Health Care, Issues, News »

Executives at non-profit Blue Shield raked in millions

Posted September 1, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
BlueShield

Health insurer Blue Shield of California is a non-profit, but state officials say it doesn’t act like one.
For starters, some its top executives are getting paid much like their counterparts in the private sector.
A confidential state audit reviewed by the L.A. Times shows that executive compensation soared by 64 percent in 2012, to $61 million.
The health insurer won’t say who got the money – …

Health Care, Issues, News, Politics »

Mixer: Dropping the A-bomb, 70 years ago

Posted August 7, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

This week marks 70 years since the United States dropped two atomic bombs – within three days of each other – on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The heat and radiation from those bombs incinerated both cities, and caused untold thousands of others to develop cancer and other diseases.
Japan surrendered, and World War II ended.
The American government and military explanation has always been that …

economy, Health Care, Issues, Politics, Santa Barbara »

Mixer: California gun-control program firing blanks

Posted July 24, 2015 by , and | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

Gun sales in California continue to rise.
According to the Attorney General’s office, there were close to a million guns sold last year.
An increase of close to 100 percent since 2010.
And of all the people who applied for a background check in 2014, fewer than 9,000 were denied. Less than one percent.
In a report released last week by California’s state auditor, a program to recover …

Health Care, News »

Big win for Obamacare

Posted June 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
The US Supreme Court photo via

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, allowing middle to low-income people to continue to receive federal subsidies even if their home state doesn’t have its own health care exchange.
Had the Supreme Court ruled the other way, up to 6 million people could have lost their coverage.
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, President Obama said, “After nearly a …

Health Care, News »

Training for the medical trauma of war in LA

Posted June 15, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Trainees work on a dummy body. (Photo: Evan George)

Everyday, some 500 people pass through the emergency room doors of LA County + USC Hospital. If you’re one of those patients, you may unknowingly be helping the Navy prepare for war.
For the last 13 years, the service has operated a monthly boot camp called the Navy Trauma Training Center. It puts Navy medics – or “corpsmen” as they’re called in the Navy – as well as …

Health Care, Issues, News »

Fast food ban isn’t shrinking waist bands in South LA

Posted March 19, 2015 by | 1 Comment | ]
burger

A novel attempt to improve health in South Los Angeles by banning the opening of new fast-food restaurants isn’t working. In fact, obesity has actually increased in in the area since the ban went into effect, according to a new study by RAND Corp.
The L.A. law was unanimously approved by the City Council seven years ago. It marked the first time a big American …

Health Care, Issues, News »

Blue Shield facing tax hit after losing ‘exempt’ status

Posted March 18, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
blueshieldbuilding

When is a non-profit organization actually a for-profit company?
That line can be blurry, but the California Franchise Tax Board says that Blue Shield has crossed it.
The Board has revoked the tax-exempt status of Blue Shield of California – judging the health insurer to be run more like a for-profit corporation than a non-profit. The move could leave the insurer on the hook for tens …

Health Care, Issues, News »

A plea for measles vaccinations before spring travel

Posted February 18, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
MEASLESVACCINEc

Leaving the country for spring break?
If so, California health officials are urging you to get vaccinated for measles, if you haven’t already.
More than 150 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with measles in the past couple of months, including at least 113 in California. Most of those cases are linked to an outbreak that started at Disneyland in December
The California Department of Public …

Health Care, Zocalo Public Square »

If you opt out of vaccinations, should everyone know where you live?

Posted February 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
vaccination

Shouldn’t we know where they live?
California’s measles outbreak has touched off a debate about how to reduce the number of parents who choose—in defiance of all credible public health information—not to vaccinate their children. So far, the debate has focused on tightening California laws that make it easy for parents to obtain exemptions from school vaccination requirements. Newly introduced state legislation would eliminate the …

economy, Health Care, Issues, News »

Vast majority of newly insured qualifying for subsidies

Posted January 27, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
People sign up for health insurance information at a Covered California event in Los Angeles

Uncle Sam paid out more than $3 billion to Californians to subsidize their health insurance under Obamacare last year.
That money went to about 80,000 households – with an average annual subsidy of about $5,200, according to Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange.
Folks getting subsidies paid about $1.1 billion in healthcare premiums themselves. That means that for every dollar they spent, the government spent …

Health Care »

As the measles outbreak spreads from Disneyland, the vaccination debate heats up

Posted January 22, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
DISNEYLAND

Parents are wondering if it’s safe to take their kids to Disneyland as a measles outbreak continues to spread, infecting at least 70 people. Most of those affected are from California, but there have been cases in Utah, Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Mexico, as visitors returned home from the theme park.
In 2000, measles was declared to be eliminated in the United States, but the CDC reported 644 cases last year; and this …

Environment, Health Care, Interviews »

Emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas, higher than expected in LA Basin

Posted January 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
LASMOG

A sensor atop Mount Wilson has found that methane emissions in the greater L.A. area are up to 61 percent higher than what the government says.
In a study published this week in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, researchers say the largest concentrations of methane were found at ground sites in Pasadena and across eastern portions of L.A. County.
The research, however, did not find out …

Health Care, Zocalo Public Square »

What’s behind LA’s health tourism?

Posted December 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Photo: LA Farmer's Market by k lachshand/Flickr/ Creative Commons

The historical record is full of such stories: He moved to Los Angeles “for health reasons.” She relocated to Southern California “for her health.” Booster rhymes of the late nineteenth and early 20th century tripped off the tongue: come to Los Angeles for health and for wealth.
And come they did, especially following the arrival of the railroads in the 1870s and 1880s, amidst the pathos of …

Health Care, Issues, News »

Rate of unvaccinated kids starts declining in California

Posted December 10, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Immunization

More California kindergartners got their immunization shots before starting school this year than last year, reversing a decade-long trend.  The number of parents who filed “personal belief” forms exempting their kids from getting vaccinated dropped 20 percent this school year.
The Sacramento Bee reports the decline corresponds to the introduction of a new form that requires parents to get a doctor’s signature that acknowledges they’ve …

California Elections, economy, Health Care, News, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Health of healthcare reform, a checkup

Posted November 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

Millions again are expected to sign up for their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
They are prodded by an individual mandate that says they must do that. Starting next year, employers will join in on being prodded to offer coverage.
A lot of folks who found it difficult or too costly to get insurance are now able to do that.
But Republicans, fresh off their …

Arts & Culture, Dogs of LA, economy, Environment, Health Care, Interviews, News »

Rethinking the future of Auschwitz

Posted November 6, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
"Thinking the Future of Auschwitz" | IDEA Office | www.ideaoffice.net

The word “Auschwitz” has come to mean more than just the concentration camp in Poland. It’s shorthand for the horrors of the Holocaust, and proof of man’s capacity for extreme inhumanity to man.
But nearly 70 years after the Second World War ended, there’s an ongoing debate among historians, architects and archaeologists about how to properly preserve the site of the atrocities, specifically the neighboring …

Health Care »

Tough choices for transgender kids

Posted October 29, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
Dr. Jo Olson and Wes review paperwork at a support group group for parents and caregivers with gender non-conforming and transgender children, teens and young adults. Photo credit: Aydin Kennedy

The profile of transgender Americans is rising. Transgender characters are on television in both “Transparent,” and “Orange is the New Black.” California now allows transgender public school students to use the bathroom they want and join the sports team of their choice.
More people are identifying themselves as transgender, and at younger ages. This presents tough decisions for kids and their families.
Within the medical community, there are differing approaches to …

economy, Education, Health Care, Interviews, News »

‘A Path Appears': Nicholas Kristof’s reasons for optimism

Posted October 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Nicholas Kristof at KCRW. Photo by Avishay Artsy

Every attempt at making the world a better place for people, starts with – you guessed it – people. What a surprise, right? We, as human beings, affect other human beings.
But that way-oversimplified thesis means nothing if not for good deeds and philanthropy, heart, and, of course, a dose of money too. How everyday people are creating paths to a better world.
A new book …

Health Care, News »

First cases of enterovirus D68 detected in Los Angeles

Posted October 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
enterovirus

Health officials have confirmed the first two cases of enterovirus in L.A. County. The mysterious ailment has been sickening children around the country, but this is the first time it’s been detected in the L.A. area.
The two local cases have revealed the confounding the nature of the virus known as D68. One child who was treated at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles developed partial paralysis. …

Health Care, Issues, News »

Nursing homes want easier path to prescribing meds

Posted September 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
NURSINGHOMEl

A trade group that represents California nursing homes is considering whether to push for a new policy that would allow doctors to prescribe antipsychotic drugs to residents without their consent, or the consent of their families.
Some members of the group argue that at times patients are so incapacitated that they can’t make effective decisions for themselves – and that family members are often not …

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