Confidence in health exchanges shaky, consumers wary

[ Posted on November 12th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]


Fifty-one percent of those who enrolled for coverage on a government health exchange during last year’s rocky rollout said they wouldn’t do so again, according to a Bankrate survey. Center Director Gerald Kominski said that although exchanges “rallied” after a poor start “they can’t afford to do that again.”

Fifty-two percent of enrollees said they had a good experience using the exchange and 53 percent say they feel sure that the online marketplace will run more smoothly this enrollment period, which starts Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15. Those who want coverage starting Jan. 1 must enroll by Dec. 15.

Read the story.


Center at public health conference tomorrow

[ Posted on November 6th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]

scpha_logo_100pxThe Center will be at the Southern California Public Health Association’s Annual Conference “Place Matters: Healthography in Southern California” tomorrow at  The California Endowment Center in Los Angeles. Look for our information table!

PBS screenings: Data and Long Beach’s Cambodia Town

[ Posted on November 5th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]


A new segment in the PBS series “America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa” titled Pass or Fail in Cambodia Town will be previewed at The California Endowment Center in Los Angeles tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Associate Center Director Ninez Ponce will be part of the panel discussion on how under-represented communities such as Cambodian Americans are — healthycommunitiesLBor aren’t — represented by “big data.”

On Thursday, the show will be screened in Long Beach at a Building Healthy Communities event at Dignity Health, St. Mary’s Medical Center, followed by a panel discussion.

RSVP for the L.A. event here and for the Long Beach event here.

Cambodia Town is a community in Long Beach, Calif. According to the U.S. Census, about 20,000 Cambodians live in Long Beach, one of the largest concentrations outside of Southeast Asia. According to the Cambodian Community History and Archive Project, some Cambodians emigrated when the Khmer Rouge took control of the country in 1975, but the largest wave of refugees came to the U.S. starting in the late 1970s, after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge regime. Cambodians were able to escape to refugee camps along the country’s border before being resettled in the U.S.,

A 2013 UCLA report, The State of Cambodia Town, found Cambodians in the community had notable language and literacy barriers among the foreign-born residents, median incomes 40 percent lower than the Los Angeles County average, a poverty rate (33 percent) twice that of other Asians in the county (16 percent), an unemployment rate 1.5 times higher than in the rest of the county, many physical and behavioral health care needs, but low participation in private health insurance (23 percent).

Treatment at cash clinics and costs at free-standing ERs prompt concern

[ Posted on November 3rd, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]


Going without health insurance and using a low-cost, cash-only clinic may seem like a “good deal” for those who don’t use much medical care, but a serious illness that requires continued treatment like dialysis or chemotherapy could leave uninsured patients in a precarious financial and medical state,  said Dylan Roby, director of the Center’s Health and Economic Evaluation Research (HEER) Program, in a Voice of OC story.

Meanwhile, in a Colorado Springs Gazette story about a new free-standing emergency room (ER) that charged $1,413 for six stitches and a shot – plus a $1,951 facility charge — Roby said, “It seems like a lot of the (ER) services … could be provided at an urgent care center for a lot less money.”

Health advocates in both stories expressed concern that people use cash clinics and free-standing emergency rooms as  substitutes for preventive primary care,  leaving underlying health problems untreated.

Read the Voice of OC story or the Colorado Springs Gazette story.


Encourage healthy foods, or discourage unhealthy foods?

[ Posted on October 30th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]

Positive community or media campaigns are more effective in raising consumption of healthy foods – by creating a social “norm” — than punitive food taxes or fast food outlet zoning restrictions are in reducing consumption of unhealthy foods, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health. The Center’s Onyebuchi Arah is co-author.

The study found that a 20 percent increase in taxes on fast foods would lower the probability of fast-food consumption by 3 percentage points, but improving the visibility of the positive benefits of eating healthy by 10 percent could improve the consumption of fruits and vegetables by 7 percentage points and lower fast-food consumption by 6 percentage points. Zoning policies had no significant impact on fast food consumption, according to the study.

Read the study.

State Prop. 46: What would raising the malpractice cap do?

[ Posted on October 27th, 2014 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]

roby_southwestern3At a Proposition 46 debate at Southwestern Law School, the Center’s Dylan Roby said states with caps on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice have lower medical malpractice premiums than states without caps, but those caps make no difference in overall healthcare spending, the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to the state voter’s guide, California Proposition 46 — the Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Cap and Drug Testing of Doctors Initiative — would do the following:

  • Increase the current $250,000 pain and suffering cap in medical negligence lawsuits to $1.1 million, with annual adjustments for inflation.
  • Require hospitals to test certain doctors for  alcohol and drug use.
  • Require health practitioners to consult a state patient drug history database before prescribing controlled substances.

Read the story, or watch the law school’s debate video.

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