Ana B. Ibarra

Lawmakers Push To Stop Surprise ER Billing

KHN Original

Millions of Californians are vulnerable to hefty surprise medical bills from their trips to the emergency room. Now, state lawmakers are considering a measure to cap how much out-of-network hospitals can charge privately insured patients for emergency care, which could serve as a model for other states.

Finding Homeless Patients A Place To Heal

KHN Original

California hospitals must comply with a new state law that requires them to try to find a safe place for homeless patients upon discharge. But hospitals say doing so isn’t as easy as calling a shelter and securing a cot.

Detention Centers In California Lack Oversight And Proper Care, Reports Find

KHN Original

Health and safety problems at immigration detention facilities throughout California pose a serious risk to detainees, according to two reports released Tuesday. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra and California State Auditor Elaine Howle concluded that federal and local governments are failing to adequately oversee the facilities, allowing the problems to persist.

Lonely? Anxious? Depressed? Maybe Your Dentist Can Help

KHN Original

An Oakland dental clinic has started screening its patients for depression, and referring them to a mental health counselor down the hall for immediate care if necessary. The program at Asian Health Services could be replicated elsewhere, and make help for mental health problems more accessible to hard-to-reach populations.

New Covered California Sign-Ups Plummet

KHN Original

Even though the number of people renewing their Covered California health plans increased this year, new enrollment plunged by nearly a quarter compared with last year, posting a bigger drop than the federal health insurance exchange, healthcare.gov, which saw a 16 percent decrease. Officials largely blame the elimination of the federal tax penalty for people without insurance.

Providers Walk ‘Fine Line’ Between Informing And Scaring Immigrant Patients

KHN Original

Some doctors and clinics are proactively informing patients about a proposed policy that could jeopardize the legal status of immigrants who use public benefit programs such as Medicaid. Others argue that because this “public charge” proposal isn’t final — and may never be adopted — disseminating too much information could create unnecessary alarm and cause some patients to drop benefits.