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New York Outpaces California in Reducing Black/White Life Expectancy Gap

August 15, 2014

By Fran Kritz

A new study by researchers at McGill University finds that more needs to be done to reduce the wide variability among U.S. states in life expectancy between blacks and whites.

While racial differences in longevity have dropped across the country, the study authors say there are still sharp differences in how long blacks and whites live in many of the states and the District of Columbia.

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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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Study Suggests How Good Bacteria Gets Into Babies’ Guts

August 12, 2014

By Fran Kritz

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a pattern to bacteria development in the GI tracks of babies, a finding that may improve the health of preemies.

“Your earliest gut microbes probably have lifelong consequences, but we know very little about how these microbial communities assemble,” explains senior author Phillip I.

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Huge Increase in Cases Handled by Medi-Cal Complaint Office This Year

August 7, 2014

By Hannah Guzik

The California office that handles complaints from people in the state’s low-income health program has seen its monthly caseload increase by 82 percent this year compared to 2013.

The Department of Health Care Services operates Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The department’s Managed Care Ombudsman Office responds to complaints from Medi-Cal enrollees.

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Having More than One Chronic Condition Cuts Short Life Expectancy

August 7, 2014

By Fran Kritz

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that the more ailments a person has after retirement age, the shorter their life expectancy.

“Living with multiple chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart failure is now the norm and not the exception in the United States,” says Eva H.

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Children with Incarcerated Family Members Suffer Health Problems Later in Life

August 6, 2014

By Fran Kritz

A new study finds that people who grew up in a household where a member was incarcerated have an 18 percent greater risk of experiencing poor health quality later in life than adults who did not have a family member sent to prison. The findings, which assessed other sources of adversity for children as well, suggest that the high rate of imprisonment in the U.S.

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Covered Ca sees 4.2% average rate hike in 2015

August 4, 2014

By Daniel Weintraub

In the first full year under the federal Affordable Care Act, California led the nation – embracing the new law eagerly, implementing it quickly, and providing relatively robust choice with low premiums through a web site that, most of the time, actually worked.

There was nothing in Thursday’s announcement about the early stages of Year 2 that suggests the state’s position as a poster child for the law is about to change any time soon.

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Home Blood Pressure-Monitoring Devices Reduce Health Care Costs

July 24, 2014

By Fran Kritz

Home blood pressure monitoring devices can save money by improving healthcare quality and reducing healthcare costs, according to a new study funded by the American Heart Association.

According to the researchers, more than 76 million adults have diagnosed hypertension and many more are undiagnosed. Home monitoring devices let people with high blood pressure or who are at risk for the condition test at regular intervals.

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Antibiotic Use Is Common in Hospice Care

July 22, 2014

By Fran Kritz

A new study finds that use of antibiotics is quite common among terminal patients who are in hospice care.

The researchers used data based on the electronic health records of adults patients discharged to hospice care from Oregon Health & Science University over a three-year period ending in 2013.

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Numbers of Strokes Fall Among People 65 and Older During the Last Two Decades

July 21, 2014

By Fran Kritz

Fewer older Americans are having strokes and those who do suffer a stroke have a lower risk of dying from them, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The study found a 24 percent overall decline in first-time strokes in each of the last two decades and a 20 percent overall drop per decade in deaths after stroke.

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