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Woman Hero

Our Unwavering Commitment to Women’s Health Care

After the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established the constitutional right to have an abortion, reproductive freedoms in the United States are now under attack. Since the reversal on June 24, 17 states have banned abortion entirely, while a further seven intend to enact a ban. In Texas, a trigger law will allow abortion providers to be sued for “no less” than $100,000.

In California, along with 21 other often liberal-leaning states, abortion rights remain protected for now. As a response to the Supreme Court’s decision, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order prohibiting patient data from being shared with out-of-state entities seeking to prevent or punish abortions. In November, California voters will have the chance to add abortion as a state constitutional right, ensuring the procedure remains legal. That’s just one reason why it’s so important to vote this year.

AltaMed believes all women deserve the right to safe and equitable health care of their choosing. We remain committed to delivering the very best access to reproductive resources and information. Here’s what’s available for you.

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Family Planning

Family planning services are essential to the health of women, and their children. AltaMed offers birth control, pregnancy testing, and referrals to a fertility specialist, so you can determine if and when you want to start a family. Contraceptive services extend to teens and young adults, and are always confidential.

If you do choose to become a parent, we’re here for you with prenatal care and pediatric services. For over 50 years, we’ve helped families grow healthy.

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Health Education

When it comes to women’s health, access to easy information makes a huge difference. Knowing where to begin can be challenging. AltaMed offers resources on a variety of important health topics, so you can stay informed about your unique health needs.

Learn about:

We also offer community health classes. These lessons cover general health topics including stress management, healthy living for seniors, and more.

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Essential Screenings

As we age, our health needs change and become more complex. Staying current with recommended screenings is an important part of your overall well-being.

Health experts recommend scheduling routine well-woman exams as you reach certain milestones:

  • Age 13-15: Girls have their first Gynecologist appointment
  • Age 21: Women should begin getting Pap tests no less than every three years
  • Age 30: Women should receive HPV-testing Pap Smears once every five years
  • Age 50: Women should have a mammogram every two years (Age 40 for those with a family history of breast cancer)

Early detection of serious diseases is vital. An estimated 12% of women, for example, will develop breast cancer in their lives. Luckily, the 5-year survival rate is 99% when detected early. If you or a loved one has been delaying routine checkups because of the pandemic, now is the time to makean appointment.

Our Commitment to You

Despite a time of serious upheaval around our country, AltaMed remains committed to empowering women on their terms. No matter your health needs, you can find easy, culturally sensitive care close to home. Interested in becoming a patient? Call (888) 499-9303 or click here to get started.

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How Women can Make Sure Their Health is on Track

COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. But neither are breast cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.

We have focused so much of our attention on protecting our families and ourselves from the coronavirus that we may have neglected the vital screenings necessary to protect us from these other potentially deadly diseases.

Health screenings have plummeted since the start of the pandemic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women have foregone or delayed important screenings for breast and cervical cancer. The expectation is this could lead to more cases at later stages.

The same is true for screenings of heart disease, diabetes, and other preventive screening procedures. But it doesn’t have to be that way. AltaMed is going above and beyond to protect your health, including telehealth visits and keeping facilities clean and sterilized according to the highest standards put forth by the CDC.

While some common conditions and issues can be taken care of with a telephone or video chat with your doctor, there are still many preventive treatments and services for women that need to happen in person including routine mammograms, Pap tests, blood pressure screenings, and evaluations to determine if you are taking the right dosage of medication.

Many of these visits are covered at no charge by your health plan, so call us for details and to schedule!

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Why You Need a Mammogram

Women have about a 1 in 8 chance that they’ll develop breast cancer in their lifetime. A mammogram — an X-ray picture of the breast — is the best way to spot potential breast cancer early.

Your unique family history and personal risk factors will determine when you should start getting mammograms. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends healthy women of average risk, get a mammogram once every two years from age 50 to 74. Your doctor could recommend getting a mammogram as early as age 40 if you have a parent, sibling, or child who has had breast cancer.

It is also recommended that you become familiar with what your breasts normally look and feel like. If this changes, make an appointment to see your doctor.

How Often to Screen for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer used to be one of the most common causes of death for women in the United States. Advances in Pap tests, including increased usage, cut cervical cancer deaths dramatically.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends:

  • Get a Pap test every three years if you are between the ages of 21 and 29.
  • APap smear with specific HPV testing every five years is routine if you are between the ages of 30 and 65.

Your doctor will make recommendations based on your own unique health history and your family history.

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Schedule Your Well-Woman Visit

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends the first visit happen at age 13 – 15. Well-woman visits are essential and should be scheduled in addition to your mammograms and Pap tests.

Because well-woman visits focus on preventive care, each visit may be slightly different based on your age and unique health needs. Your visit may include:

  • Age-appropriate immunizations (for example, the flu vaccine or a TD shot, if needed)
  • Age-appropriate health screenings, which could include checking your blood pressure or a pelvic floor exam
  • Recommendations for additional testing to screen for cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or depression, as needed

Your doctor will likely ask about your health history and any health goals. They will offer recommendations to help you achieve those goals. To make the most of these visits, come prepared: think about any health questions you have, in advance, and take notes.

We’re Here for Every Age and Every Stage of Your Life

Trust AltaMed to support your unique health needs. From primary care and specialists to dentistry, behavioral health services, and pharmacy, we are dedicated to caring for women and those they love. Schedule an appointment today.

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What to Know about the 988 National Mental Health Number

Mental health struggles remain a serious problem in the United States. According to the CDC, nearly 5% of adults 18 and older face regular feelings of depression. In 2020, almost 46,000 Americans committed suicide.

That’s why access to mental health resources is essential.

Beginning on July 16 of this year, a new 988 phone number has opened for people having suicidal thoughts or other mental health crises. Calls to this number are free of charge, completely confidential, and available 24 hours a day. Frances Chinchilla, a licensed clinical social worker at AltaMed, answers some questions about the new service, and why it’s so important.

What is 988 and how does it work?

People can now dial this easy-to-remember three-digit number — 988 — instead of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline of 1-800-273-8255. The new number was established to improve access to crisis services. It will provide easier access to the Lifeline network and related crisis resources, which are different from the public safety purposes of 911.

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Who is 988 for?

It is for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, including, but not limited to those with suicidal thoughts. The new number is also for those experiencing a substance use-related crisis. People worried that someone they know might be experiencing a mental health crisis can also use it.

What happens when someone calls 988?

Callers will hear a greeting message while their call is connected to a local Lifeline network crisis center which is based on the caller’s area code. A trained crisis counselor will answer the call, provide support, and share resources if needed. If the local center is unable to take the call, the caller will be automatically routed to a national backup crisis center.

What sort of services can I expect and what should I know before making that call?

Calling 988 will not automatically lead to a 911 intervention. While some safety and health issues — like a suicide attempt in progress or a drug overdose — may require a response from emergency medical services or law enforcement, the 988 coordinated response is meant to promote stabilization and care in the least restrictive manner.

What else should readers know about the 988 mental health number?

The Lifeline provides live crisis center phone services in English and Spanish and uses Language Line Solutions to provide translation services in over 250 additional languages. 988 accepts text messages and chats, only in English for now. Switching to 988 does not mean the 1-800-273-8255 number is going way. People will get help calling either number. 988 is just easier to remember and it expands the network of crisis call centers.

English-only chat is available through Lifeline’s website. People seeking chat services will be provided a pre-chat survey before connecting with a counselor. The survey identifies the main area of concern. If there is a wait to chat with a crisis counselor, a wait-time message will appear. If demand is high, people can access the Lifeline’s “helpful resources” while waiting or call 988.

Get a Fresh Start

Every day is an opportunity to start fresh, and we can help. We have a team of dedicated behavioral health specialists who are culturally sensitive and offer care in many languages. Reach out to our behavioral health team at (855) 425-1777 if you are feeling overwhelmed.

If you are in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call 988.

Our Unwavering Commitment to Women’s Health Care