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Reading Your Doctor’s Notes

September 4, 2014

Reading Your Doctor’s Notes

By Kellie Schmitt

Patients across California now have easier access to their medication lists, lab results, upcoming appointments and messaging through secure online systems. But one key aspect of the medical record is not typically available online: the candid notes a physician writes about you during and after an appointment.

Those notes are part of a patient’s medical record and include anything from descriptions of a patient’s demeanor to diagnosis and treatment plans. 

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Online Access to Doctors Encourages Patients to Seek Care

September 3, 2014

Online Access to Doctors Encourages Patients to Seek Care

By Kellie Schmitt

Bay Area resident Mark Bloomquist, 33, hadn’t had a relationship with a primary care physician in more than a decade.

Waiting on hold to make appointments and juggling callbacks for physician advice or lab results seemed like too much hassle. When Bloomquist needed medical care – which he often did as an avid lacrosse player – he went to urgent care.

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Easy Online Access Changes Doctor-Patient Relationships

September 2, 2014

Easy Online Access Changes Doctor-Patient Relationships

By Kellie Schmitt

The days of waiting on hold and playing phone tag with the doctor’s office are diminishing for patients across the state and nation as more and more health providers implement patient portals.

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Proposition 45 would allow state to regulate insurance rates

August 27, 2014

Proposition 45 would allow state to regulate insurance rates

By Alisha Wyman

A proposed ballot measure facing voters this fall would give the state the authority to deny health insurance rate increases, a change some consumer groups say is long overdue but that opponents warn could impede Californians’ access to insurance coverage.

Proposition 45, slated for the Nov. 4 ballot, appears simple.

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LA County Struggles with Mentally Ill Inmates

August 24, 2014

LA County Struggles with Mentally Ill Inmates

By Chris Richard

The inmate had stripped off his suicide-prevention gown.

Such garments are of heavy fabric, like moving blankets, so that inmates in the Los Angeles County Jail’s “high observation” wing can’t tear them up to make ropes and hang themselves.

This man had rolled his gown into a club.

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Despite Errors, State Continues Enrolling Adults With Disabilities and the Elderly in New Health Program

August 22, 2014

Despite Errors, State Continues Enrolling Adults With Disabilities and the Elderly in New Health Program

By Angela Woodall

Ben Rockwell is a 68-year-old retired nurse with Parkinson’s disease and a long list of other health problems. He has to juggle two government health plans to make sure he gets the care he needs, but over the past two decades, he’s gotten good at it.

That’s why when he became eligible to join a new state health program, called Cal MediConnect, he decided he would pass.

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Straightening Out the Knot: The Cancer Resource Center of the Desert

August 22, 2014

Straightening Out the Knot: The Cancer Resource Center of the Desert

By Robert Fulton

Adrian Tapia and his wife Ana faced more than fear after Adrian was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. Between the doctor visits, the scans, surgery and rehabilitation, paperwork had to be filled out. Treatments required a two-hour-plus drive each way back and forth from the Imperial Valley to San Diego.

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Hurdles Remain to Signing Up More Latinos for Health Coverage

August 20, 2014

Hurdles Remain to Signing Up More Latinos for Health Coverage

By Fran Kritz

As a college-prep consultant, Marina Grijalva heard about the Affordable Care Act and how it would enable her to sign up for health insurance. But the enrollment campaigns — which the state poured tens of millions of dollars into — didn’t reach her sister or many other Latinos.

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Legislative Committee Orders Audit of Medi-Cal Directories After Reports of Inaccuracies

August 14, 2014

By Hannah Guzik

A state legislative committee ordered an audit Thursday of provider directories that are given to people in California’s low-income health program, after reports of major inaccuracies.

The state audit, proposed by Sen. Ricardo Lara, will examine the managed-care directories, whether they list enough doctors who are accepting new patients and whether state regulators have done their jobs overseeing that aspect of the Medi-Cal program.

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Peer Respites for Mental Health Consumers Prevent Hospitalizations

August 12, 2014

Peer Respites for Mental Health Consumers Prevent Hospitalizations

By Lynn Graebner

As people with mental health crises overwhelm California’s hospitals, jails and homeless shelters, counties across the state are gradually embracing residential respite houses located in neighborhoods and staffed by peers — people who have been consumers of the mental health system.

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