The Focus

Valley hospitals note uptick in ER visits post-Obamacare

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect last year, hospitals across the Central Valley have seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients visiting their emergency departments.

Bullet train no bonanza for Valley eminent domain attorneys

California’s $68 billion bullet train project has yet to provide the bonanza of eminent domain lawsuits some Valley lawyers had been anticipating.
With the High-Speed Rail Authority’s land acquisition process now well underway, to date, not a single parcel of private property in the path of construction has been taken through a formal eminent domain preceding, according to the rail authority.

New water heater rules could spell headaches for Valley homeowners

Beginning April 16, changes in government regulations may cause a routine water heater replacement to become an unexpectedly expensive endeavor for Valley homeowners.  
Next month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is set to begin enforcing new energy efficiency standards for residential water heaters.

Outdoor advertising thrives in increasingly digital world

The rise of social media and new technology has led many companies to increasingly rely on sleek new digital marketing techniques. However industry experts warn that it’s too soon to write off more traditional strategies like outdoor advertising.

Valley patients win in expansion of medical residency programs

As the second open enrollment period for health insurance comes to a close, the number of Central Valley residents with medical coverage continues to increase, stressing local hospitals and rural health care clinics. The region already faces a chronic shortage of trained physicians and the newly insured have prompted health care groups to expand and create new medical residency programs.

Female business owners share stories of success

The number of women-owned businesses has grown at one and a half times the national average for new businesses during the last decade, according to a recent study by the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Valley banks had reason to cheer in 2014

It appeared to be a profitable year for some of the Central Valley’s larger community banks, though not all enjoyed the year-over-year growth that shareholders like to see.
Here’s an overview for local banks that have released fourth quarter financial information. They are placed in order of year-over-year growth in net income.

Homebuilders look increasingly to South Valley in ‘15

In 2015, real estate developers are increasingly selecting smaller Fresno County communities and parts of the South Valley for future homebuilding projects.
Many local homebuilders have either broken ground or opened new developments outside the City of Fresno’s sphere of influence during the last few months.

NEO evolves to connect Fresno County employers, workers

Fresno County is ready to make a big marketing push for its New Employment Opportunities (NEO) program that subsidizes the cost of certain new hires for businesses in the county.
The Economic Development Corp. serving Fresno County is the organization tasked with marketing the program, which is funded with $9 million through the Fresno County Department of Social Services.
While the latest iteration of the program kicked off in April 2014, the program traces its roots to 2011, when it was developed in wake of another wage-subsidy effort — the 80/20 Program.

Local Covered California HMO, PPO plans ranked

Nearly 3.4 million previously uninsured Californians signed up for health care coverage during last year's open enrollment period. While this year's open enrollment is several months shorter — enrollment opened on Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15, 2015 — Covered California has set its sights on reaching the remaining 1.7 million uninsured Californians.