We were able to support these fellows this year thanks to funding from the California Health Care Foundation. Continue reading
Along the southern California coastline, surging development has triggered a housing boom that has also come at a heavy price for health.
Numerous outlets have been tracking what U.S. health officials say is the deadliest outbreak of hepatitis A in the country, according to The Washington Post. State officials have declared an emergency, and officials are scrambling to contain the spread of infection in one of the country’s most densely populated areas.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 5 signed California’s controversial End of Life Option Act, which permits physician-aided death for terminally ill patients. California becomes the fifth state in the nation to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to certain patients seeking to end their lives.
The law, modeled after Oregon’s law, requires two doctors to agree that the person has six months or less to live and is mentally competent.
Until Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, announced he had signed the bill it was unclear where the governor stood on the issue. He released a brief statement outlining his moral dilemma, saying, “I do not know what I would do if I were dying and in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.” Continue reading
The health benefit exchange for California’s 500,000 small employers named six health insurers last week and announced the rates those insurers will charge. Small businesses (meaning 50 or fewer workers) employ 4.5 million workers in California.
This news from California may be useful to health care journalists covering the exchanges in other states, particularly those 16 states (and Washington, D.C.) that are running their own exchanges.
With this announcement on Aug. 1, California becomes the second state to publish the names of the insurers and their rates for its Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange, following Oregon and Washington, D.C. Enrollment on the exchanges begins Oct. 1 for insurance coverage effective Jan. 1. The Golden State’s health benefit exchange is called Covered California.
In the Los Angeles Times, Marc Lifsher writes that more than 7 million Californians under age 65 are uninsured, including 25 percent of all workers and 40 percent of workers at companies with fewer than 10 employees. Continue reading
Nevada has been shipping mental health patients out of state as it has cut funding for mental health services, according to a Sacramento Bee investigation.
In recent years, as Nevada has slashed funding for mental health services, the number of mentally ill patients being bused out of southern Nevada has steadily risen, growing 66 percent from 2009 to 2012. During that same period, the hospital has dispersed those patients to an ever-increasing number of states.
Cynthia Hubert, Phillip Reese and Jim Sanders report that Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, the primary state psychiatric hospital, put more than 1,500 patients on Greyhound buses bound for other cities.
The reporters reviewed bus receipts kept by Nevada’s mental health division. Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services has had a contract with Greyhound since July 2009, a bus company spokesman said. He also revealed that “Greyhound has contracts with ‘a number’ of hospitals around the country, but declined to identify them.”
Mental health professionals in other places are quoted as saying putting someone with a mental illness on a bus is risky and several said their counties don’t do it.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is investigating Rawson-Neal and the situation has prompted statements from California’s Senate president and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
- Nevada buses hundreds of mentally ill patients to cities around country
- Interactive map: Where Las Vegas mental health patients were sent by bus
- Dan Morain: Nevada’s shame: patient dumping
- Mentally ill man ‘dumped’ by Nevada has happy reunion with daughter
- Editorial: Nevada needs to atone for patient dumping
- Cast out of Nevada, mentally ill man tells story of finding kindness in Sacramento
- More cases found of Nevada busing mental patients out of state
- Dan Morain: Mental health care issues in California prisons are rooted in the past
- Editorial: Is ‘Greyhound therapy’ the norm in Nevada?
- Vegas mental hospital goofed on patient’s discharge to Sacramento, official concedes
- Dan Morain: Vegas’ dicey mental policy
- Federal probe sought of alleged ‘dumping’ of mental patient in Sacramento
- Editorial: Skimpy mental health net leads to dumped patients
- From a mental hospital in Las Vegas, he’s dispatched by bus to Sacramento
In recent weeks, California Watch’s long-running focus on abuse of the developmentally disabled at state-run institutions has coalesced into a broad indictment of the flawed oversight and enforcement programs at those facilities.
Ryan Gabrielson’s centerpiece is a classic deep investigation which relies on a mix of data and anecdotes to show that, even though the centers are equipped with a state-run police force, in 36 incidences of alleged abuse over the past four years, “documents obtained by California Watch reveal that patients suffered molestation, forced oral sex and vaginal lacerations. But for years, the state-run police force has moved so slowly and ineffectively that predators have stayed a step ahead of law enforcement or abused new victims, records show.”
Beyond that, California Watch has gone above and beyond to make their investigation as accessible and shareable as possible with a share-friendly chart, an 11.75-minute YouTube video, or even an “explainer” companion piece.