Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
The coronavirus has forced drug rehabilitation centers to scale back operations or temporarily close, leaving people who have another potentially deadly disease — addiction — with fewer opportunities for help.
Authorities continue to dismantle homeless encampments despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hold off during the pandemic to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 pandemic is showcasing California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s leadership style to a national audience. The first-term Democrat doesn’t shy away from making splashy announcements and lofty promises, but his plans often lack detail and, in some cases, follow-through.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked lawmakers to pare down their legislative wish lists and focus on the state’s coronavirus response. But state Sen. Jim Beall plans to forge ahead with his mental health care proposals, including a measure to create a state mental health parity requirement.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed won nationwide praise for taking drastic early measures against COVID-19. But her hesitation over how to care for the homeless came back to bite her.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom charged into 2020 with ambitious — and expensive — proposals to increase health insurance coverage, reduce homelessness and tackle drug prices. Then came COVID-19.
As a national movement for better access to menstrual products gains steam, “period equity” activists in Colorado are finding the path to change isn’t straight. Although Denver last summer repealed sales taxes on menstrual products and the state now requires supplies to be provided in prisons, an effort to repeal the statewide sales tax on the products failed. So, activists assemble supply kits to donate to those who need them.
As homelessness among older adults increases, a movement is afoot to use a powerful 3D printer to construct affordable and durable housing.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom dedicated nearly all of his State of the State address Wednesday to homelessness. To fix that problem, he said, the state must address another one: mental health care.
California lawmakers are proposing ambitious health care ideas, from creating a state generic drug label to banning the sale of flavored e-cigarette products. Even though Democrats control state government, they’re likely to face pushback from powerful health care industry groups like hospitals.
Communities across California, frustrated with the growing number of homeless people living on public property, have tasked police and sanitation workers with dismantling encampments they say pose a risk to health and safety. The routine cleanups have spawned another public health concern: the loss of the displaced people’s personal possessions, including medicines.
Nearly a decade ago, Dr. Jeffrey Brenner and his Camden Coalition appeared to have an answer to remake American health care: Treat the sickest and most expensive patients. But a rigorous study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the approach doesn’t save money. “We built a brilliant intervention to navigate people to nowhere,” Brenner tells the “Tradeoffs” podcast.
Some of California’s most prized rivers, bays, beaches and streams are contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening human health. While aging sewage infrastructure is largely to blame, homeless encampments are also a probable source of contamination.
“Street medicine” programs seek out people living in back alleys and under highways. It’s a public health approach designed to build trust and eventually connect homeless patients to other services.
Denver is considering adopting a new 911 alternative used in Eugene, Ore., that allows mental health and medical professionals, not police officers, to respond to some emergency calls, saving money and de-escalating situations with mentally ill people.
Hospital systems now invest in housing to help some of their most frequent patients. This allows them to safely discharge patients who otherwise would have no place to go, freeing up beds for sicker patients and saving the hospitals money.
A large public hospital in Los Angeles gets over 1,000 unidentified patients a year. Most are quickly identified, but some require considerable gumshoe work — a task that can be complicated by medical privacy laws.
Deaths of homeless people in Los Angeles County have jumped 76% in the past five years, outpacing the growth of the homeless population, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the coroner’s data. Experts say drug and alcohol abuse are significant factors.
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.
Homeless patients accounted for about 100,000 visits to California hospitals in 2017, marking a 28% increase from just two years earlier. Health officials attribute the surge to the overall rise in California’s homeless numbers and the large proportion of people living on the streets with mental illness.