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5 Things to Know as California Starts Screening Children for Toxic Stress []


By Barbara Feder Ostrov, California Healthline, January 7, 2020

Starting this year, routine pediatric visits for millions of California children could involve questions about touchy family topics, such as divorce, unstable housing or a parent who struggles with alcoholism.

California now will pay doctors to screen patients for traumatic events known as adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, if the patient is covered by Medi-Cal — the state’s version of Medicaid for low-income families.

The screening program is rooted in decades of research that suggests children who endure sustained stress in their day-to-day lives undergo biochemical changes to their brains and bodies that can dramatically increase their risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, asthma, depression and cancer.

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