Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

Game, Set, Match Day: Med students in LA learn where they'll spend residencies

Match Day - Veronica Ramirez

José Martinez/KPCC

Moment of truth: On Match Day, Veronica Ramirez, a fourth-year medical student at USC's Keck Medical School, opens the envelope that contains the note that will tell her where she'll spend her residency.

Match Day – Crowd

José Martinez/KPCC

Fourth-year medical students from USC gather with their families and friends gather on Friday at USC's Keck Medical School campus for Match Day, when the students learned where they'll spend their medical residencies.


Think of the NBA Draft, but then replace all those burly basketball players with fourth-year medical students.

That's Match Day, one of the biggest days in a med student's life. Students wait anxiously to collect an envelope with a piece of paper that says which medical residency they've been "matched to." Match Day was last Friday, and for medical students across the country, the day was a mix of excitement and dread.

"I'm about to throw up right now," said Andy Gausepohl, a fourth-year student at USC's Keck Medical School and a former distance runner on the Trojan track team. "I think I slept maybe two hours last night."

Gausepohl wasn't alone.

"I'm a little nervous," said Veronica Ramirez, one of his classmates, with a halfhearted laugh. "I didn't get much sleep last night, just thinking about the moment when we all open that envelope and find out where we're going to be going for the next three-plus years."

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Rheumatoid arthritis is expensive burden for American workers, employers: study

arthritis, hands

Tim Hamilton/Flickr Creative Commons

One symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is joint inflammation and pain which can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.

Rheumatoid arthritis hasn't gotten "the public health attention it deserves," argues a new study, highlighting the heavy cost imposed upon American workers who live with the condition.

The research, which appears in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found that compared to workers who don't have the autoimmune disease:

  • Workers with rheumatoid arthritis tend to incur about $5,200 more in annual health care costs – each.
  • They also each pay an average of $1,500 more for prescription drugs every year.
  • Workers with R.A. tend to be absent from work about three-and-a-half more days a year.

Overall, the report said people with R.A. cost their employers across the U.S. about $5.8 billion a year more than people who don't have R.A., and account for about 4 million more lost days of work every year.

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Obama Administration: 71 million Americans became eligible for free preventive care in 2011 and 2012

Mercer 1771

Patricia Nazario/KPCC

An exam room in the Charles Drew Urgent Care Clinic in South Los Angeles. The Obama Administration announced Monday that 71 million Americans received free preventive care in 2011 and 2012 thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The Obama Administration is touting new data that shows an additional 71 million privately-insured Americans became eligible for at least one free preventive care service in 2011 and 2012 due to the Affordable Care Act.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (OASPE), which is within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, said in a report that those services include procedures like colonoscopies, Pap smears, mammograms, well-child visits and flu shots.

Health care reform provisions mandated that patients with private insurance had access to those services without cost-sharing or having to pay a co-pay.

In California, more than 8 million people, including 2.1 million children, became eligible for expanded care.

OASPE cited a Kaiser Permanente survey which indicated last year that more than four in 10 employees in the U.S. were covered by employer-backed insurance that expanded its list of covered preventive services.

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South LA med students offered residencies on Match Day

Obama Executive Order Lifts Strict Limits On Stem Cell Research

Darren Hauck/Getty Images

Charles Drew University and USC medical students were among the 17,400-plus nationwide to be matched to their residencies on Friday, where they will spend the next several years training as a physician.

Sixteen fourth-year medical students from Charles R. Drew University and 157 from USC were told where they'd be spending the next several years as a resident on Friday, in a national annual event known as Match Day.

That's when fourth-years are "matched" to their residencies, which will mark the end of medical school and the beginning of their work as an actual doctor. Residents train in the medical field under the supervision of a physician for up to seven years, depending on their specialty. Following the successful completion of a residency, they'll be eligible to become board-certified.

The National Resident Matching Program reported that across the U.S., the number of medical students who registered to match in 2013 topped 40,000 for the first time ever,  and resulted in more than 17,400 matches. The program also noted that the number who chose primary care rose by nearly 400 compared to 2012.

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The high cost of rheumatoid arthritis and why you've got a hangover: In health news today

Brooklyn Brewery Expands As Craft Beer Industry Continues To Grow

Mario Tama/Getty Images

There's a science behind hangovers – not that anyone in the midst of a hangover would care to hear about that.

In today's health news:

The average yearly cost of a worker with rheumatoid arthritis to her or his employer is about $8,700, says a new study – compared to about $3,500 per worker who doesn't have the autoimmune condition. HealthDay reports that people with R.A. average about three-and-a-half more absent days from work compared to their non-arthritic counterparts, which contributes to the collective $5.8 billion that the disease costs employers every year.

Drivers who text at the wheel might as well be driving drunk, say researchers of a small study, who found that drivers using the mobile devices drove as if they were a quarter over the legal alcohol limit. The Telegraph says according to the study's authors, hands-free devices can also put drivers at risk, but "should be allowed" if they can be regulated properly.

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