevention, such as community farmers’ markets and wellness initiatives that encourage healthy living for all ages. We need to shift the focus of the U.S. health care system from treating illness to creating an environment that is conducive to better health.
New York City is making headlines right now with its proposal to limit the sale of large sugary drinks in the city. But California leads the nation when it comes to statewide policies aimed at making restaurants healthier – and there’s plenty more we can do.
Aging with dignity and independence is the ability to live life to its fullest in the place you call home regardless of age, illness or disability. While we all like to picture ourselves growing older in a healthy way, the reality is that 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will need help with daily activities at some point in their lives — for an average of three years. This care can touch every aspect of your life — from how you live to where you live — and it can be very costly. Unfortunately, you never know when you or someone you love might need daily help, such as assistance getting groceries, help with transportation, or round the clock care, all of which require planning and coordination.
Californians have never needed safe play spaces more than we do now. About a third of children in California – and two-thirds of adults – are overweight or obese. Many are urged to get more exercise but can’t follow this advice very easily where they live. Children compete with speeding cars as they try to walk or bike to school. Safe parks and playgrounds are often few and far between, especially in low-income communities. Now all across the state, school districts are hammering out contracts with city agencies to split the costs and responsibilities of opening their gates to the public after hours.
There’s a lot of focus on health care and health insurance in the news these days. But whether one ever sees a doctor or enters a hospital, there are things each of us can do, right now, to minimize our health problems.
Every once in a while a report comes out that’s a game-changer, it makes you look at an issue in a different way . . . or at least it offers the opportunity to do so. Falling Behind: The Impact of the Great Recession and the Budget Crisis on California’s Women and their Families is such a report, released Wednesday by the California Budget Project (CBP), along with the study’s funder, the Women’s Foundation of California.
To help expand access to high-quality, cost-effective care for all California citizens, the California Academy of Physician Assistants (CAPA) has partnered with NeedyMeds, a national non-profit organization, to launch a prescription drug discount card that will help Californians lower the costs of their medications and other health care services. The discount card is free and can be used by all California families to save up to 80% off the cost of prescription medications.
We get a lot of blank stares when we tell people what we do for a living. Our title is unfamiliar, but once we explain what we do, heads begin to nod. We are Patient Navigators, a health care position that has emerged recently and must be commonplace if we’re to adapt to the changes that health reform will soon bring.