At The Capitol
New Independence for California Midwives

New Independence for California Midwives

By Lisa Renner

California licensed midwives will have increased independence and authority in attending births, potentially giving more pregnant women access to their services under a new law that goes into effect in January.

Assembly Bill 1308 removes an unworkable clause that required all licensed midwives to be supervised by a physician.

CoveredCa enrollment pace quickens

California’s new health insurance exchange appears to be gaining momentum with consumers. Officials announced Thursday that 109,000 people had completed the application process and picked a private insurance plan through CoveredCa.com in October and November. About twice as many people completed the process in November as had in October, and the numbers for the first week of December were even higher.

CoveredCa enrolls 31,000 in first month

California’s new online insurance marketplace signed up 31,000 customers in the first month it was open for business and another 18,000 in the first two weeks of November, officials said Wednesday.

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Strange bedfellows unite to help older adults

Strange bedfellows unite to help older adults

In the near future, successful care for older adults will depend on bold and creative collaborations.

That’s the message aging pioneer Ken Dychtwald gave last month’s Aging in America conference. Dychtwald, CEO of the consulting group Age Wave, might as well have been describing the “strange bedfellows” collaboration between two organizations often considered mortal enemies – a county aging services agency and a managed health care plan

Clinics Wait For More Patients in Obamacare Wake

Clinics Wait For More Patients in Obamacare Wake

By Genevieve Bookwalter

St. James Health Center is ready for the onslaught.

The community health clinic, one of the busiest in San Jose, sits on the corner of 2nd and Julian streets near downtown. Doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other health-care providers here treat some of the poorest patients in Santa Clara County — patients whom many expect to have newly-minted health insurance this year as the federal Affordable Care Act kicks in.

Nurses Becoming a Rarity in California Public Schools

Nurses Becoming a Rarity in California Public Schools

By Natalie Jones

Each school day, about a fifth of the children in California schools attend class without a nurse in the building.If emergency medication needs to be administered — an epinephrine shot for allergies, for example, or other kinds of medication injections — there may or may not be someone qualified or trained to provide the treatment.

Drought, Shutdown of Rancho Feeding Corp. Could Cripple Regrowth of California’s Independent, Grass-fed Livestock Producers

Drought, Shutdown of Rancho Feeding Corp. Could Cripple Regrowth of California’s Independent, Grass-fed Livestock Producers

By Angela Woodall

The Rancho slaughterhouse was a critical piece of the supply chain for sustainable, local meat, leaving consumers with fewer alternatives to factory-farmed meats, despite the growing demand.


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California Focus: Daniel Weintraub

Health before — and after — health care

Even as lawmakers in Washington D.C. drove themselves into a bitter partisan divide over federal health reform in 2010, an unusual experiment across the country in Oregon was amassing evidence that the rancorous debate in Congress was focused on many of the wrong things.

And if what Oregon’s experience is telling us now is accurate, the Affordable Care Act will be neither the boon to America’s health that its supporters claim nor the threat that its detractors fear it will be.

Why? Because expanding access to health insurance and even health care — the primary goal of the ACA — might not make us healthier, at least not in the the short term and not in the ways most people seem to believe.

Historic prison reform raises fundamental questions

California is two years into an historic reform of its criminal justice policy, shifting low-level offenders from state prison to county custody. The change has resulted in 18,000 inmates going free who, in past years, would have been behind bars. Now a new study suggests that this change has led to a significant increase in auto theft. How should the state respond?

Chief Justice backs school discipline reform

California’s school drop-out rate is driven largely by a cycle of kids getting in trouble, being suspended or expelled, and never getting back on track. Reformers have been arguing for an overhaul of the school discipline system to focus it on keeping kids in school while they are held accountable for their actions. Now the state’s Chief Justice has thrown her support behind these efforts, saying reform would be smart and more just, and save money too.

California Voices

Making connections to boost family medicine

By Ronald Fong. M.D.

While medical schools graduate a lot of students who have been trained in family medicine, most new doctors eventually choose to practice as specialists in fields like radiology, anesthesiology, and dermatology. That gap has helped create a shortage of primary care physicians, in California and nationally. One Sacramento program is using community connections to build more interest in family medicine.