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Despite funding cuts, a library in Salinas thrives

January 15, 2013
Despite funding cuts, a library in Salinas thrives By Melissa Flores A Salinas library found some creative ways to become a community hub.

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Filtration systems remove arsenic from trailer park water

January 10, 2013
Filtration systems remove arsenic from trailer park water By Suzanne Potter The water and sewer pipes that serve the rest of the Coachella Valley stop five miles short of Saint Anthony’s trailer park, home to poor farmworkers and their families. Their sewage is piped into a waste lagoon near the park. And the water comes from a 40-year-old well – water that is tainted with a carcinogenic toxin: naturally-occurring arsenic.

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New MLK hospital rising in LA

December 23, 2012
New MLK hospital rising in LA In 1966, one year after the Watts Riots illuminated the scarcity of health care services in South Los Angeles, 25-year-old Leonard Deadwyler lay mortally wounded in his car, shot by a police officer who insisted Deadwyler was drunk instead of what he was: A husband rushing his pregnant wife to a hospital some 20 miles away. Los Angeles County leaders reacted to the riots and Deadwyler’s passing by building what became known as Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, a full-scale teaching hospital, complete with trauma center, which opened in 1972. The hospital became an icon and a godsend to the community. Yet in 2007, the county shut down King/Drew after years of gross mismanagement, preventable patient deaths and other scandals. And that left the mostly Latino and African American residents of Watts and surrounding neighborhoods in the same predicament as Deadwyler four decades earlier: No nearby emergency room or inpatient facility, and a dearth of other medical services. But sometime in 2014, the community, its political leaders and county officials are hoping for a do-over – the expected opening of a new, smaller community hospital that will feature a basic emergency room and digital sharing of patient records.

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Clinton Health Matters Initiative tackles Coachella Valley health

December 20, 2012
By Suzanne Potter Think big. That was the charge given to 125 health experts from across the Coachella Valley at a recent planning conference hosted by the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI). “We are looking to set big, audacious goals here,” Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the CHMI, told the crowd.

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One stop for free food and medicine

December 18, 2012
One stop for free food and medicine By Jessica Portner Serve the People Community Health Center opened its doors in 2009 to offer free health care to the needy. The clinic's dedicated founder, Dr. Dimitri Sirakoff thinks there's more to health than health care - especially after seeing the effects of a poor diet on patients in his years of practice.

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Better mental health care predicted for Healthy Families kids with serious needs

December 4, 2012
By Lynn Graebner Santa Cruz County mental health staff and patient advocates in California predict that many children enrolled in the state’s Healthy Families Program, an insurance program for low-income families that will be phased out in 2013, should actually have better access to mental health services once they start transitioning to Medi-Cal in January.

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Salinas safety nets catch immigrants dropped by ACA

November 28, 2012
Salinas safety nets catch immigrants dropped by ACA The Affordable Care Act excludes undocumented immigrants from buying health insurance on state health benefit exchanges. But healthcare providers in the Salinas Valley are weaving safety nets of their own for medically vulnerable farm and migrant workers who are essential to the country’s food production.

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Community Ambassadors Create Melting Pot For Senior Immigrants

November 11, 2012
Two immigrant populations – older adult refugees from war-torn Afghanistan, and the Sikh parents of Silicon Valley-bound tech workers – have found a haven in one southern Alameda County city committed to fostering cultural harmony among its ethnic seniors. In diverse Fremont, the cornerstone of this harmonic convergence is the city’s innovative outreach effort CAPS – Community Ambassador Program for Seniors – which recruits leaders from local ethnic communities to guide members through the labyrinth of available healthcare and social services.

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Development of transit villages raises questions about air quality

November 8, 2012
By Ted Trautman Oakland’s next big experiment in transit-oriented development may be overshadowed, literally and figuratively, by the city’s freeways.

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Clinics gear up for the race to enroll

November 7, 2012
By Callie Shanafelt Health care reform will bring big changes to community clinics that treat the poor and uninsured. For the first time, many of their patients will be eligible for insurance and reimbursements will eventually replace grant funding for clinics. Unfortunately, patients may not know understand what kind of assistance they can get or know how to navigate the new insurance exchange.

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