Report Finds High Disease Rates, Health Disparities in San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley has "high rates of disease, poor access to care and a dearth of health care providers," according to a report released this month at the third annual Central California Health Conference in Fresno, the Fresno Bee reports. The report, titled "Health in the Heartland: The Crisis Continues," examined the health of residents of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties. The report found that the San Joaquin Valley's population is increasing at a higher rate than the rest of the state and that health resources in the area are not meeting the growing demand. The report found that:
- One in 13 San Joaquin Valley residents ages 18 and older has diabetes, compared with one in 17 statewide;
- One in six valley residents is uninsured;
- Fresno County has the second-highest asthma rate in the state at 17%;
- "Serious health disparities" exist within counties and even cities in the valley, with "glaring differences" in health care access for many residents, according to the Bee;
- The valley has 30% fewer doctors than the statewide average, with 47.9 physicians per 100,000 people;
- The valley leads the state in teenage births; and
- The valley has high rates of heart disease, deaths from cancer, infant mortality and late access to prenatal care.
The report was funded by the California Endowment and the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at California State University-Fresno (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 2/5). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.