Barbara Feder Ostrov

California Hospitals And Nursing Homes Brace For Wildfire Blackouts

KHN Original

Facing billions of dollars in legal claims for the role its equipment has played in a spate of deadly wildfires, California utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric plans to step up efforts to cut power to broad regions of the state during high-risk weather conditions. The potential for prolonged blackouts has prompted disaster preparations by hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers.

Modern Wildfires Pose New Health Risks For Firefighters

KHN Original

Studies long have linked urban firefighters’ on-the-job exposure to toxins with an increased risk of cancer. More recently, as urban-style development reaches into once remote stretches of California’s mountains and forests, wildfire crews are exposed to fuels and carcinogens more typical of urban fires. We talk with Tony Stefani of the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation about the health risks that poses for firefighters.

With ACA’s Future In Peril, California Reins In Rising Health Insurance Premiums

KHN Original

Premiums will grow by an average of 0.8% next year on the state health insurance exchange. Officials cite two new policies for the relatively low rate hike: a new state tax penalty on Californians who don’t have health insurance coupled with state-based tax credits to help enrollees afford their premiums, including middle-income people who make too much money to qualify for federal financial aid. 

Patients Suffer When Health Care Behemoths Quarrel Over Contracts

KHN Original

The latest example is Sutter Health and Anthem Blue Cross, whose failure to seal a deal is causing Anthem members to worry they may not have access to one of the dominant hospital chains in Northern California. Across the U.S., the stakes in such contract fights have risen, as health systems and insurers battle to increase their market share.