Op-Ed

Opinion: How the Workforce Shortage Is Affecting Patient Care

COVID-19’s overall effects on unemployment has received a lot of attention. But there hasn’t been enough focus on the devastation of the health care workforce.

More than 3,600 frontline health care workers died in the United States due to COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic. Few new workers are available to fill those positions.

Opinion: How Texting Could Help Californians Access Health Care and Food Banks

The unequal impacts of COVID-19 and the ongoing crisis of police violence in communities of color have exacerbated mistrust and disconnection between these communities and the health care system. This makes achieving patient-centered care a challenge.

Studies show that brief messages and two-way communication via text builds people’s trust and engagement in health care and educational settings.

Opinion: The Central Valley Lacks Public Parks, But We Can Do Better

Trust for Public Land annually ranks park systems across the 100 most populated cities in the United States. Those in California’s Central Valley often rank near the bottom: Fresno ranks 97th. Bakersfield is 85th. Stockton ranks 77th.

Stockton and other Central Valley cities can improve their ranking with the help of California’s budget surplus. When we build parks in neighborhoods that don’t have any, we change the lives and futures of generations to come.

Opinion: How to Ensure Medical Members Can Access Their Mental Health Benefits

Medi-Cal members might have mental health coverage in theory, but using it is a different story. People of color are less likely than white people to use mental health benefits, partially due to systemic inequities in the system. The same is true of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) youth.

Our communities care greatly about their mental health and the mental health of their loved ones, yet California’s promises to provide care fall short.

Opinion: An Urgent Call to Address the Housing Crisis in Black Communities

We are calling on the region’s leaders and residents to support a historic $500 million Bay Area Regional Black Housing Fund.

Black communities face multiple systemic barriers that lead to massive displacement in the Bay Area. Black people have been disadvantaged in the state’s housing market for decades because of discrimination, including redlining, unequal access to wealth and good jobs, and other systemic problems.

Opinion: New Medi-Cal Rx Is Riddled With Problems, Hurting Those Who Need it Most

Despite warnings that the health of the state’s 14 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries would be threatened, on Jan. 1, California implemented Medi-Cal Rx, a program that stripped pharmacy benefits from health plans and handed them to a private, for-profit company.

Now, a month into the new program, there are reports that thousands of Medi-Cal patients have been left without their medications.

Opinion: We Need Sustainable Funding to End Domestic Violence

California’s education system needs more social, emotional and sexual health education that recognizes the racial and gender identities of young people. Prevention programs can meet this need.

California’s legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom should include $15 million in ongoing funding in the state budget. By combining prevention and intervention funding, we can address the needs of survivors of violence and also prevent future violence.

Opinion: How to Improve Health? Give All Californians Housing

As a California high school student, I have become aware of one of the biggest health threats facing some of my peers: The lack of a stable home.

I believe access to housing is an individual right and a community need. The most fundamental health-related need is housing. A home is more than just a place to live. Lack of housing and high rents directly impact health, hygiene, safety and the ability to combat illnesses—especially during a pandemic.

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