Healthcare

Governor Gavin Newsom visited a health clinic in southwest Fresno Tuesday with a group of other state and local leaders to speak about a new bill that will expand access to healthcare for some undocumented Californians. 

The governor signed into law, AB 133, which will provide full scope Medi-Cal services to low-income Californians, who are 50 years of age and older. 

“Regardless again of their ability to pay, regardless of their pre-existing conditions, and regardless of their immigration status. It's a point of pride, it's a point of principle,” Newsom said. 

 

On the next Valley Edition: Rural communities throughout California lack vital healthcare infrastructure: how some local counties are grappling with vaccine deserts. 

Plus, the political fight to bring safe drinking water to San Joaquin Valley communities.

And how to prepare for yet another summer of dirty air. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

 

Whitney Pirtle, Tania Pacheco-Werner and Chet Hewitt

Earlier this week, the New York Times published an analysis of national data that found that Black and Latinx Americans are three times as likely to catch COVID-19 compared to whites. To discuss the implications of those findings, and what it means for the battle against the virus here in the San Joaquin Valley, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Whitney Pirtle, assistant professor of sociology at UC Merced, Dr.

Kern Medical / Kern County

This week Governor Gavin Newsom announced a program to bring more professionals into the medical field, including students and retirees. Bakersfield College also announced a similar pipeline to help its upper-level nursing students finish their education.

Shantelle Rubio is one of them. When she heard that her school was moving online to reduce the spread of COVID-19, she was stunned.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

Homelessness is on the rise in many Valley counties and with that comes increased concerns about addressing people’s basic needs like health care. On Wednesday, Clinica Sierra Vista marked National Health Care for the Homeless Day with a free health fair  including vaccines, screenings and even haircuts. We met Frances Ruth Redmond-Sconiers at the event. She’s 68 and she says she's been living on and off the streets for the past few years.

Dan Weissman

The cost of healthcare in the U.S. has become so untenable that many news outlets now highlight outrageous medical bills – like a $100,000 heart attack or $56,000 ambulance ride in Texas.

Courtesy Larry Jarocki

This year, National Public Radio asked students and teachers to put on some headphones, grab microphones and turn stories into sound, all for NPR’s first ever Student Podcast Challenge. Thousands of podcasts were entered from more than 1500 schools nationwide. Topics ranged from gun control to mental health, from mythology to hedgehogs. Today, we’re going to talk to one of the finalists in the high school category. Her name is Megan Tucker and she’s a sophomore at El Diamante High School in Visalia. Her podcast is called “The Lack of Specialized Health Care in Small Towns.”

Community Hospitals/ UCSF Fresno

If you or a loved one needed to go to the emergency room, how would you pay the bill? If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have huge cash funds socked away for a trip to the ER. Most of us are overwhelmed by the high cost of healthcare—and it doesn’t help that medical costs are often hidden.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In a loading dock in northeast Fresno, two men pull up to the warehouse at Saint Agnes Medical Center in a white moving van. They meet a contract coordinator with the hospital named Heather Ritter, who pulls out a clipboard and asks them to sign a form. “As is, no warranty, no service, you know the drill,” she says. “And no charge, how's that!”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Clinica Sierra Vista introduced their new CEO and opened a new clinic in north Fresno Wednesday. The Bakersfield-based clinics have historically served rural and low income communities. CEO Brian Harris says that serving those communities remains their goal.

 

“If you look at who's going to the medical emergency rooms in our community, it is the poor and underserved,” says Harris. “They're using that as their primary care home. So we need to open up clinics near the hospitals.”