California

Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

‘Warm’ Hotlines Deliver Help Before Mental Health Crisis Heats Up

KHN Original

“Warmlines” are phone lines or electronic chat options for people who are not having a full-blown mental health crisis but who could use support to stave off one. They are a growing trend in mental health outreach to supplement existing hotlines, with one successful warmline in the Bay Area recently expanding to cover all of California.

California Surprise-Billing Law Protects Patients But Aggravates Many Doctors

KHN Original

A California law, which took effect in July 2017, protects consumers who use an in-network hospital or other facility from surprise bills when cared for by an out-of-network doctor. But physicians say the law has allowed insurers to shrink networks, limiting access to those doctors who have contracted with the patients’ insurance plans.

This Story Contains A Warning That Might Cause Alarm — Or Apathy

KHN Original

Proposition 65 requires California businesses to label products and buildings with warnings about substances the state deems as toxic, ranging from aloe vera to asbestos. A state panel plans to debate whether to add acetaminophen, the active ingredient of common over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, to the toxics list, raising questions about the value of these ubiquitous warnings.

Medi-Cal To Expand Eligibility To Young Undocumented Adults. But Will They Enroll?

KHN Original

California will become the first state to allow unauthorized immigrant adults to receive full Medicaid coverage when it expands eligibility to people ages 19 to 25 in January. But health officials and immigrant rights advocates wonder whether fear of federal immigration policy combined with a youthful sense of not needing health insurance will keep those young adults from joining.

Startup Seeks To Hold Doctors, Hospitals Accountable On Patient Record Requests

KHN Original

Despite laws requiring that health care providers hand over copies of patient records in a timely fashion, many people have trouble getting theirs. Ciitizen, a Palo Alto, Calif., company that helps cancer patients with the task, recently published a scorecard that rates hospitals, doctors and clinics on their compliance with records requests.

Flavor Bans Multiply, But Menthol Continues to Divide

KHN Original

As states and communities ban the sale of flavored tobacco products linked to vaping, anti-smoking activists are piggybacking on the momentum to target menthol cigarettes. But some African Americans say menthol cigarette bans will lead to discrimination.

The Air Ambulance Billed More Than His Surgeon Did For A Lung Transplant

KHN Original

After Tom Saputo underwent double lung transplant surgery in 2018, he was stunned by a surprise bill of more than $11,000 for the 27-mile air ambulance ride to the hospital. State and federal proposals would crack down on extreme air ambulance charges, including a new California law that will limit how much some patients pay for air ambulance rides.

California Air Quality: Mapping The Progress

KHN Original

The Trump administration has revoked California’s unique authority to set its own standards for vehicle tailpipe emissions, a move the state is fighting in court. A historical analysis of air quality data shows that the state’s strict standards have made a difference for counties across California.

California Nursing Home Residents Told To Find New Homes

KHN Original

Dozens of frail nursing home residents have been informed by their Medi-Cal managed care plans that they are no longer eligible for long-term care. Some health care advocates and legal aid attorneys fear that such terminations will increase as the state implements mandatory managed care for nursing home residents.