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Counties consider public option as part of healthcare reform

October 10, 2011

As California begins to build a new health benefits marketplace that will be part of federal health reform, counties are debating whether to allow their public health insurance programs to be among the plans offered to consumers. Orange County has quickly decided to keep its public program out of the marketplace, but other counties, including Santa Barbara and San Francisco, may go the other way.

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San Diegans unite to fight chronic disease

October 9, 2011

Chronic disease — heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and others — afflict nearly half of Californians and account for a big share of health care costs. But medical professionals believe much of that cost could be eliminated with better prevention and better management of chronic disease once it strikes. In San Diego, competing health care systems are coming together to launch a united front against chronic disease. One audacious goal: to make the county a heart-attack and stroke-free zone. Matt Perry has the story.

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Health Exchange building online portal

October 7, 2011

California is taking the first steps toward building a far-reaching, online health insurance market overseen and regulated by the government. The exchange will be a key part of the federal health reform passed last year.

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Caregivers’ stress leads to unhealthy habits

October 2, 2011

Californians caring for aging, ill or disabled loved ones are stressed out and making some poor health choices for themselves, according a new report by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The analysis finds that Californians looking after relatives or friends who can no longer manage on their own report higher levels of serious stress and are more likely to smoke or be obese than those who don’t shoulder the responsibilities of caregiving.

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Using tech to battle STDs

October 2, 2011

By Matt Perry

As public health budgets are slashed, and money for sex education and outreach evaporates, California public health officials are slowly introducing new technologies including texting and computer-based training to combat climbing rates of STDs.

Around the state, schools and county health departments are testing these innovative strategies to reach target areas most affected by STDs, often in underserved areas.

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Don’t call it a prison release – or a panacea

September 29, 2011

California’s prison realignment is a confusing process, but state officials want to make one thing clear. While the prison population is being reduced starting next week, California isn’t actually releasing any prisoners early. Instead, they are shifting responsibility for “low level offenders” to the counties, which have historically had responsibility for this type of inmate. But that doesn’t mean that prison realignment has solved California’s criminal justice problems. “In the old days,” one expert says, “we used to call this ‘put the money on the stump and run.’”

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Services for aging need better coordination, experts say

September 27, 2011

Aging Californians depend on a wide range of connected services – health, housing, transportation and access for the disabled – that must be better coordinated to maximize the quality of their care, according to a panel of experts at a Tuesday conference on long term services and supports.

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Care Innovations: The Future of Aging?

September 22, 2011

The brainchild of two well-funded corporate giants, a new Sacramento-area company hopes to change the future of aging by using technology to help senior citizens age gracefully – and safely – at home.

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Brown: Prisons give state ‘healthiest damn criminals in the world’

September 21, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that California’s prison system, under pressure from the courts, has focused on turning inmates into “the healthiest damn criminals in the world” but has done little to make them less likely to commit another crime after they leave custody.

County sheriffs, probation officers and others at the local level could do a much better job if given the funding and the authority to supervise low-level offenders and try to rehabilitate them, Brown said.

The Democratic governor, speaking to a gathering of 500 local law enforcement officials, heralded the Oct. 1 beginning of a new program to shift responsibility for 34,000 inmates from the state to the counties.

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Elder Abuse bill would regulate signature stamps

September 20, 2011

By Meda Freeman

Liz Sanders’ elderly mother had a $20 signature stamp that she used for her banking, but that little stamp ended up costing more than $700,000 after a dishonest caregiver got her hands on it.

Sanders said the stamp turned out to be the perfect tool for forging checks, gaining access to dormant credit lines and transferring large sums into a bank account opened without her mother’s knowledge.

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