Month: February 2015

High Heart-Failure Rate in San Bernardino County Prompts New Helpline

By Hannah Guzik Nearly 20 percent of San Bernardino County residents enrolled in the state’s low-income insurance program are treated for heart failure — an alarmingly high rate. In response, a nonprofit has created a helpline that will facilitate care, with referrals to doctors, exercise programs, nutrition advice and transportation to clinics. The Stronger Hearts Helpline, created by the National Forum for Heart Disease and

Need to Know

By Hannah Guzik Check in every Monday for health and health care news you need to know. Trauma is a public health crisis, but new research offers hope. California, for one, is trying to protect kids from trauma. Foster kids are prescribed antipsychotics at an alarming rate. And large pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing than research. Will vaccination soon be required of all kids

No Room at Rehab?

By Hannah Guzik

Aiming to crack down on fraud, California’s regulatory agency took a hard line on all treatment programs in the state that serve low-income people through the Medi-Cal program, leading to frustration and confusion for rehab centers serving low-income addicts.

New Medi-Cal computer system at risk of delay

The state’s $1.7 billion project to build a new computerized claims management system for the Medi-Cal program is at risk of falling behind schedule this year, a state audit says. The project, managed by Xerox, has completed one of five planned phases, but the next phase, due in June, is far more complex and not likely to be completed on time, according to the audit.

New State Bureau Launched to Help Foster Kids

By Hannah Guzik California officials have formed a new bureau designed to help some of the state’s most vulnerable children. The Bureau of Children’s Justice aims to help kids who have experienced trauma, educational discrimination, human trafficking or problems in the foster care or juvenile justice system, state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris announced Thursday. “We simply cannot let down our most vulnerable children today,

Hope in a Hidden Public Health Crisis

LaVerne Vaughn made a decision after she served prison time in her late 30s: She’d live the rest of her life a free woman. Vaughn, now in her early 40s, with a platinum pixie cut and a steady, empathetic gaze, kept her promise to herself. Several years after her release, she started working in violence prevention and helping ex-cons in Richmond, Calif., find their footing after prison.

Why Young People Kill

Dwayne Taylor went to a party at the Ida B. Wells housing project one mid-May night as the Chicago weather was warming to the promise of spring. Once there, according to court documents, Taylor met up with three friends and made a disastrous decision: to rob someone. They left the party and drove around until they found a victim, 21-year-old Tedrin West. Taylor carjacked, abducted and robbed West before shooting him in the back of the head. As her son lay dead in a parking lot, West’s mother called his stolen phone. A man answered.

Stopping Homicides, One Shooter at a Time

Joe McCoy is intimately familiar with the violence epidemic in his hometown of Richmond, Calif. McCoy is one of six outreach workers employed by the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), a city agency. They patrol the streets to tackle the problem of shootings and murders with an approach that seems counterintuitive. They find young men and teens—as old as 25 and as young as 13—identified as likely having been involved in previous homicides and shootings. Then they offer them mentors, access to social services, life-skills trainings and even financial support.

Need to Know

By Hannah Guzik Check in every Monday for health and health care news you need to know. Will it work this time to get a warning label on sugary drinks? Mothers who smoke while pregnant are more likely to have daughters with diabetes, a study finds. There are at least 136 measles cases in the state, and BART riders were exposed. Meanwhile, doctors are increasingly

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