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A Nurse, a Friend and a Parenting Teacher: Home-Visit Program Helps Low-Income Mothers

July 25, 2014

A Nurse, a Friend and a Parenting Teacher: Home-Visit Program Helps Low-Income Mothers

By Lisa Renner

Oyuny Bahena was pregnant and living in a homeless shelter in Merced County when she first met with a home-visit nurse.

The nurse offered to help guide the 20-year-old through the challenges of parenthood over the next two years at no cost. Bahena remains grateful.

“I love her support (and) how she’s very attentive with me and my baby,” she said.

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Art With Elders: Stop Making Sense

July 20, 2014

Art With Elders:  Stop Making Sense

By Matt Perry

When expressionist painters like Pablo Picasso, Otto Dix and Barnett Newman waved their defiant brushes over blank canvases, they rebelled against the “logical minds” that had brought about one World War, then another. Art, they insisted, should free the mind from oppressive reality.

So it’s not surprising that in the shadow of the Beat Generation and Sixties counterculture, a Bay Area arts program has gained prominence in helping older adults circumvent constrictive thought to free the artist within.

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State Agency Running Medi-Cal Didn’t Know How Many Docs Took its Insurance

July 17, 2014

State Agency Running Medi-Cal Didn’t Know How Many Docs Took its Insurance

By Hannah Guzik

The California agency that oversees the state’s low-income health plan vastly overstated the number of doctors who accepted patients through the program last year, even as the number of people enrolled was set to skyrocket under the federal Affordable Care Act, the California Health Report has found.

The state’s Medi-Cal provider list had more physicians than were even licensed to practice in California last year.

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Denti-Cal Patients Feel the Pain as Rates Shrink

July 16, 2014

Denti-Cal Patients Feel the Pain as Rates Shrink

By Pamela K. Johnson

A few years ago, Kathleen Hamilton became a foster mom to 13 and 14 year old boys, who also happened to be her nephews. Both needed extensive dental work, and the services were to be covered by the state’s Medi-Cal program. But year after year, Hamilton ran into a snag.

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Researchers Studying Whether Pesticide Exposure Affects Farmworkers’ Brain Health

July 13, 2014

Researchers Studying Whether Pesticide Exposure Affects Farmworkers’ Brain Health

By Hannah Guzik

On her way to her office in Oxnard, Rachel Casas drives past farmworkers bent over in the fields. Because she is a neuropsychologist, she wonders whether there are pesticides in those fields and if the chemicals may be affecting the laborers.

She still doesn’t know the answer to that question, but she and two other Cal Lutheran University researchers are getting closer to finding out.

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State restores some funding for kids with special needs

July 8, 2014

State restores some funding for kids with special needs

By Lisa Renner

Born five weeks premature, 2-year-old Corbin can’t speak as well as other children his age. But the Modesto toddler is improving all the time because of an infant development specialist provided by California’s Early Start program.

Now more infants and toddlers with developmental delays and those at risk of delays will receive those services because of the state Legislature’s recent move to restore funding of the program to 2009 levels.

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Too Few Docs to Set Baby Boomer Bones

July 8, 2014

Too Few Docs to Set Baby Boomer Bones

By Lisa Renner

More and more baby boomers start their senior years they are encountering an unwelcome side effect of aging – more falls and more fractures. At the same time, orthopedic surgeons in underserved areas are retiring to enjoy their golden years. Soon, advocates worry, there will be too few surgeons left to treat the growing number of elderly people who will require expert help with their broken bones.

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Dementia, The Greatest Generation, and a Ray of Sunshine

July 7, 2014

Dementia, The Greatest Generation, and a Ray of Sunshine

By Matt Perry

After restaurateur Sam Stelletello opened Sunshine Care to offer high-quality assisted living to World War II’s “Greatest Generation,” nearly all of his aging residents succumbed to dementia – most frequently Alzheimer’s disease.

As Sunshine’s original 10-bed 1990 facility expanded into today’s immaculate seven-building site in the hills of homespun Poway – San Diego County’s “City in the Country” – the residents’ natural cognitive decline spawned one of the state’s few facilities devoted to patients with dementia.

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Health Centers Try To Expand Without Losing Roots

July 3, 2014

Health Centers Try To Expand Without Losing Roots

By Lynn Graebner

When Clare Ross couldn’t afford her $300 health insurance premium on top of her student loan payments, she turned to the Santa Cruz Women’s Health Center.

The safety-net clinic was founded in 1974 to serve only women, many of whom, like Ross, couldn’t get care elsewhere. But the center is now expanding its services in order to serve a wider demographic and receive federal funding under the Affordable Care Act.

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Insurance Could Help Former Inmates, But State and County Problems Have Slowed Enrollment

July 3, 2014

Insurance Could Help Former Inmates, But State and County Problems Have Slowed Enrollment

By Angela Woodall

California’s ambitious plan to enroll former prison and jail inmates in health insurance as part of an expansion funded by the Affordable Care Act has been foiled by an applications logjam, administrative errors and bureaucratic roadblocks.

Advocates across California who work with former inmates have been trying since January to get them signed up for Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health plan, in the hopes that having access to doctors, mental health services and addiction treatment might help keep them out of jail.

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