VENTURA COUNTY: Ranks Best for State in Prenatal Care
A report from the California Department of Health lists Ventura County as the most successful provider of first trimester prenatal care in the state, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the report, 88.4% of women in the county sought prenatal care during their first trimester of pregnancy in 1998. Local health officials said that the county's network of public and private clinics "eases the way for poor and hard-to-reach women" who may lack transportation, education or child care, allowing them to more easily access needed care. "A lot of our patients walk (to the clinics). We just try to make it easy and seamless to be seen at the clinics. It's word of mouth," Dr. Robert Lefkowitz, director of obstetrics for the county, said (Surman, Los Angeles Times, 10/12). Don Taylor, acting chief of epidemiology at the California Department of Health, said that a community's income level is often a key factor in the number of women seeking prenatal care. But the county also credited the establishment of eligibility workers -- employees who handle Medi-Cal paperwork and physician reimbursements -- at each clinic as a factor in the high rating. Ventura's rating of 88.4% almost reaches the 90% mark established as the county's goal during the Healthy People 2000 campaign (Montero, Ventura County Star, 10/12). Ventura County also had the third-lowest teen birth rate in the state for those under 15 and the ninth-lowest in very low birth weight, although it finished ninth highest in the number of caesarean births (Los Angeles Times, 10/12).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.