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Insurance NewsWednesday, May 12, 2021 | California Healthline | #insurance | #seniors | #elderly

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 | California Healthline | #insurance | #seniors | #elderly

Newsom Unveils $12B Plan To Fight Homelessness: In what was lauded as the single biggest investment any state has ever made to address homelessness, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced a $12 billion proposal to create affordable housing, increase mental health services and fund other programs to get people off the street. Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune, The Mercury News and AP.

3 Counties Ease Covid Restrictions: California health officials promoted three counties to looser covid-19 restriction levels Tuesday, two of them moving into the least-stringent tier in the framework. Mono and San Mateo counties moved from the orange tier into the loosest tier, yellow. Madera County advanced from red to orange. Read more from The Sacramento Bee. Continued coverage, below.

Below, check out the roundup of California Healthline’s coverage. For today’s national health news, read KHN’s Morning Briefing.

Sacramento Bee:
More CA, Federal Steps Before COVID Vaccine Can Go To 12-15 

The Food and Drug Administration has cleared Pfizer’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 12 to 15, but local health providers are awaiting a few more procedural steps before they can offer jabs or appointments to adolescents in that group. “By mid-week, the next step is for the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to make its review, as well as the Western States Scientific Safety Review to independently review the FDA’s expanded EUA related to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine,” Sacramento County’s health office explained in an update to its COVID-19 webpage. (McGough, 5/11)

Bay Area News Group:
Vaccination Appointments Open On Thursday To All Age 12 And Older Californians 

Starting Thursday morning, Californians age 12 and older can book COVID-19 vaccine appointments on the state’s My Turn appointment system. Within the next several days and weeks, vaccines for youngsters also will be available through many pediatric and family practice offices, as well as healthcare networks such as Kaiser, federally qualified health centers and pharmacies that offer vaccines, such as CVS, Walgreens, Costco, Ralphs, Rite Aid and Albertsons/Safeway. (Krieger, 5/11)

San Diego Union-Tribune:
Adolescent Vaccination Could Be Available As Early As Thursday 

Some San Diego County institutions are poised to start adolescent coronavirus vaccination as early as Thursday provided Monday’s initial approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration clears final federal and state hurdles. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said during a news conference Tuesday that so long as the nation’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup sign off on the vaccine as anticipated Wednesday, the vaccination effort can expand immediately. (Sisson, 5/11)

Los Angeles Times:
COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments For Californians 12-15 Could Begin Thursday 

COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Californians ages 12 to 15 could become available as soon as Thursday. If everything goes to plan, California’s MyTurn site will begin making appointments available on Thursday morning, state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said. The timing for when other vaccine providers will begin to offer appointments will vary. (Lin II, 5/11)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Here’s Where Bay Area Teens Will Be Able To Get The COVID Vaccine

Bay Area health departments and providers are gearing up to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds, who are poised to become eligible for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine as soon as Thursday following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision this week to allow the vaccine to be used in adolescents. Now that U.S. vaccine supply is plentiful, expanding the shots to adolescents will mostly mean tapping the existing vaccine infrastructure, with a few tweaks. Vaccine clinics for adults and older teens will expand to those as young as 12. Drive-through vaccination sites will add lanes for the younger age group. Some counties plan to bring shots to schools. (Ho, 5/11)

Modesto Bee:
Stanislaus County Will Offer Pfizer Vaccine To Adolescents 

Stanislaus County plans to provide the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to adolescents at public clinics but can’t begin to do that until Thursday, health officials said. The FDA expanded the emergency authorization for Pfizer vaccine to young people age 12 to 15 on Monday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet Wednesday to consider recommendations for administering the two-dose vaccine to that younger group. (Carlson, 5/11)

California Coronavirus Updates: Get A Shot, See A Shark: Long Beach Offers Tickets To Aquarium For Residents Who Get Vaccinated 

The city of Long Beach is offering tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific as an incentive to overcome resistance to COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the Associated Press. Long Beach will give two tickets to anyone receiving their first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at city-run vaccination sites. The city said Tuesday that the offer runs through May 15. (5/11)

Los Angeles Times:
Hundreds In Orange County Protest COVID Vaccine Passports 

On the same day that Orange County recorded some of its most positive coronavirus statistics to date — nearing the least restrictive yellow tier in the state’s reopening blueprint — hundreds of protesters gathered to blast the Board of Supervisors for a proposal to create “vaccine passports,” or digital records that document COVID-19 vaccination status. The public backlash began in April after the county announced plans to launch a pilot program for credentialing. Almost immediately, a vocal group of opponents expressed concern that the digital records would be used to “track” people and reveal private healthcare information. Opponents also said it would allow the county to favor residents who chose to get vaccinated. County officials have repeatedly said the claims are not true. (Smith and Vega, 5/11)

Los Angeles Times:
How Vaccine ‘Passports’ Became A Battle Cry For COVID-19 Conspiracies 

It’s a simple enough concept as the world begins its recovery from the pandemic: storing COVID-19 vaccination records online so they can be easily accessed on smartphones and other devices. Backers see it as a much more efficient proof of vaccination than the paper slips issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Smith and Vega, 5/12)

Orange County Register:
Orange County Won’t Develop Digital Record For Showing Vaccination 

The yellow tier – and the fewer restrictions it places on in-person capacities for businesses and the public sector – is likely on the horizon for Orange County, which for a first week showed it could meet the required thresholds for curbing the spread of the coronavirus enough to further reopen businesses under the most lax rules the state offers. OC Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau told county leaders on Tuesday, May 11, that if the OC keeps on track for another week, it would move tiers May 19, opening the door for larger social gatherings, increasing capacities and bars that don’t serve food finally welcoming some customers back inside. (Sheets, 5/11)

Los Angeles Times:
As California Gains The Upper Hand On COVID-19, Who Is Still Dying? 

Despite a statewide mood of optimism as more people get vaccinated and case rates improve, an average of 57 Californians a day are still succumbing to the novel coronavirus. An average of about 12 of those daily deaths are in Los Angeles County, according to data from the past seven days. On the one hand, that’s a huge cause for celebration. During the worst days of the pandemic, California was seeing an average of nearly 600 people per day dying. But the sharp drop in deaths also raises a question: Who is still dying and why? (Smith and Karlamangla, 5/12)

Los Angeles Times:
Indian American Doctors Struggle With COVID Crisis Back Home 

India has become the latest epicenter of the coronavirus worldwide, as overwhelmed hospitals there deplete supplies of beds, high-flow oxygen and necessary medicines. In a single day last week, the country reported nearly 4,000 deaths. The dire situation has been particularly hard to watch for the large number of Indian American healthcare workers who spent the past year battling the pandemic in their adopted country. The American healthcare system relies disproportionately on Indian doctors, with 1 out of 10 physicians in the U.S. identifying as Indian — the majority of whom were born in India, according to census data. (Karlamangla, 5/12)

Los Angeles Daily News:
COVID-19 Case Rate Continues Falling In LA County; 18 More Deaths Confirmed 

The rate of new COVID-19 infections continued falling in Los Angeles County on Tuesday, May 11, with new state figures showing the county still safely entrenched in the yellow tier of the state’s economic-reopening blueprint. The state’s weekly release of county-by-county COVID metrics showed Los Angeles County’s average rate of daily new infections falling to 1.4 per 100,000 residents. The rate last week was 1.6. (5/11)

The Bakersfield Californian:
COVID-19 Ticks Back Up In Kern County As Vaccinations Decrease 

COVID-19 has begun to creep back up in Kern County, halting weeks of decline. In the latest weekly update, the Kern County Department of Public Health Services reported the first rise in coronavirus cases since the end of the winter surge. At the same time, vaccination rates have declined, making it more difficult for officials to get the virus under control. (Morgen, 5/11)

Modesto Bee:
Stanislaus Has 2 More Deaths To COVID-19 And 39 New Cases 

Stanislaus County reported just 39 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and continued to keep its hospital patient count down. Two more residents have died from the virus, for a total of 1,058 since April 2020, the Health Services Agency said. The new cases bring the total to 55,466. Stanislaus has 593,002 negative test results and 53,955 people who are presumed recovered. (Holland, 5/12)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Bay Area Reopens Some More: San Mateo County Moves To Yellow Tier

San Mateo County is advancing into the least restrictive stage of California’s color-coded reopening plan, becoming the first Bay Area county to join San Francisco in the yellow tier. Sonoma County had also hoped to move forward Tuesday but fell just short of the state’s requirements for the final reopening level, which allows most businesses to expand capacity indoors and lets many outdoor events resume. (Vaziri, 5/11)

Los Angeles Times:
Orange County Reaches Yellow Tier, Widest Reopening Ahead 

In another milestone for reopening the Southern California economy, Orange County is now within striking distance of its widest reopening based on the state’s four-tiered, color-coded blueprint. According to data released Tuesday, Orange County’s rate of new coronavirus cases — adjusted based on the number of tests performed — dropped to 1.8 per day per 100,000, meaning it could move into the yellow tier, the most lenient category, as soon as next week, if trends hold. (Smith and Lin II, 5/11)

Orange County Register:
Orange County Could Move To Yellow Tier By May 19 

Orange County notched a first week of eligibility for the less restrictive yellow tier, setting it up to advance in reopening more of the business and the public sectors as of May 19 if its progress curbing the coronavirus continues. A county has to show it can keep the three metrics the state is watching in its tiers system under the threshold for the next tier for two weeks before it can make the move.Leaving the orange tier for yellow would mean for a number of businesses – including bowling alleys, breweries, dance studios and movie theaters – a boost in allowed capacity from 25% to 50%. Increased capacity has already been allowed for restaurants and most retail. (McCrea, 5/11)

Bay Area News Group:
Map Of California COVID Tiers: 2 More Counties Into Yellow 

San Mateo and Mono counties moved to the yellow tier and Madera to orange in this week’s reassignment of COVID-19 restriction status. The looser restrictions will take effect Wednesday, May 12. (5/11)

Sacramento Bee:
Placer County Still In California COVID Red Tier For Business 

Placer County has been a leader in the Sacramento region in getting its residents vaccinated. Nearly 80% of those over the age of 65 have received at least one dose and nearly half the adult population is fully vaccinated. So why is the county still in one of California’s more restrictive tiers for business openings? (Sullivan, 5/12)

Why COVID-19 Tests Could Still Cost You $400 In San Diego County

Under federal law, insurance companies are required to pay the full cost of COVID-19 tests in most cases. Yet a survey commissioned by inewsource shows many local providers are charging hundreds of dollars that consumers must pay upfront.The survey of 50 local testing providers found almost half didn’t accept insurance in some or all cases, instead placing the burden on customers to pay upfront and then ask their insurance companies to reimburse them. It also found seven providers were charging patients for medical visits or processing fees even when the tests were covered by insurance. (Castellano, 5/11)

Unequal Distribution: How Businesses In East Oakland And Other Communities Of Color Missed Out On PPP Loans 

Across the United States, as the pandemic ravaged local economies, scores of small-business owners applied for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans, a federal initiative that injected some $700 billion into businesses as much of the economy shut down. Yet, a Reveal analysis of more than 5 million PPP loans issued during the first two rounds of funding from April through August found sweeping racial disparities in how that money was distributed, with businesses in largely white neighborhoods receiving loans at a far greater rate than those in neighborhoods with significant minority populations. Such was the case in this stretch of East Oakland along International Boulevard, where just about 5% of businesses received PPP loans during that period, the analysis found. (Bandlamudi and Green, 5/11)

For Black Millennials In Sacramento, The Pandemic Is Widening The Wealth Gap 

According to results from a recent Valley Vision and CapRadio poll, around 40% of African American respondents felt less employable a year into the pandemic, and over half of this group also says their income had been impacted. Only a quarter of white respondents felt the same. (Mizes-Tan, 5/11)

San Francisco Chronicle:
How Will Historians Remember The Coronavirus Pandemic In San Francisco?

As we continue to look back and wince at the city’s hubris and negligence, we’ve reached the point in the COVID-19 pandemic where we can dare to look forward. A century from now, when almost all of us are gone, what will Bay Area residents have to say about our actions? The pandemic is still far from over, with worrying variants circulating and continued tragedy unfolding in other parts of the U.S. and the world. But it is also increasingly clear that when the story is told, San Francisco will be noted for its successes, not its blunders. Officials say it has the lowest rate of deaths per 100,000 of any major U.S. city. (Hartlaub, 5/12)

Sacramento Bee:
High School Graduations Planned In Sacramento, Placer, Yolo 

Students across the Sacramento region will don caps and gowns at the end of May and early June and celebrate with their peers with in-person graduation ceremonies. In accordance with state guidelines released on how to hold graduation ceremonies, school districts in the area have announced plans to hold ceremonies with limitations: attendees should be screened for a fever and COVID-19 symptoms, six foot distancing is required, and there are strict limits on how many tickets will be available to each student. (Morrar, 5/12)

San Francisco Chronicle:
S.F. Is Rapidly Losing Care Facilities For The Mentally Ill And Elderly. But A Plan To Save Them Is Promising

Small residential care facilities like the one at 628 Shotwell St. are disappearing at an alarming rate in San Francisco, putting vulnerable seniors and adults with disabilities, mental illness or addiction at risk of homelessness with little access to needed treatment services. In San Francisco, the number of assisted living facilities for seniors and adults with disabilities dropped 38% since 2012, with beds dropping 17%, according to city reports. Hardest hit were the smallest facilities serving low-income residents. At least 100 people were waiting to get a spot in a facility, according to the most recent count. (Moench, 5/11)

Sacramento Bee:
Stabbings Spotlight Missteps In County Mental Health Program 

In court records, victims say that decision set in motion the tragedy at the Wellness & Recovery Center, which provides medication management, drug and alcohol counseling, case management, and therapy. The deaths have put a spotlight on the triage system that funnels hundreds of people like Martin Lackey-Garcia into mental health or substance abuse treatment programs in the region. Since the stabbings, 19 people have submitted “public entity” claims against Sacramento County, a necessary step before taking legal action. Two lawsuits filed earlier this year are blaming the county’s widely used mental health access team who first evaluated Lackey-Garcia and the triage methods they used to make the “inappropriate” referral. (Finch II, 5/12)

San Francisco Chronicle:
S.F. Proposal Would Allow Paramedics, Not Just Police, To Order Mental Health Holds

Paramedics — not just police officers — could impose mental health holds on disturbed people in San Francisco under legislation introduced Tuesday. The proposal by Supervisor Ahsha Safaí would give about three dozen paramedics the authority to order people they believe are experiencing a mental health crisis and are a danger to themselves or others to be held in confinement for up to 72 hours. (Rubenstein, 5/11)

Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento Mental Health Provider Launches Robust Growth Plan 

Sacramento-based Community Psychiatry acquired an East Coast behavioral health provider as part of an ambitious plan to reshape and expand how millions of people will be able to access psychiatric care, the company’s CEO said. Christopher Brengard, the chief executive officer of Community Psychiatry, said his company had received a capital infusion from global investment firms in the fourth quarter of 2020 and was planning robust growth. The company announced Tuesday that it had completed the purchase of MindPath Care Centers, based in Durham, North Carolina, on Friday. (Anderson 5/11)

San Francisco Chronicle:
House Of Prime Rib Admits Its Meat May Have Gotten People Sick, Amid Deluge Of Complaints

The House of Prime Rib has an issue with its flagship meat: The iconic San Francisco restaurant admitted on Tuesday that some of its prime rib may be connected to reports of foodborne illness.After a San Francisco Department of Public Health investigation last month and new reports swirling on social media this week, the more than 70-year-old restaurant said on Instagram that it “recently had an isolated issue with some of our prime rib which was immediately discovered and addressed.” (Kadavny, 5/11)

Sacramento Modular Home Village Will House 55 Formerly Homeless Women And Children 

Later this month, Saint John’s Lutheran Church plans to open 11 modular homes in what organizers call an independent living community for up to 55 formerly homeless women and children. They describe it as one small, but important step in addressing the region’s homelessness crisis. (Nichols, 5/11)

Los Angeles Times:
Another Consequence Of L.A. Homelessness: 24 Fires A Day 

The angst in Venice is part of a widening tableau of fear, anger and tragedy that has become an everyday consequence of homelessness across Los Angeles. As the number of tents, makeshift shelters and campers on Los Angeles streets has surged, so has the scourge of fire. In the three years since the Los Angeles Fire Department began classifying them, fires related to homelessness have nearly tripled. In the first quarter of 2021, they occurred at a rate of 24 a day, making up 54% of all fires the department responded to. (Smith, Queally and Molina, 5/12)

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