Month: August 2010

ARB concedes error in off-road truck rule, plans to revise regulation

The California Air Resources Board acknowledged something Tuesday that critics have been saying for months: the state vastly over-estimated the amount of diesel pollution emitted by big off-road construction vehicles. The error, contained in an ARB computer model and compounded by a recession that idled far more trucks than expected, means that the construction industry would come close to meeting state-mandated targets for reducing pollution through 2025 even if regulations designed to force firms to retire or retrofit their dirtiest trucks are repealed.

State pays millions to track women who test negative for breast cancer

A state program that screens low-income women for breast cancer has been paying doctors and clinics $12 million a year to track women whose mammograms showed they were cancer-free. The program –- known as Every Woman Counts -– stopped accepting new patients Jan. 1 because of a self-described lack of funds. The $50 case management fees have been questioned by the Department of Finance, which says other big states don’t pay them, and the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, which recommended eliminating them. The money saved could be used to once again offer mammograms to women who qualify for the program.

Megan Baier

Local grants will aim to transform communities, improve health

A little known part of the federal health reform enacted earlier this year aims to improve health by improving the conditions under which people live. Part of a planned $15 billion investment in prevention programs, community transformation grants will provide money to clean up neighborhoods, rejuvenate neglected parks, and expand access to healthy foods.

Smoking cessation benefits can save lives, money

Quitting smoking today is the number one thing that Californians can do to improve their health. Not a moment goes by without a citizen of our country and the State of California suffering from the hazards of tobacco use. Tobacco use has far reaching ramifications that encompass not only health issues, but widespread economic issues. But many people lack access to the programs that will help them quit. We can and should give them that access.

Asian ethnic network helps fight youth violence

The violence between rival Sacramento gangs with Southeast Asian lineage veils a complex set of internal conflicts that circle a core problem: how to successfully integrate into American life. A network of ethnic organizations is working to improve understanding among Hmong, Mien and Laotian immigrants and their children.

Megan Baier

State still promoting cancer screening to women frozen out of program

Seven months after freezing new admissions to a program that screens low-income women for breast cancer, California’s Public Health Department is still spending money to educate those women about a service they can no longer receive. The department has contracts with nonprofit groups around the state to provide education and outreach about the program, known as Every Woman Counts. But while the state began blocking new admissions to the program on Jan. 1 to save money, it did not reduce spending or change the requirements in its contracts that inform women about the screenings and encourage them to get mammograms.

Making Primary Care Sexy

As a medical student and now family physician resident at UC Davis, I’ve attended numerous medical conferences over the past several years, and the same theme keeps coming up over and over again: “We need to find a way to market and sell Primary Care!” “We need to make Primary Care sexy!” Much like Grey’s Anatomy has made surgery sexy, I’ve even heard proposals for a Primary Care or Family Medicine-based reality show. There is a critical shortage of primary care doctors that adversely affects underserved populations. Here is what we can do about it.

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