Health & Fitness

Emergency rooms busy with Medi-Cal patients

One of the selling points for the Affordable Care Act was that patients with insurance would have primary care doctors to take care of them and less reason to use expensive and overcrowded hospital emergency rooms. As the second year of the health law unfolds, ERs in the central San Joaquin Valley are busier than previous years seeing patients – most of whom have insurance.

Community

Near-end open enrollment event to take place Friday in Merced

Merced residents who have not yet signed up for coverage through Covered California and plan to do so before the Feb. 15 deadline, can stop by the Merced Senior Community Center between 4 and 9 p.m. Friday. According to organizers, seven insurance agents will be available to answer questions and enroll customers.

Health & Fitness

Atwater Medical Group loses patients due to closing of local HMO network

Blue Shield has decided to close its Merced Direct Contract HMO, a network that had been around since Jan. 1, 2003, and that served mainly active and retired public employees. The network had contracted with Atwater Medical Group for several years, according to the medical group’s office staff. However, with the disbanding of Merced Direct Contract HMO, patients were switched to providers with AllCare Independent Physicians Association, represented by about 500 private doctors in Merced and Stanislaus counties.

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