Author: California Health Report

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.

Death With Dignity: Living Funerals, Death Midwives and Conscious Dying

By Matt Perry Every day in America, mourners gather for solemn events to remember the lives of dear, departed loved ones at a funeral or memorial service. But for those exploring “conscious dying,” sometimes the loved one is still alive. The nascent trend in “living funerals” is part of a growing movement in death midwives who shepherd the living through the dying process. While other

San Diego tries housing first for homeless

By Marty Graham San Diego, which in 2013 had the fourth largest homeless population in the U.S., has committed $30 million to an aggressive housing-first strategy that grew out of test projects putting the city’s most hard-core homeless indoors. The new push is being heralded as a paradigm shift from a spectrum of temporary shelters, transient housing and services spread across agencies and nonprofits to

Not Crazy, Not Bad: The Aging Gurus of Mental Health

By Matt Perry A visit to most long-term care facilities – a nursing home or assisted living facility – quickly reveals who wields the sword of control. Managers dispense orders to staff. Then able-bodied caregivers roam floors full of seniors compromised in either mind or body. And frail residents dutifully follow the house rules. Yet AgeSong assisted living – which has long considered older adults

Program aims to ease encounters between mental health consumers and law enforcement

By Lynn Graebner When law enforcement and people experiencing a mental health crisis intersect, it’s often not clear to either of them what they are dealing with or how to proceed. A new program in Butte County seeks to make those encounters safer for everyone. The Butte County affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and local law enforcement are offering cards to

Adding Insult to Injury: The Tale of the Blue Envelope

By Matt Perry Imagine you are an older adult in your 60s or 70s, perhaps even your 80s. You’ve lived a long life of exquisite joy and sorrow. Today, you suffer from diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and a mental health problem like depression or anxiety. Then, one day in the mail comes a blue envelope. Inside is a notice written in jargon you can’t fathom,

Claims denied

Dental Surgical Centers Reel As Managed Care Provider Tightens Policies By Pamela K. Johnson A group of dental surgical centers that treat children and people with disabilities say that Health Plan of San Joaquin (HPSJ) has recently started to deny routine claims for services, and that if it continues they’ll likely be forced to close their doors. The dispute in San Joaquin County, moreover, may

Rebel Saint: Bill Thomas Revolutionizes Aging

  By Matt Perry Dr. Bill Thomas has a Christmas present for you. You’re not going to live to be 200. You’re probably not even going to make it to 100 either. All that longevity talk is marketing fantasy intended to line the pockets of “anti-aging experts.” Instead, he’s got something better. Your older years are going to be brilliant. You’ll embrace the wisdom gleaned

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