East San Gabriel Valley Has Higher Rates of Chronic Diseases Than County, State, Report Finds
East San Gabriel Valley residents have higher rates of many chronic diseases than other Los Angeles County and state residents, according to a 300-page report sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and Citrus Valley Health Partners, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. The "2004 Community Needs Assessment" report examined the health status of residents in 21 East Valley cities.
According to the report, East Valley residents have higher rates of heart disease, pneumonia, influenza, diabetes, liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver than county and state residents overall. In addition, East Valley residents have a higher rate of Alzheimer's disease than other Los Angeles County residents. The three leading causes of death among East Valley residents are heart disease, cancer and stroke, which kill a combined 10,300 residents annually, according to the report.
The report also found that the East Valley populations most likely to receive inadequate health care are low-income residents, the uninsured, families with children, minorities, widows, divorced women and seniors, in large part because of a lack of affordable or no-cost care. Complex paperwork, disorganized medical services, indifference to patient needs, lack of transportation and nurses' and aides' dispositions also constitute barriers to care, according to the report.
Ricardo Calderon of the county Department of Health Services said, "Eighty percent are dying from chronic diseases and 70% are preventable." He added, "There are new health status indicators that show the area's population does not meet national health standards."
Tom McGuiness, senior vice president of community benefits for CVHP, said, "We have balanced the budget on the backs of the poor, and again, the health care and the social needs of the poor and uninsured are so drastic that it makes us look like a Third World country" (Rubin, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 5/16).