San Jose pediatrician Daniel Delgado has a big problem. His young patients – all from low-income families – are overweight or obese and in danger of developing diabetes. Many don’t have access to the fresh fruits and vegetables vital for better nutrition. How to connect his patients with the foods they so desperately need?
Oakland Unified School District’s Excel and Mandela high schools have found the right formula to keep students engaged and invested in educations – and they are sharing it with the public. With a focus on public service, Excel High School’s senior class recently stood before the student community and the public and discussed, presented the facts and defended their dissertations on varied topics. Some of these included teen pregnancy, homelessness, the affects of drugs and alcohol on families, single-parent households, literacy and even police violence.
An East Oakland center for young people is an oasis of hope in a community in crisis. It provides counseling, job training, recreation, health care and more. Soon it will host a series of meetings between Oakland police officers and local youth to try to reduce tension between law enforcement and the community.
Victims of domestic violence often fall through the cracks between police, social workers and health care providers. Contra Costa County is fighting that problem by preparing to centralize services for abused women in a one-stop center in Richmond.
The federal health care overhaul signed last month by President Obama will not prompt significant changes in the short term for Healthy San Francisco, the city program that provides medical care for more than 51,000 low-income residents. And even when most major provisions of the federal law take effect in 2014, city officials say, there will still be a need for Healthy San Francisco to serve an estimated 20,000 patients who will not have health insurance under the federal law, including many who are in the country illegally.
For hospital administrator Roland Pickens, Healthy San Francisco offers more than universal health care and coverage for the city’s uninsured. The three-year-old city program also is inspiring new approaches to streamlining medical care. Pickens, chief operating officer of San Francisco General Hospital, said the city health care program has led to innovations that include evening and weekend clinics, better care of patients with chronic conditions, electronic referrals that speed up the appointment process and a teleconferencing system that has doubled the availability of interpreters.
The Nibbi Brothers construction company is a big supporter of San Francisco’s nearly universal health care program, even though it includes a mandate on employers to provide benefits to their workers. Bib Nibbi, the company’s president, says the law levels the playing field with companies that bid against him and win by slashing their labor costs. The city, he says, should avoid a “race to the bottom.”
Daniel Scherotter, a restaurant owner and chef, is leading the fight against Healthy San Francisco. It is not that he opposes the health care program. He simply thinks the city’s businesses, particularly restaurants, should not be required to finance universal health care.
A San Francisco clinic that serves the poor was flooded with new patients when the city created its Healthy San Francisco program. Now the doctor who runs the clinic is preaching prevention for those patients. Third in a series on universal health care in San Francisco.
Even as murder rates are declining across California and the nation, homicide is on the rise in Richmond, the gritty industrial city on the east side of San Francisco Bay. A resident of Richmond is nearly three times as likely to be murdered as someone in Los Angeles, Sacramento or San Francisco. Now the city government, police, churches and community groups are trying new approaches to reverse the trend.