State of Health

KQED's State of Health covers health care issues affecting the state of California.


San Jose Police Crack Down On Violence

The San Jose Police Department is cracking down on violent crime after the city's 25th homicide this year.

KQED Launches Affordable Care Act Guide

Are you confused about Obamacare? KQED and The California Report created a guide to help answer your questions about the Affordable Care Act.

Physician-Assisted Suicide to Become Legal in California

Governor Jerry Brown signed the "End of Life Option Act" on Monday, granting terminally ill patients in California the right to end their lives with the help of a physician. The bill will take effect in 2016 and culminates a 23-year effort to legalize medically-assisted suicide in the state. Supporters say the legislation will give people who are dying a legal alternative to a painful and prolonged death. Opponents of the law fear it will lead to unnecessary or even coerced deaths.

Capitol Hill Battle Over Defunding Planned Parenthood Intensifies

House Republicans have voted to block federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which they accuse of illegally profiting from the sale of aborted fetus tissues. Senate Democrats and President Obama both oppose de-funding the organization that provides family planning and health care services to men and women across the country. We look at the political and health care implications of the debate over Planned Parenthood.

PBS NewsHour

For Gates, better training for front line workers key no matter the challenge

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Following their conversation for last night’s PBS NewsHour, Gwen Ifill continued to talk with Bill and Melinda Gates about lessons learned from their decade plus in philanthropy — especially their reflections on work to end the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

One direction their philanthropy is moving in, no matter the area of focus, is empowering frontline workers.

“Whether it be a teacher in an inner city classroom or somebody in Liberia in a rural healthcare clinic — how do you get the latest tools out to them, making sure the investment in those tools is taking place, then the training programs and the feedback programs so they can be there on the frontline,” Bill Gates said. “They’re really the heroes, and we’re trying to build systems that help them do it better.”

Better training and more constructive feedback for teachers was a main focus of Gates’ remarks before educators, officials and Bill and Melinda Gate Foundations staffers gathered in Seattle yesterday for the group’s forum on education.

The post For Gates, better training for front line workers key no matter the challenge appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Twitter chat: Addressing the mental health stigma

For people living with a mental illness, factors like isolation, stigma, delayed care and inadequate community support
         can be barriers to living well.

For people living with a mental illness, factors like isolation, stigma, delayed care and inadequate community support can be barriers to living well.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost one in five Americans will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. Despite this, stigma of those with mental illnesses is common throughout the country, according to both the CDC and the NIH. In 1990, Congress designated the first full week in October National Mental Illness Awareness week in order to bring attention to these issues.

Why is there stigma around mental illness? What effect can stigma have on those with mental illness? Join @NewsHour for a Twitter chat from 1-2 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 9. We will discuss these questions with the Director for Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University Dr. Jonathan Metzl (@JonathanMetzl); Award-winning mental health writer Natasha Tracy (@Natasha_Tracy); Mental health advocate and creator of “Sh*t People Say To People With Mental Illness” viral video Rachel Griffin (@RachelGriffin22); Creator of the #MedicatedandMighty viral movement Erin Jones (@muthalovnautism); Mental Health Editor at The Mighty Sarah Schuster (@TheMightySite); and Bob Carolla of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (@NAMICommunicate).

Read some of the highlights from the discussion below.

The post Twitter chat: Addressing the mental health stigma appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Ann Romney on her battle with multiple sclerosis and the race for the White House


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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now another addition to our NewsHour Bookshelf.

Some have called it a storybook life, married to her teenage sweetheart, mother of five children, financially secure with a loving, supportive husband.

But, in 1997, Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease which cannot be cured, but can be treated. Now she has written a memoir, “In This Together: My Story,” her account of the journey she has traveled these last 18 years.

Welcome, Ann Romney.

ANN ROMNEY, Author, “In This Together: My Story”: Thank you so much.

JUDY WOODRUFF: This is a very personal story. It’s, in fact, remarkably personal for someone who has been so much in the public eye.


JUDY WOODRUFF: How hard was it to write?

ANN ROMNEY: Well, it was hard, because it was — I had to go back to those very dark days, which was, not — it’s not like I felt proud of myself, how depressed I was and how sorry I felt for myself.

But I knew it was important, and I wanted to share this story, so I wanted to — I deliberately made it personal, so that people would know that I was opening my heart to them and that I was sharing with them where I was and where I have come since then.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Did you go in knowing you wanted to be really candid? Because you are candid in here.

ANN ROMNEY: You know, they’re — I did. I wanted to be candid. It was very deliberate.

And then, when I had written a lot of it, the publisher came back and they said, we want more. And so I brought out a few more stories that I wouldn’t really have shared. It was hard in some ways, but then also so honest, and I wanted to be that way, so that people can honestly know that I am here to try to help people.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it really is your journey from the diagnosis, what, 18 years ago through various therapies. You seem to be doing very well.

But what’s been the hardest part of this?

ANN ROMNEY: I think the hardest part was initially, when I was first diagnosed. And then I was so sick that it stripped me from my identity.

And how it did that was that I think we identify ourselves by labels or things that we are able to do: I am this. I am a good cook. I am a good mother. I am a good this. I am a good doctor. I am a good lawyer.

When you can’t do those things anymore, you wonder where your identity is. And I think, for me, it was going to places where I was uncomfortable going and being stripped down, so that I was really vulnerable.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you are open about the treatments you have tried, everything from chemotherapy, horseback riding therapy, something called reflexology, your faith.

What is your view of alternative medicine?

ANN ROMNEY: Well, I like to tell people, when they get a diagnosis like, this, of course, go to the Western treatment, and especially with M.S.

It’s very important that people get aggressive and early treatment. This is different than what it was when I was first diagnosed, where they said wait until you’re much sicker to get treatment. But now we know, get aggressive treatment from the very beginning.

But after that, you know, the sad thing is, you still don’t feel well. You still have symptoms of fatigue and all these things, that it’s just unrelenting and very debilitating. And I found that reflexology worked for me. I found that riding horses worked for me.

Finding joy in your life is another really important component. And losing yourself in doing something else, and not always dwelling on your illness is very important.

JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s a lot in here that’s really inspirational.

And I have to ask you a little bit about politics. You said after the campaign of 2012 that you felt terrible for what America had lost.


JUDY WOODRUFF: That was right after the election.

How do you feel about how things are going today?

ANN ROMNEY: Well, it’s frustrating.

You know, we can see that it looks like there is an economic recovery. And, at the same time, that recovery has left out the middle class and millions of Americans. And so we still have so many problems. We look at internationally. What is happening in the Middle East is just — is heart-wrenching and devastating. And you think of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and all the problems that are happening in the world.

And it is frustrating for me to watch this, because I feel as though Mitt would have been a very good president. And I said, it’s not our loss, because our lives are fine, but the country lost by not having Mitt as president.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And you did give some thought, both of you, to running this time, decided…

ANN ROMNEY: For about 20 seconds.


JUDY WOODRUFF: But you decided not to.

But we now have a contest on the Republican side where it seems people with no government experience are more favored than anybody else. Do you think that’s healthy?

ANN ROMNEY: Well, I think it’s a reflection of a sentiment, and I’m not sure it’s where we will end up.

There’s a lot of ups and downs in a campaign, but I think it’s a reflection. And if you look at both the Democratic contest and the Republican contest, the same thing is happening, where people are — I think feel — I think the voters feel disenfranchised.

I think they feel like things go on in Washington without the best interest of the American — that — the public being put first. I think they’re right. I think government has been run for a long time by special interests, and listening to the lobbyists. And I think people are really frustrated with that.

So, I think the sentiment is not only out there. I think it’s real, and I think that politicians are better — obviously, they’re turning to people outside of the norm to say, you go in there with a wrecking ball and just — just smash it all to pieces.


ANN ROMNEY: And I think that’s their sentiment.

I think, at the end of the day, they will come to and coalesce around a candidate that will be able to unify and also respond to some of this sentiment.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But maybe not where they are right now?

ANN ROMNEY: I don’t think they will be where they are right now. I think they will come and try to find someone maybe with a little — a little experience.

JUDY WOODRUFF: I just have to ask you one other question.

And that is a story in The Wall Street Journal today, front page, about the cost of prescription drugs. And they single out drugs for multiple sclerosis, and they talk about, in the last, I think, decade, drugs went up an average of 16 percent a year each year over the last decade.


It’s — it’s…

JUDY WOODRUFF: What does that say?

ANN ROMNEY: Well, it’s — we all know that the drug companies are responsible for a lot of the research.

And we know that it is extremely expensive for them to do that, and it costs a lot of money for them to do it. But we also know that, once they get an exclusive use of a certain drug, that they do seem to take a bit of advantage of that.

So, there has to be a recognition that we need that. We need the drug companies spending that money and doing that research. We also need them to be responsible for not hurting people that are desperate for some of these drugs.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s been a pleasure talking with you, Ann Romney.

The book is “In This Together: My Story.”

Thank you very much.

ANN ROMNEY: Thank you very much.

The post Ann Romney on her battle with multiple sclerosis and the race for the White House appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Fiorina makes claims on Planned Parenthood a campaign centerpiece

Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks at a forum in Greenville, South
         Carolina, September 18, 2015. Fiorina, who is making opposition to Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of her campaign, has repeated
         an erroneous description of videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina speaks at a forum in Greenville, South Carolina, September 18, 2015. Fiorina, who is making opposition to Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of her campaign, has repeated an erroneous description of videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina has spent the last two weeks repeating an erroneous description of videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists. That seems bound to continue as she makes her opposition to Planned Parenthood a centerpiece of her 2016 campaign.

Campaigning in South Carolina on Friday, Fiorina said she “absolutely” stands by her criticism of Planned Parenthood. She accused the women’s health organization – it’s also the nation’s largest abortion provider – of pushing “propaganda” against her while being “aided and abetted by the media.”

Fiorina has brushed off the facts surrounding her claim as a “technicality.” Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, survived this week the latest attempt of conservatives in Congress to cut off its federal funding and accused her of lying.

The flap began at Republicans’ Sept. 16 presidential debate, when Fiorina brought up widely circulated videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists and showing Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue to researchers.

“As regards Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape — I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes,” Fiorina said. “Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

That detailed scene does not occur in the videos, produced by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress. One of the videos, still posted on the center’s YouTube channel as of Friday, shows a woman identified as an “ex-procurement technician” from a firm other than Planned Parenthood discussing harvesting the brain of an aborted fetus.

As the woman talks, the video cuts away to show an image that producers have confirmed is stock footage of a stillborn baby miscarried in a hospital after 19 weeks of gestation.

After being questioned multiple times about her claims, Fiorina’s campaign released an online ad that again includes the image, with the claim that “Carly Fiorina won the debate. Now come the false attacks.”

This, despite the fact that the baby was miscarried, not aborted, and that the image comes from a hospital procedure unconnected with Planned Parenthood.

Fiorina has pushed back in multiple interviews. Often, the crux of her argument, beyond sticking to her incorrect description of the anti-Planned Parenthood videos, is that she has not misrepresented the group’s actions and that the larger issue is about the character of the nation.

“They’re trying to have a conversation about a technicality about a videotape,” Fiorina said last week at Christian women’s health center in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The center, which does not provide abortions, has become a popular stop for Republican presidential candidates. “The character of this nation cannot be about butchery of babies for body parts,” Fiorina said.

At another South Carolina stop, she linked liberals’ support for abortion rights with environmental regulations. “They are perfectly prepared to destroy other people’s jobs and livelihoods and communities in order to protect fish and frogs and flies,” she said. “But they do not think a 17-week-old, a 20-week-old, a 24-week-old is worth saving. This, ladies and gentlemen, is hypocrisy.”

Yet when asked specifically about the video, she’s never budged. On NBC’s Sept. 27 edition of “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Fiorina if she would admit to “exaggerating” the scene in question. “No, not at all,” she said. “That scene absolutely does exist.” But she has not produced the footage and even anti-abortion activists say it does not exist as she has described it.

On Friday, she asked in South Carolina, “Why is it Planned Parenthood cannot and will not deny late-term abortions are being performed for the purposes of obtaining brains and other body parts? … It’s happening.”

Planned Parenthood doesn’t dispute that fetal tissue is sometimes taken for research, but notes the practice is legal and payments only cover expenses of the process.

“In two states, Planned Parenthood helps patients who want to donate tissue for fetal tissue research, following clear guidance that goes well above and beyond the legal requirements in this area,” said spokesman Eric Ferrero, referring to California and Washington. “This work is not about ‘harvesting’ or ‘selling’ or ‘profiting’ – it is about helping facilitate patients’ wishes to support medical research that can help treat and cure serious diseases.”

Recent polling suggests Fiorina’s criticism of Planned Parenthood is out of step with the wider electorate but in line with conservatives. Pew Research Center found in a Sept. 22-27 poll that 60 percent of adults in the U.S. wanted a budget deal to maintain funding for Planned Parenthood. But among Republicans, 66 percent said any budget deal must eliminate the money – 78 percent among those who identify as “conservative Republicans.”

The post Fiorina makes claims on Planned Parenthood a campaign centerpiece appeared first on PBS NewsHour.