April is an Ideal Time to Focus on Health

The weather is warming up, making it an ideal time to get healthy by getting active outdoors and taking advantage of the in-season fruits and vegetables. As further inspiration, a slew of campaigns focusing on health management through exercise, diet, and regular health care are happening this month. Here are a few to get you started:

  • April is Defeat Diabetes Month, sponsored by the Defeat Diabetes Foundation. As part of the campaign, the Foundation is challenging participants to track how many activities and good habits they candevelop this month. The website www.defeatdiabetes.org has an activity calendar of daily suggestions to stay active and eat well; for example, plant your own garden, try papaya and asparagus, go hiking, visit your doctor for a check-up, and explore a wildlife refuge.
  • According to volunteer eye health and safety organization Prevent Blindness, more women than men have eye disease. In an effort to educate women about preserving their vision, Prevent Blindness has designated this month as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month. From using cosmetics safely and wearing UV-blocking sunglasses to making regular optometry visits and learning about your family history of possible eye disease, there are many ways to take care of your vision. Find out more about the event and women’s eye care by visiting the Prevent Blindness website at www.preventblindness.org.
  • What is occupational therapy? Find out during National Occupational Therapy Month, founded by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The event recognizes the important role occupational therapists play in helping people return to everyday activities after injuries, assisting children with disabilities participate in school and social situations, and enabling the elderly to stay as independent as possible. Learn more about occupational therapy and the month long celebration at the AOTA website, www.aota.org.

To verify the license of your healthcare providers, visit the appropriate board’s website: Medical Board of California at www.mbc.ca.gov, Board of Optometry at www.optometry.ca.gov, and the Board of Occupational Therapy at www.bot.ca.gov.

Midwives Move to Medi-Cal

Midwife_Cvr2Affordable access to midwives’ services—and, consequently, home births and birth center deliveries—will soon get easier.

Last week, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 407 (Morrell) into law, allowing licensed midwives to provide comprehensive services to Medi-Cal patients. The new law means a greater number of low-income women can choose to use a midwife and, as a result, have access to a range of prenatal and postpartum support. Services can include nutrition assessments, breastfeeding counseling, childbirth and parenting education, and mental health services.

In addition to allowing for more provider choices to low-income women, the law should save the State money. According to the author’s comments on the bill, using a licensed midwife for a home or birth center delivery can save up to 80 percent compared to the cost of a hospital birth. Also, “Increasing the number of comprehensive perinatal Medi-Cal providers alleviates wait times and access issues within the overall perinatal health delivery system, allowing women to receive timely and personalized care.”

A California-licensed midwife is a health care practitioner who can attend to normal childbirth cases and provide prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum care, according to the Medical Board of California (Board). In order for pregnancy and childbirth to be defined as normal, certain conditions must exist, such as a single fetus, absence of disease during pregnancy, and no pre-existing maternal disease of condition that would affect pregnancy.

For more information about midwives and their services and licensing requirements, read the article “California Midwives: Delivering Health Care at Home,” in the summer issue of DCA’s Consumer Connection magazine, and visit the Board’s website at www.mbc.ca.gov.