When the Chula Vista Elementary School District south of San Diego surveyed the physical condition of the 25,000 students enrolled in 2010, the results were worrisome. About 40 percent of the kids were at an unhealthy weight – with the highest rates among fifth and sixth graders. The survey prompted the district to act. The schools overhauled their menus, banned birthday cupcakes, integrated movement into recess and the classroom, and focused on educating students about better nutrition in the neighborhoods where obesity rates were highest. By the time the survey was repeated this year, the programs put in place had had an impact, according to Sharon Hillidge, resource teacher for wellness. Body mass indexes were down 3 percent and fitness levels had improved.
Month: April 2013
By Suzanne Potter
Toxic waste dumps. Poor air quality. And the slow death of the Salton Sea. The Eastern Coachella Valley has serious environmental problems – and now locals are getting involved.
Imagine taking a job without knowing how much you’ll be paid. Or having your car fixed without knowing the cost. That’s how state health insurers and our most vulnerable patients – the old, sick, and poor – feel about California’s latest plan to squeeze them into a new managed care program that may be woefully unprepared for a transition scheduled for the fall.
As Congress begins what is likely to be a lengthy and contentious debate over immigration reform, California has a huge stake in the outcome. We have the nation’s biggest population of immigrants, both legal and undocumented. We are the country’s biggest farm state, measured by the value of our production, and those farms are largely dependent on immigrant workers.
And we are, arguably, the innovation capital of the world, with much of that innovation driven by immigrant engineers, software writers and entrepreneurs. If Congress and President Obama can somehow agree on legislation that normalizes the status of immigrants already here, secures the borders, and fixes problems in the legal immigration system, California will almost certainly be the biggest beneficiary. This is something that could help rich and poor alike, and most people in between. Daniel Weintraub’s weekly essay.
By Callie Shanafelt
Provisions in the Affordable Care Act may not be enough to ensure that small businesses can provide health to their employees — and some provisions may actually discourage employers from providing insurance.
When California legislators decided that certain felons no longer would be held in the state’s overflowing prisons, they were under pressure from a court order to relieve the system’s dangerously overcrowded conditions. But part of their goal also was to keep lower-level convicts near rehabilitative programs in their own communities. Some counties are embracing the goal of rehabilitation, too, and are turning to local non-profits to help people convicted of non-violent, non-serious and non-sexual crimes start a new life.
By Rosa Ramirez
California’s kids experience more problems obtaining subspecialized pediatric care than children in any other state, a new UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study has found. The California Health Report spoke with Daphna Gans, a research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and assistant adjunct professor at the university’s Fielding School of Public Health, about why California has so few pediatric subspecialists.
Bob Pack lost his 10-year-old son Troy and 7-year-old daughter Alana when they were hit by a driver under the influence of alcohol and prescription painkillers. Pack questioned how authorities could not have noticed someone obtaining exorbitant amounts of pain pills, and wondered why there was no system in place to monitor such action. He later learned that the state of California does have a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). Pack also learned that CURES is both technologically inadequate and critically underfunded.
California has one sub-specialty pediatrician for every 5,464 children, making it difficult for children with special needs to see an endocrinologist, cardiologist or other medical specialist.
By Leah Bartos
As the state prepares for the expected onslaught of newly insured patients, health-care professionals are warning there may not be enough doctors — particularly, those practicing primary care — to meet the increased demand. Some say that the problem will be even more amplified in rural California, which already suffers a physician shortage and dwindling workforce, as the majority of rural physicians nears retirement and recruitment of new doctors lags in replacing them.