California Healthline Highlights Recent County Health Care News
Monterey, Sacramento and San Bernardino counties this week acted on health care-related issues. Summaries appear below.
Monterey County on Tuesday released a report finding that the numbers of deaths in the county associated with heart disease, cancer and diabetes are below statewide averages, but incidences of some sexually transmitted diseases have increased, the Monterey County Herald reports.
The county scored better than the state average on 23 of the 37 indicators for good health, Hugh Stallworth, health officer of the county Health Department, said.
The report, called the "Health Profile 2005: Trends" report, found that during the past 10 years, syphilis cases significantly decreased, but cases of other STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, increased. The county scored worse than the state average in 13 areas, including the number of residents who have health insurance, the percentage of overweight people and the percentage of women who do not seek care during the first trimester of pregnancy.
In addition, Stallworth estimated that at least 50,000 county residents have dormant or latent tuberculosis infections. Stallworth also said more younger people are smoking cigarettes, compared with 10 years ago, a change that could lead to an increase of lung cancer patients (Livernois, Monterey County Herald, 2/8).
The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 to continue providing a health insurance premium subsidy to 5,700 eligible county retirees, the Sacramento Bee reports. Supervisors also said they will negotiate with union leaders to phase out the subsidy program by developing health savings accounts for future retirees.
Currently, county retirees who worked for more than 25 years may qualify for a health insurance subsidy of up to $244 per month. County officials estimate that 8,000 of the county's 14,000 active workers will not qualify for the subsidy.
The subsidy program will cost the county about $14 million through 2007 (Lin, Sacramento Bee, 2/8).
San Bernardino County officials are revising a lawsuit challenging California marijuana laws and soon plan to file it in San Diego Superior Court, according to County Counsel Ron Reitz, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Officials expect the lawsuit to be combined with a similar challenge San Diego County filed last week.
Medical marijuana advocates on Tuesday protested the lawsuit and urged the county Board of Supervisors to withdraw it (Gang, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/8).