Nadereh Pourat, the Center’s director of research, will discuss “The Health Care System’s Contribution to Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Care Access” from noon to 1 p.m. today in CHS 13-105. The event is part of UCLA Global Health Awareness Week 2015.
As of January 6, more than one million questions have been posed to AskCHIS — the Center’s Web query tool that allows you to quickly search for statewide, regional or county health statistics. AskCHIS was created in 2003 and is powered by data from the California Health Interview Survey.
“I can think of no other Web statistical tool that has been used so much and by so many,” said Ninez Ponce, the principal investigator for the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and an associate director of the Center. “This is an extraordinary milestone for the Center and for the goal of making health statistics understandable and usable for the widest possible audience.”
Read the press release.
A recent California audit found that 56 percent of children in the Medi-Cal dental program – 2.86 million – did not receive dental care through the program in the 2012-13 federal fiscal year, and last week’s state budget failed to address the issue, California Healthline reports.
In comparison, Ohio had the lowest rate of utilization of child dental services with 23.7 percent, while Texas had the highest at 63.4 percent, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The average rate nationwide was 47.6 percent.
Associate Center Director Nadereh Pourat said lack of care is a “perennial problem” in California because few dentists – about 40 percent in a 2003 survey– accept Medi-Cal dental patients because of the low reimbursement rates.
Read the story.
Primary care doctors who treat Medi-Cal patients were hit with two reimbursement rate cuts on Jan. 1: temporarily high Medi-Cal rates – which encouraged doctors to treat Medi-Cal patients – expired, and the state reduced Medi-Cal reimbursements by 10 percent, California Healthline reports. The cuts mean doctors will lose money treating Medi-Cal patients and will likely result in a “gradual decline” in the number of Medi-Cal providers, said Dylan Roby, senior research scientist at the Center.
According to an earlier story in The Los Angeles Times, Medicare reimbursed doctors $45.69 for a traditional office visit for a returning patient in April 2014, while Medi-Cal paid a standard rate of $18.10. Until Jan. 1, the Affordable Care Act temporarily matched Medi-Cal rates to equal Medicare rates. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid, the federal program for the poor; Medicare is the federal program for senior and disabled citizens.
Read the California Healthline story.
A large share of adult Asian-American workers in California — 33 percent — are employed at or own a small business, and one in four of them lack health insurance, according to a study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
The study used pooled 2005– 2012 data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), which is conducted in seven languages, including four Asian languages. Information was extracted for 3,819 Asian-American small business owners and employers.
Study results also showed a surprising result: naturalized Japanese, Filipino, and Southeast Asian (other than Vietnamese) small business owners and employees were more likely to be insured than their U.S.- born counterparts.
Read the study.
Emergency room (ER) use at three large Los Angeles County public hospitals for medical problems that didn’t require a hospital stay dropped 9 percent in the first three months of 2014 compared to the same period last year, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. The decline helped lift a burden off consistently overcrowded public hospital ERs, said Dylan Roby, senior research scientist at the Center.
The story says ER use in Los Angeles has shifted slightly following implementation of health reform, dropping at public hospitals and increasing by “double digits” at private hospitals. The story says that overall, ER use at L.A.-area hospitals grew 3.9% in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013 — the year before health reform. ER use grew between 3 and 5 percent annually in the three years prior to health reform, according to the story.
Health care experts are studying how health reform — particularly expansion of Medicaid and Medi-Cal — is affecting ER use. The Times story cited three studies that found divergent results following health care expansion: the first study found ER usage was unchanged or declined, while another said ER use dramatically increased by 40 percent, and a recent Center study found ER usage initially spiked, but within a year dropped back to normal levels of use.
Read the story.