Placer County Partners with Sutter Health To Address Homelessness, Accepts $1 Million Grant for Homeless Housing

Source: Scott Sandow, County of Placer  |  2016-12-06

Placer County will receive a $1 million grant from Sutter Health to help house its chronically homeless population under a grant agreement approved today by the Placer County Board of Supervisors.

The funds will be used to support Placer County’s Whole Person Care Pilot program, which is designed to better coordinate physical health, behavioral health and social services for high users of multiple care systems who have poor health outcomes - and to increase their access to housing and supportive services. The Sutter Health grant will support the development of permanent housing for program participants with the purchase of housing units and by offering rental subsidies.

“Ending homeless in Placer County continues to be a high priority, and we are committed to being innovative and creative in seeking solutions that benefit not only those facing homelessness but everyone in our community,” said Robert Weygandt, chairman of the Placer County Board of Supervisors. “By partnering with Sutter Health, we’ll secure additional resources to jumpstart our Whole Person Care Pilot and provide some of our most vulnerable residents the security they need to get back on their feet."

The Whole Person Care Pilot will serve up to 50 homeless people each year. With the grant, Placer expects to provide housing for between 15-20 people a year.

“Every day we see growing numbers of homeless in our region, and see the toll homelessness takes on individuals and our communities,” said Sutter Health Valley Area President James Conforti. “At Sutter Health, we are working to create a regional, data-driven response to chronic homelessness by working with government, businesses and service providers to support projects that offer low- and no-barrier housing options for the most vulnerable populations, like the Whole Person Care Pilot program."

The grant is part of a larger strategic initiative, “Getting to Zero,” being led by Sutter Health to align public, private and philanthropic resources in Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties in support of a Housing First response to homelessness – a federal strategy that calls for low or-no-barrier access to permanent housing.

“As Sutter Health has met with local leaders and experts to explore best practices for addressing homelessness in our region, we’ve identified immediate opportunities for action and as a result have already begun to commit matching funds to support key elements that will be a critical part of our campaign,” Conforti explained. “We are having positive and productive discussions with elected officials throughout our region and look forward to engaging the entire community in this effort in 2017.”

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CDPH Offers Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-12-01

With the holiday season approaching, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reminds consumers to use safe food preparation and storage measures to prevent foodborne illness. Bacteria that can be found in foods such as meat and poultry may cause illness if they are insufficiently cooked, inadequately cooled or improperly handled.

“We can help ensure that foodborne illnesses don’t ruin our holidays by properly preparing and handling meat, poultry and other foods,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

About 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are related to foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Foodborne diseases can be prevented by: washing hands with soap and warm water before and after food preparation, and especially after handling raw foods; cleaning all work surfaces, utensils and dishes with hot soapy water and rinsing them with hot water after each use; cooking food thoroughly and refrigerating adequately between meals.

Symptoms of foodborne disease can include diarrhea, which may be bloody, vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever. Most infected people recover from foodborne illnesses within a week. Some, however, may develop complications that require hospitalization. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for potentially life-threatening complications.

Additional information about food safety is available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). Consumers can also access the national Partnership for Food Safety Education’s Fight BAC! Website

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New Statewide Plan Aims to Dramatically Reduce New HIV Infections

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-11-17

California has released a new surveillance, prevention and care plan designed to dramatically reduce new HIV infections in the state, with the goal of eventually getting that number to zero. The “Getting to Zero” plan is a blueprint for state and local health departments and community organizations working to achieve a more coordinated statewide response to HIV.

“Thanks to better treatment and prevention options, new testing technology and better access to health care, California has reached a point where we can begin to envision the possibility of zero new HIV infections,” said California Department of Public Health Director State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “In a state as large as ours, it will take an incredible amount of coordination, innovation and work to make this vision a reality. This report lays the foundation for achieving our goals.”

The “Getting to Zero” plan was developed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in coordination with local health officials, other state departments, medical and non-medical providers, and HIV community organizations and planning bodies. The report set four goals to be achieved by 2021. The four goals are to reduce new HIV infections, increase access to care, reduce disparities in underserved communities and achieve a more coordinated statewide response to the HIV epidemic.

To achieve those goals, the report outlines 15 strategies and 12 key objectives that will be monitored on an annual basis by CDPH’s Office of AIDS. Some of the strategies include improving HIV testing and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) utilization, enhancing availability of HIV care and increasing community collaboration and involvement.

“This comprehensive plan reinforces the state’s ongoing commitment to address the HIV epidemic,” said Dr. Karen Mark, Chief of the Office of AIDS at CDPH. “This commitment includes supporting people living with HIV, reducing the rate of new infections, and recognizing that not all communities have been equally impacted by this epidemic, and making those most at risk a high priority.”

For more information see

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Placer County Health Clinic in Auburn Transitions to Western Sierra Medical Clinic November 10

Source: Robert Miller, County of Placer  |  2016-11-03

For more than 30 years, Placer County has provided medical services to low income, rural residents. On Nov. 10, the Auburn medical clinic will close its doors, transferring patients to a new, non-profit provider.

Western Sierra Medical Clinic will now provide medical and dental services in place of the county’s clinic. At this time, dental services are only provided in North Lake Tahoe. In July, the county’s board of supervisors approved the closing of county facilities and transitioning of patients to Western Sierra’s health centers. The transition for services in Auburn is effective Nov. 10. The transition date in Tahoe is still to be determined.

Western Sierra is up and running with a new health center location in Auburn and has plans to open a second Auburn health center in December. The county is working with Western Sierra on transitioning the operations of the Tahoe medical and dental clinics, which will remain in their current site.

“We were looking for a way to provide the same or an even better level of service in a more cost effective manner,” said Health and Human Services Director Jeffrey Brown. “Many California counties have moved to a community health center model, which offers potential advantages such as lower expenses, enhanced reimbursement rates and greater flexibility and nimbleness to grow and expand services.”

Placer County’s clinics had been funded in part by Medi-Cal, a federal program administered by the state. However, reimbursement levels have not kept up with the growing costs per patient, requiring increasing amounts of county funding.

Western Sierra was established in 1974 to serve Sierra County and has since expanded to remote regions of Nevada and Yuba counties, including services for the homeless at Hospitality House in Grass Valley. Western Sierra is also offering pediatric services. Its plans to add services for Placer County residents, include assistance for the elderly, specialty OB-GYN care, integrated behavioral health, substance use disorder treatment and pain management. They are also working with health plans and local specialists to provide ophthalmology, orthopedics, podiatry, gastroenterology and chiropractic services in the future.

The new Auburn clinic is at 12183 Locksley Lane, Suite 106. The main phone number is 530-274-9762. The new patient coordinator can be reached at 530-273-5469. The medical and dental clinics in Tahoe will remain in the same location, 8665 Salmon Ave in Kings Beach. Their telephone number is 530-546-1970.

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CDPH Warns Consumers about Risks of Wearing Decorative Contact Lenses

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-10-27

Decorative contact lenses are intended to temporarily change the appearance of the eye, but do not correct vision. Advertised as color, cosmetic, fashion and theatrical contact lenses, they are especially popular around Halloween.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today warned consumers about the risks associated with wearing decorative contact lenses.

“Wearing any kind of contact lens, including decorative lenses, without proper consultation of an eye care professional can cause serious injury,” Dr. Smith said. “The risks include infection, ulcers, decreased vision, cuts or scratches to the surface of the eye, itchiness or redness. If these conditions are left untreated, the injuries can progress rapidly. In severe cases, blindness and eye loss can occur.”

The sale of contact lenses without a prescription is illegal. Only Board of Optometry licensed optometrists and ophthalmologists are authorized to prescribe and dispense prescription contact lenses. Medical Board of California registered opticians and optical shops are authorized to fill contact lens prescriptions

Decorative contact lenses are intended to temporarily change the appearance of the eye, but do not correct vision. Advertised as color, cosmetic, fashion and theatrical contact lenses, they are especially popular around Halloween. Decorative contact lenses are typically sold at beauty supply and novelty stores.

Consumers who have experienced any injury or illness with decorative contact lenses should contact their health care provider. Consumers can report the illegal sale of decorative contact lenses without a prescription to CDPH’s Food and Drug Branch Hotline at 1-800-495-3232 to initiate an investigation. 

For additional information see

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Health Officials Urge Californians to Remove Standing Water

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-10-14

Rains Can Lead to More Mosquitoes

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith called on the people of California to help reduce the number of mosquitoes by eliminating standing water, especially in areas that have recently had rain and continue to experience warm temperatures.

“Rainy weather can create new breeding grounds for mosquitoes if water is allowed to pool and remain stagnant,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Mosquito season in California peaks in October, making it critically important that Californians take action to empty even small amounts of water from our gardens and yards.”

To help control mosquitoes, check your yard weekly for water-filled containers. Clean and scrub bird baths and pet watering dishes weekly, and dump the water from dishes under potted plants. Contact your local vector control agency if you detect unusual numbers of mosquitoes or you are being bitten during the day.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, an aggressive mosquito that bites during the day, has been detected in 12 California counties. This black-and-white striped mosquito has the potential to transmit Zika and other diseases, such as dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. While the mosquito is especially active two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset, it can also bite during the day. These mosquitoes often enter buildings through unscreened windows and doors and bite people indoors.

To prevent mosquito bites, apply repellents containing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label). During the times mosquitoes are most active you should wear long- sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes. Be sure window and door screens are in good condition to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

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New Standards Set to Improve Quality and Safety for Child Care in California

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  |  2016-09-29

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced new quality and safety standards aimed at providing for higher quality care and safer environments for millions of children, including our youngest learners.

The rule, which implements bipartisan legislation signed by President Obama in 2014, sets higher standards for states, territories and tribes receiving federal funds through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program in important areas such as health and safety requirements; training and professional development for child care providers; and eligibility rules that better support working families.

In 2016, California received $601,597,737 in federal funding through the CCDF program, which each month serves 111,400 children (78,100 families).

Last year, the Federal government provided over $5 billion to states, territories and tribes to help 850,000 working families pay for child care and to support quality improvements for providers that serve our neediest children.  CCDF serves approximately 1.4 million children each month, a majority of whom are children under the age of five.  The new rule protects the health and safety of children, helps parents make more informed consumer choices, supports early child development for our youngest learners, and enhances the quality of child care for all children. 

All children in one of the 370,000 child care settings across the country that participate in the federal child care program – not just those receiving direct child care assistance from CCDBG – will benefit from new health and safety requirements, staff training requirements, and criminal background checks for staff.  In addition, CCDF quality investments can benefit all children in child care regardless of whether or not they receive federal funding.

We know from U.S. Census data that nearly 12.5 million children under the age of five are in some form of child care arrangement each week.  They spend an average of 36 hours per week in care.  Research, particularly in neuroscience, has shown how much this time matters to our youngest children.  Providing safe, high-quality environments that nurture our youngest children’s healthy growth and development will help them grow, thrive, be successful in school, and even find better jobs and earn more as adults.

“Many parents rely on child care programs, and it is important that their children are cared for in safe learning environments with qualified providers,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “These new standards, which are the result of bipartisan legislation, include robust safety, screening, and training procedures to boost quality, empower parents, and ensure that child care programs promote healthy and positive early childhood development.”

The rule strengthens a number of new provisions in the law and provides needed guidance to states, territories and tribes in a number of areas, including:

  • requiring all staff in child care facilities have mandatory criminal background checks;
  • enhancing the health and safety of children through more robust standards for CCDF providers, including requiring initial and ongoing training and professional development on 10 key topics (e.g. First Aid/CPR, medication administration, SIDS prevention) for the early childhood workforce;
  • disseminating information to help parents choose child care, including through an accessible website;
  • devoting more funding to improve quality across all child care settings; and
  • ensuring CCDF programs are monitored at least annually so children are healthy and safe in child care programs.

“This rule continues the historic re-envisioning of the Child Care and Development Fund program and raises the bar so that low-income parents will know their children are safe, learning, and on the path to future success in school and life,” said Linda Smith, deputy assistant secretary for early learning at ACF. “Child care is both an economic support for working parents and an early learning program for millions of children.  It’s critical to our nation’s future that we get this right.”

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