Community advocates say Southeast San Diego is a healthcare desert. They want to see more urgent care centers available to the residents of Encanto and Valencia Park. Meanwhile, doctors are questioning the motives in Palomar Health’s contract change. Plus, a group of local breast cancer survivors are helping to heal the pain associated with mastectomy surgery, one stitch at a time.
Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Monday, July 5th.
More Urgent Care Wanted For Southeast San Diego
More on that next, but first… let’s do the headlines….
A brush fire in Santa Ysabel is now at 76% containment. That’s the latest update from last night from Cal Fire San Diego. The fire was reported on Saturday morning as a motor home that had caught fire along state route 79. The flames then spread into nearby vegetation. So far it’s burned 173 acres and forced some evacuations in the area. Cal fire officials say no other structures have been damaged.
California public health officials pleaded on Friday for people to get vaccinated as the state’s largest county reported hundreds of new COVID-19 infections. Los Angeles County reported more than 500 new cases in a single day, the most since mid-April. Overall the state has seen a 17% increase in the daily caseloads in the last two weeks since covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.
City of San Diego administrative offices will be closed today in observance of July 4th. Curbside trash, recyclables and yard waste will be collected on a normal schedule for this week customers served by the city’s Environmental Services Department. Residents in other areas should check with their waste hauler for holiday service schedules.
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The pandemic laid bare persisting health inequities here in San Diego. Race and Equity reporter Cristina Kim has the story of one man’s efforts to expand healthcare services in Southeast San Diego.
We were trying to find just an urgent care center to get her breathing properly and that kind of thing.
Barry Pollard still remembers how helpless he felt watching his stepdaughter gasp for air in the midst of an asthma attack. The Valencia Park resident rushed to his local clinic only to find it was closed because it was a Saturday/ And there were no nearby urgent care centers.
I was thoroughly upset that we didn’t have it…especially with all the medical entities that are in here.
That was four years ago. Ever since, he’s been trying to get more urgent care centers in Southeast San Diego.
People don’t even know they deserve an urgent care. They are so used to driving out this community that it’s not an issue, right. Until you are single mom jumping on the bus or the trolly to take your kid out to one these outlying health facilities.”
There is a void. We talk about food deserts there’s a health care desert in this community.
Dr. Suzanne Afflalo is a retired Kaiser doctor. She says the need for urgent care is particularly acute in places like Encanto and Valencia Park….all of which are predominantly Black and Latino…..
By not having access to healthcare and good healthcare in the community that you live in your chronic disease….. Get worse.
Pollard says the solution to expanding care in Southeast San Diego is by getting lots of different institutions like San Ysidro Health and UCSD…to work together and shoulder any added costs.
The cost would be steep but San Ysidro Heath is open to working on it, says its CEO Kevin Mattson.
We’re happy to collaborate with the urban collaborative and help figure out how we can solve this issue in the community … We are happy to have that discussion.
Pollard’s organization is called Urban Collaborative Project. He says change needs to happen soon..
Everybody is jumping on the equity bandwagon. Put up or shut up.
Cristina Kim. KPBS News.
That story from KPBS race and equity reporter Cristina Kim. San Ysidro Health and the Urban Collaborative recently set up a meeting for later this month to start the conversation.
Doctors at Palomar Medical Center are upset over a new contract.
Palomar Health is the North County’s largest healthcare provider and doctors say it is prioritizing profit over patient care. KPBS’s Alexander Nguyen (WYNN) has more.
Vituity has been providing Palomar Health with doctors for its hospitals for years.
Now, Palomar is going with a new company.
The hospital system says the change will help improve patient care.
The doctors who work there aren’t too sure. The new company is called Emergent Medical Associates or E-M-A.
Dr. Sabiha (sab-BEE-hah) Pasha is Palomar Medical Center Escondido’s Chief of Staff.
“They brought a model staffing model that would require each physician to see 25 patients a day in a 12 hour shift. So you do the math on that — less than 20 minutes per patient.”
For the most part, hospitals in California are not allowed to directly employ doctors.
Instead, they go through a third party.
Palomar says the change was made with patient care in mind.
In a statement, Palomar CEO Diane Hansen says:
“EMA’s proposal allows us to retain all our staff, plus reinvest saved resources to upgrade patient care.”
Palomar says the changes will only affect doctors working exclusively at the hospital.
It does not affect family doctors or specialists.
The new contract goes into effect August FIRST.
Dr. Pasha says the majority of doctors are not planning on signing with the new company.
California’s new budget includes billions in new, ongoing spending. That has people concerned what happens when state revenues take a dip, which they no doubt will. KQED’s Katie Orr has the story.
Starting the first of July, Californians with outstanding student loan debt have new rights and protections. KQED politics editor Scott Shafer reports.
That was KQED’s politics editor Scott Shaffer. Officials say they hope those lawsuits won’t be necessary.
Coming up….a group of local breast cancer survivors are helping to heal the pain associated with mastectomy surgery.
“All women’s clothing is designed to accommodate the bust contour. So if that is gone, your clothes don’t fit right.” (:10)
The lightweight, wearable and free solution they provide to all survivors. That’s next, just after the break.
Whether a cup size A, B, D, or any letter of the alphabet – losing breasts to cancer can be a shattering experience. KPBS’s Maya Trabulsi recently met a group of tight-knit women, living at a retirement home in Escondido, who are lightening the pain associated with mastectomy – one loving stitch at a time.
NATS: It’s like riding a bicycle, you don’t forget.
VO: In her little cottage at Redwood Terrace Retirement Home, Pat Anderson’s creativity hasn’t slowed down over the years. After a long career as a textile designer, she still enjoys making yarn by hand on her homemade spinning wheel.
NATS: “And everything you wear starts with this process.”
VO: Her work, both old and new, is strewn on her couch.
NAT: “This is the very first thing I ever made.”
VO: As her friend Pat Moller admires her handmade creations from the 70’s.
NATS: “Did you see this hat, pat? How neat.”
NATS: wind chimes
VO: The two Pats call this tranquil home in Escondido “The Magic Place,” as it has become the setting of their new friendship, as well as a surprising grassroots movement called SBW.
PAT ANDERSON: “And that stands for Sisterhood of the Boobless Wonders.”
VO: The Sisterhood of the Boobless Wonders [They] are breast cancer survivors and part of a trio of knitters who have literally taken comfort into their own hands – in the shape of hand-knitted bust forms, aptly called Busters.
PAT ANDERSON “So, busters and here they are. They’re nothing more than a specially designed accessory to help restore the feminine contour and a sense of feminine dignity.”
VO: In the 6 years since Pat made the first prototype, the Busters project has helped more than 12 hundred women across the country who have undergone mastectomy surgery.
PAT ANDERSON 647: “All women’s clothing is designed to accommodate the bust contour. So if that is gone, your clothes don’t fit right and you end up feeling dumpy and unkempt.”
VO: Pat says, most of all, it shows. Until now, the only official solutions offered to patients were surgical reconstruction or medical-grade silicone prosthetics which can be heavy. Busters, on the other hand…
PAT ANDERSONThis weighs less than an ounce, they’re soft, they’re washable, they’re natural and normal looking. “I’m still wearing the original prototype.)”
VO: At first glance, Busters may look simple…
PAT ANDERSON “These are tricky to make.”
VO: Pat says there is a very specific knitting technique that involves the direction and grain of the yarn. And Pat has proudly patented the design.
PAT We’ve got a contour here but it has to be flat on the back and this has to fit against the body.”
VO: What makes them even more unique, unlike prosthetics, is that they are customizable in size by simply adding or removing filling.
PAT ANDERSON: “All you do is pull out some of the filling and you can make them almost a full cup size larger or smaller.”
VO: Every last detail has been considered, including the colors.
PAT ANDERSON: “These are accessories. They’re not fake boobs or prosthetics, and the light, bright, cheerful colors help women remember that they are breast cancer survivors, not victims.
NAT 678: “But look at what you’re doing as a little old lady.”
VO: Each pair takes about 8 hours to knit. It’s a real labor of love…so Pat Moller stepped in to help.
PAT ANDERSON: “She is my right hand man.” OR “They get the Pats mixed up, I don’t know.” OR “My daughter calls us Pat to the power of 2.”
PAT MOLLER: “She happened to be in front of me in the buffet line. And I said, ‘if you need any help knitting, I would be happy to’.”
VO: Pat Moller is in charge of knitting D and double D cup sizes.
PAT ANDERSON “And she’s doing the biggest sizes. So, you know, she’s a good knitter.”
NAT: “Hey, Berniece, I wanted to ask you…What do you think of something like this, color wise?
VO: When fellow resident Berniece Dufour found a lump on her breast, as a former nurse, she took a very pragmatic approach.
BERNIECE DUFOUR 663 10:39:50.15 “I didn’t want any nonsense. I said, just lop it off. Seriously, that’s what I said.”
VO: Medicare covered the cost of the silicone prosthetic she holds in her hand, which usually costs more than $200 dollars per breast.
BERNIECE DUFOUR “It was heavy. I weighed it on my postal scale. It weighs two pounds. And it was hot in the summer and it could even be cold in the winter. So, you know, it wasn’t most comfortable, but that’s what they had.” (Dufour wore the breast for 7 years before she discovered Busters. Now she says, the prosthetic just sits in a box).
DUFOUR: “If you compare this to a Buster, I don’t think anyone would choose this.”
Me: “How many years did you wear that?”
Berniece: “About 7 years.”
Me: “The look in your eyes was very telling when you said that.”
Berniece: “Yep, it is a long time.”
VO: Since she was introduced to Busters, she says this breast sits in a box.
BERNIECE DUFOUR “ had no choice. Now, I have a much better choice and I’m sticking with it.”
VO: And hundreds of other women have also made the choice to stick with Busters, which, by the way, are free of charge to any survivor. A basketful of thank you notes with gratitude from recipients, usually comes with donations that go toward sponsoring another woman’s pair. From one survivor to another.
NATS: “There is life after breast cancer.”
VO: As for Pat Anderson, In a career that dates back more than 50 years, she says Busters is her final project.
PAT ANDERSON: “How many almost eighty nine year old women can say that they’re still doing something that makes a difference?”
VO: And much like the 60/40 acrylic/nylon blend chosen for its strength and softness, these survivors exude that same resilience, creating a product that is built to last…down to the final thoughtful stitch.
VO: Maya Trabulsi, KPBS News.
That story from KPBS Maya Trabulsi. And by the way Busters are free for any breast cancer survivor who would like a pair. If you want a free pair of Busters or if you can help with some knitting, you can email Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s it for the podcast today. KPBS Midday Edition is airing a special today, but they will be back tomorrow at noon on KPBS radio. In the meantime, you can still catch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.