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Monterey County Health Digest

Civil Grand Jury Mental Illness Response Recommendations


A Monterey County Civil Grand Jury report made recommendations for improvements to law enforcement and first responder procedures.

We Must Take Better Care of Our Home-Based Child Care Providers


These professionals provide essential services, but their pay and working conditions do not reflect their value, and their health suffers.

Homeless Infants and Toddlers Largely Unenrolled in Early Ed Programs


Evictions have exacerbated homelessness nationwide, increasing the rate of homeless infants and toddlers. Most of those children are not enrolled in early education programs.

Your Doctor or Your Insurer? Little-Known Rules May Ease the Choice in Medicare Advantage


Disputes between insurers and providers can lead to entire hospital systems suddenly leaving the plans.

California’s Disabled Students Left Behind During Emergencies: ‘They Just Weren’t Ready for Someone Like Me’


After bringing his story all the way to the University of California Board of Regents, a disabled UC Berkeley student has prompted the UC to ensure emergency evacuation chairs are in every multi-storied building in the 10-university system.

At Stake in Mifepristone Case: Abortion, FDA’s Authority, and Return to 1873 Obscenity Law


Lawyers from the conservative Christian group that won the case to overturn Roe v. Wade are returning to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in pursuit of an urgent priority: shutting down access to abortion pills for women across the country.

California Attorney General Boosts Bill Banning Medical Debt From Credit Reports


California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Monday that he is throwing his weight behind legislation to bar medical debt from showing up on consumer credit reports, a Democratic-led effort to offer protection to patients squeezed by health care bills.

San Francisco Voters Pass Police & Drug Ballot Measures


Proposition E broadens police surveillance powers and Proposition F mandates drug screening and treatment for people receiving county welfare benefits who are suspected of drug use.

Study Finds Almost 50% of San Francisco Drug Users Not Residents


A report of a 12 month study which ended in February indicates almost half of those cited for drug usage were not residents of the city, leading to questions about city approaches to drug addiction.

Antidepressant Prescriptions to Young People Surged During the Pandemic


The monthly rate of antidepressants being dispensed to young people increased about 64% more quickly during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.

California Hospitals, Advocates Seek Stable Funding to Retain Behavioral Health Navigators


Health providers and addiction experts warn the funding structure is unstable for a California initiative that steers patients with substance use disorder into long-term treatment.

‘Fourth Wave’ of Opioid Epidemic Crashes Ashore, Propelled by Fentanyl and Meth


The United States is knee-deep in what some experts call the opioid epidemic's "fourth wave," which is not only placing drug users at greater risk but is also complicating efforts to address the nation's drug problem.

Largest COVID Vaccine Study Yet Finds Links to Health Conditions


Vaccines that protect against severe illness, death and lingering long COVID were linked to small increases in neurological, blood, and heart-related conditions in the largest global vaccine safety study to date.

Faceoff Between Anthem Blue Cross, UC Health Shows Hazards of Industry Consolidation


For weeks, Anthem Blue Cross enrollees who receive health care from the University of California were in suspense, as the health system and one of its largest insurance partners struggled to reach a new contract.

All This Rain Could Invite Mosquitoes Into Your Backyard


While temperatures aren’t warm enough for mosquitoes to run rampant, now’s the time to prevent breeding grounds.

New Eligibility Rules Mean Nearly 2 Million on Medi-Cal Can Now Save for a Rainy Day


Nearly 2 million Medi-Cal enrollees can now accumulate savings and property without limitations and still qualify for the state's health insurance program for low-income residents.

She Opened a Business to Deliver Babies. California Policies Drove Her Out of the Country


Midwives provide many of the same services as doctors in low-risk pregnancies. A new UCSF study highlights obstacles they face doing business in California, especially when serving patients with Medi-Cal insurance.

Bankrupt California Hospital Left a Health Care Desert. Two Medical Groups Move to Reopen It


The closure of Madera Community Hospital created a new health care desert in a community that already had fewer doctors per capita than other parts of the state. UCSF and Adventist have a plan to reopen it.

Is Housing Health Care? State Medicaid Programs Increasingly Say ‘Yes’


States are plowing billions of dollars into a high-stakes health care experiment that’s exploding around the country: using scarce public health insurance money to provide housing for the poorest and sickest Americans.

California Universities Are Required to Offer Students Abortion Pills. A Lot Just Don’t Mention It


One year after California became the first state to require its public universities to provide the abortion pill to students, basic information on where or how students can obtain the medication is lacking.

As Climate Hazards Converge, More Californians Are Living in Harm’s Way


When wildfire smoke and extreme heat combine, they create “a synergistic effect” or an “additional burden” on people’s health, researchers say.

Possibility of Wildlife-to-Human Crossover Heightens Concern About Chronic Wasting Disease


Each fall, millions of hunters across North America bag deer. Over the winter, people chow down on the venison steaks, sausage, and burgers made from the animals.

Back From COP28, California Climate Leaders Talk Health Impacts of Warming


As Californians increasingly feel the health effects of climate change, state leaders are adopting sweeping policies they hope will fend off the worst impacts.

Your Guide to Proposition 1: Newsom’s Overhaul of California’s Mental Health System


Gov. Gavin Newsom crafted the measure to reform California’s mental health system, including a $6.4-billion bond for new facilities.

Bill Would Let Therapists and Social Workers Decide When to Confine Mentally Ill Californians


A pending bill would extend the so-called 5150 confinement authority to county-designated psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, and clinical counselors.

Gavin Newsom Raised Millions for His Mental Health Ballot Measure. His Opponents Have $1,000


The March ballot measure would raise billions for mental health care, but some clinics fear it would strip them of revenue they need for services they provide today.

How Fringe Anti-Science Views Infiltrated Mainstream Politics


Rates of routine childhood vaccination hit a 10-year low in 2023. That, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, puts about 250,000 kindergartners at risk for measles.

Senate Probes the Cost of Assisted Living and Its Burden on American Families


A U.S. Senate committee launched an examination of assisted living, holding its first hearing in two decades on the industry as leaders of both parties expressed concern about the high cost and mixed quality of care facilities.

A Record Number of Californians Are Visiting Emergency Rooms for Dog Bites


Those pandemic puppies are growing up to be a public health concern.

988-Hotline Counselors Air Concerns: More Training Needed to Juggle Calls


In the year and a half since its launch, 988—the country’s easy-to-remember suicide and crisis hotline—has received about 8.1 million calls, texts, and chats. Curiosity is growing about the people taking those calls.

California Panel Holds Up Studies on Psychedelics. Some Researchers Want It Gone


At the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, scientists are eager to explore whether a psychedelic chemical found in a toad could help people with depression. But research has been put on hold by the state.

America’s Health System Isn’t Ready for the Surge of Seniors With Disabilities


The number of older adults with disabilities that affect their performance of daily tasks will soar in the decades ahead, as baby boomers enter their 70s, 80s, and 90s.

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