Pharmacy access story gains stronger local angle from inventive use of study’s own data

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at

Photo: Ben Husmann via Flickr

Photo: Ben Husmann via Flickr

Local pharmacies have limited hours? Turns out that this is way more than an inconvenience. It may also be a factor in hospital readmissions. Patients who can’t easily get their medications from an accessible, nearby – and open! – pharmacy are more likely to end up back in the hospital.

Experts have been exploring possible reasons why so many patients bounce in and out of the hospital, and why it’s been hard to bring down the 30-day readmission rates, even with new financial incentives under the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading

Journalist finds state budget cuts adversely affected patient care

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at

Anyone who has started a new reporting job knows the feeling: You want to find some story somewhere on your beat that you can crank out to show you know how to deliver good copy on time.

It’s unlikely that you’re thinking you’ll uncover a big story that turns into a five-part series. But that’s what happened to Megan Hart, a reporter covering health care for KHI News Service in Topeka, Kan. Continue reading

Confusion persists over timing of flu shots for older adults

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The, New America Media, and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: KOMUnews via Flickr

Photo: KOMUnews via Flickr

Fall has arrived so it’s time for older adults to get their flu shots. Or is it?

Older adults are at greater risk of serious complications of the disease than those under age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They recommend that everyone get vaccinated by the end of October, if possible, as the best way to prevent the flu. Continue reading

Fluoride mouth rinsing by children receives renewed attention

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at

Photo: Protoflux via Flickr

Photo: Protoflux via Flickr

A time-honored preventive dental treatment is getting another look.

A cheap and simple fluoride mouth rinse is highly effective in reducing tooth decay in school children, a recent Cochrane review has concluded.

The paper updates a 2003 review that also showed clear evidence of the decay-inhibiting effect of fluoride rinses. Continue reading

Consumers Union expert weighs in on drug price hikes, other cost challenges

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at

Lynn Quincy

Lynn Quincy

Mylan’s price hike for its EpiPen allergy medication is just the latest example of health care costs pressuring consumers, Consumers Union’s Lynn Quincy told AHCJ members in a recent webcast.

Quincy, who leads the consumer-advocacy group’s Healthcare Value Hub and has backed efforts to curb rising drug prices, pointed to other recent price increases such as those by drugmakers Valeant and Turing as symptoms of a massive “market failure.” Continue reading