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July 25, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
Pharmacy giant CVS Caremark Corp. and UCLA Health System are teaming up to treat patients in 11 in-store clinics in Los Angeles County as one remedy to a growing shortage of primary care physicians. Under this arrangement, UCLA physicians will serve as medical directors overseeing 11 CVS MinuteClinics and the two entities will share electronic medical records. CVS runs nearly 600 MinuteClinics nationwide inside its stores where nurse practitioners treat routine illnesses and provide physicals and vaccinations with no appointment necessary seven days a week.
July 11, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
Federally funded community health centers perform equal to or better than private practices on a number of quality-care measures, according to a new study. The results demonstrate that community health centers are capable of providing high-quality care to an often complex patient population. When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into full effect in 2014, the government hopes it will add somewhere between 29 million and 32 million Americans to the rolls of the insured, many of whom will receive their care through a large expansion of Medicaid.
July 6, 2012 | By David Horsey
In the mid-1980s when I was a graduate student in England, my parents came to visit and my mother ended up getting a first-hand look at socialized medicine. It was my dad and mom's one-and-only trip to Europe -- a very big deal -- and I wanted to show them as much as I could. We crossed the English Channel to France and drove to see the cathedral at Chartres. The first night there, Mom slipped and sprained her ankle. By morning, she couldn't walk and was in need of a doctor. We ended up at a hospital where, with no wait at all, she got X-rays and a friendly, highly competent female doctor checked her out and wrapped her leg.  As we were leaving, my mother asked where she should pay the bill.
June 29, 2012 | By Esmeralda Bermudez and Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
It was a historic moment for the nation's healthcare system, but a routine one at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center's emergency department. Patients packed the waiting room suffering from chest pains, skin infections, stomach cramps and headaches — the least urgent cases waiting up to 12 hours to be seen. Dr. Mark Richman, the county hospital's assistant medical director, was upbeat as he walked through the department Thursday. The Supreme Court had just upheld healthcare reform that guaranteed most of Olive View's poorest patients would be eligible for medical coverage.
May 29, 2012 | By Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times
Life is shorter for African Americans in the High Desert. Antelope Valley residents of all races face higher mortality rates than in the rest of Los Angeles County, but the rates for black residents are even more pronounced. African Americans in the region die four years sooner than black residents elsewhere in the county and 10 years earlier than county residents in general, according to the most recent health statistics. As the number of African Americans living in cities like Palmdale and Lancaster continues to grow, county officials acknowledge that they have yet to investigate the causes and consequences of lowered life expectancy.
May 24, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Is the routine PSA test to screen for prostate cancer going to fade away now that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended against it for men of all ages? The signs are maybe not, according to a survey of primary care physicians done by Dr. Craig E. Pollack and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The survey was done in November, after the task force's draft recommendations had been released but before the final ones were published earlier this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine . In the survey, 125 primary care physicians and nurse practitioners affiliated with Johns Hopkins responded to a questionnaire about their approach to PSA screening.
April 6, 2012 | By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
The economic downturn was tough on the urban core of many U.S. cities. But Pomona got a booster shot from an unlikely source: Western University of Health Sciences. The institution constructed a new clinic and a classroom building as part of a $110-million expansion. The school had previously rehabilitated existing retail space in Pomona's once-blighted center. Its Health Professions Center, for example, is a renovated former Buffum's department store. Nearby, a building that once held a JCPenney houses the University Research Center.
November 10, 2011 | By Duke Helfand and Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is exploring ways to expand the kinds of healthcare services it offers at dozens of stores across the country, potentially setting the stage to turn the nation's largest retailer into a major primary care service provider and drive down costs for millions of Americans. The Arkansas retail giant is looking to partner with outside healthcare companies to treat and manage a range of serious medical conditions — including HIV, diabetes, arthritis and clinical depression — at 140 store clinics nationwide.
August 4, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, The Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots Blog
Antidepressants, now the third-most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the United States, are routinely offered to patients with vague complaints of fatigue, pain and malaise but who are not classified as suffering from a mental disorder by the physician who recommends the treatment, says a new study. And among primary care provider as well as specialists who are not psychiatrists, the practice of prescribing these medications without diagnosing depression is rising steeply, the study finds.
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