Author Archives: Joseph Burns

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 joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Writing about new subjects, pursuing fellowships help freelancers keep careers fresh

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJBara Vaida (speaking) moderated a panel full of advice for freelancers on how to keep their careers rewarding. Lynette Clemetson, director of the Wallace House for Knight-Wallace fellowships, talked about the value of a mid-career fellowship to reposition a journalist’s career.

Journalists desiring to keep their freelance career fresh might consider writing new types of stories for different publications, says Laura Beil.

Beil is a Dallas-based independent journalist who typically doesn’t write about sports but decided to change it up a bit recently by successfully pitching and writing an article about obesity among high school football players. Continue reading

#AHCJ17 panelists wrestle with the unintended consequences of complying with MACRA  

Photo: Pia ChristensenRandi Terry (left), of Munson Healthcare in Traverse City, Mich., explains some of the difficulties of complying with MACRA and getting clarification from CMS on the rules.

Any legislation is bound to have unforeseen outcomes, and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 is no exception, according to two members of a panel discussion on MACRA at Health Journalism 2017.

Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association, and Randi Terry, director of information services for Munson Healthcare in Traverse City, Mich., described some of those unintended consequences. Continue reading

Is value-based pricing doomed? #AHCJ17 session to address this question

Paul Levy, former chief executive of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, recently made a compelling argument in a blog post about why value-based pricing for hospital services ultimately will fail.

In “The Game That Shows Why Value-Based Pricing Is Doomed” on AthenaInsight, Levy argues that the incentives in value-based pricing are all wrong. As a payment model, value-based pricing promotes selfishness but at the same time requires all parties to cooperate, he writes.

It’s not often that anyone criticizes value-based care, and why would they? That would be like opposing the use of grocery coupons. Continue reading

Eyre’s Pulitzer-winning work shows power of hard data, big numbers

Eric Eyre

In two days in December, the Charleston Gazette-Mail published two blockbuster articles about the opioid crisis in West Virginia, the results of months of reporting by Eric Eyre, the paper’s statehouse reporter.

Anyone who read them would recognize that Eyre’s work was outstanding, if only for the numbers he included in each piece. Over six years, the nation’s largest drug distributors shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to pharmacies in the state, he reported. In that same period, 1,728 West Virginians fatally overdosed on those two painkillers, he wrote. Drug distributors shipped enough hydrocodone and oxycodone for each of the state’s 1.8 million residents to have 433 pills. Continue reading

Albany reporter fills in the holes that state report left out

Photo: Norman Mosjos via Flickr

How often has this happened to you? Over the transom comes a report you believe will be the basis for a section-front story or maybe warrant page one. Many times, you’re right. You read the report, collect the highlights, conduct a few interviews, and fire off the story on deadline.

However, occasionally what you thought might be a solid report leaves important questions unanswered. Continue reading