Community clinics are facing increased caseloads due to the recession and the coming expansion of access under the federal health reform law. But many operate on a shoestring, struggling to serve clients in a stressful environment. One way they can cope is through collaboration, and many do as part of an online community known as the Community Clinic Voice. The public can listen in, too.
Month: November 2010
Many rural and inner city communities in California have a shortage of primary care doctors. But the state’s programs to incentivize doctors to work in underserved communities have fallen short, even with an attractive offer of student debt forgiveness. Why? One reason is that new doctors are offered jobs with big medical groups where they can practice medicine and not have to worry about running a business as they would if they were on their own. In this piece, Dr. Ronald Fong sketches out a vision where people in the community with business skills work with new doctors to create a partnership that will benefit both.
By most recent count, the Great Recession has resulted in a loss of more than 1.4 million payroll jobs in California. Beyond the job losses, though, the Great Recession also has brought changes in the structure of work in California. It will be some time before we recognize the full extent of these changes. But one is likely to be the continued weakening of the employer-employee structure that characterized work in California for more than four decades after World War II.
It isn’t always easy to find a drink of water at school. Unfortunately, this is a comment we hear a lot when we talk to children about the health benefits of drinking water instead of sugary, high-calorie drinks. Such a refrain is obviously a concern for a network of nutrition professionals, so this year we set out to learn more about the water situation in schools, how it shapes children’s drinking habits and water’s role in the fight against obesity. We found that water sources on North Coast campuses are sometimes limited to dirty or poorly functioning drinking fountains or water that sells for as much as $1 a bottle. Kids told us the scarcity of appealing or free drinking water at school makes it difficult to follow a key message of our “ReThink Your Drink” lessons, which is to choose water over sugar-sweetened drinks.
If you live in Shasta County, you’re more likely to die than people in 57 of California’s 58 counties, even after adjusting for age. The Healthy Shasta collaborative is trying to change that. An initiative of health experts and local leaders willing to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes into their own policies and working environments, the collaborative offers options like free health club memberships, on-campus bicycles and healthy food vending machines to their employees, students and customers. And one of the collaborative’s projects is focusing intently on child obesity and the schools.
Local governments across California are beginning to integrate health and wellness goals into their land-use planning. When the economy recovers and developers start building again, many new communities will be more pedestrian-friendly, hospitable to bicycles and built with an eye toward keeping people healthy.
The San Diego Unified School District, which spans affluent coastal communities and troubled inner-city neighborhoods alike, faces a $142 million deficit next school year. With the recent failure of Proposition J, a tax measure that would have helped bridged that gap, district officials are looking for places to make deep cuts. Laying off counseling staff and teachers, asking schools to share principals, and compounding magnet complexes into comprehensive schools are among the suggestions. This, coupled with state cuts to mental health services in schools, has students and teachers at the Crawford Educational Complex in City Heights worried their funding will be slashed in ways that ignore the special needs of the many refugee and immigrant students in the community.
California’s fiscal outlook is even worse than legislators and most Capitol observers assumed when lawmakers patched together a budget in October 100 days after the start of the current fiscal year. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s office, widely respected for its work on budget issues, projected Wednesday that the state will face a $25 billion shortfall in the budget for the fiscal year that begins next July. And the problem could be worse, if court cases break against the state or Congress and President Obama extend estate tax relief that would indirectly cost California’s treasury nearly $3 billion.
Fix the DMV. That’s my advice to Gov.-elect Jerry Brown. Why start with the Department of Motor Vehicles, when there is so much wrong in state government, so many problems, up to and including another massive budget deficit? Because nothing could do more to instill confidence in government among Californians, starting with teenagers who are still too young to vote.
It’s the season for cold damp weather. As the rains fall and chilly nights become more common, local elementary schools and the work place seem to quietly breed the first of the year’s sniffles and common colds. Fortunately, Mother Nature blesses us at this time of year with the perfect natural remedy. Within a few weeks time mandarin orange trees will have ripened fruit that provides relief to those who suffer from a head cold and runny nose. A recent study by the U. S. Department of Agriculture titled Synephrine Content of Juice from Satsuma Mandarins confirms that Placer County’s popular Owari Satsuma mandarins pack a big jolt of synephrine, a natural decongestant that relieves common cold and allergy symptoms.