Author Archives: Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Member’s JAMA piece looks at ethical considerations of physician-journalists

Rita Rubin

Rita Rubin

AHCJ member Rita Rubin explores the tricky territory of working as a doctor and a journalist in a “Medical News & Perspectives” piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

She highlights several examples of physician-journalists who have walked the ethical tight rope, including Nancy Snyderman, Sanjay Gupta, Mehmet Oz, Jennifer Ashton and David Samadi. She also quotes Tom Linden, who left his medical practice to work in television news and points out how important it is to keep the two roles separate, a point he has made in the past. Continue reading

2015 class of AHCJ-National Library of Medicine fellows chosen

fellowship-logo-NLMNine journalists have been named to this year’s class of AHCJ-National Library of Medicine fellows. The fellowship program was created to increase reporters’ access and understanding of the considerable resources available at NLM and the National Institutes of Health.

The journalists chosen to take part this year are: Continue reading

New tip sheet offers pointers for reporting on elder abuse

Photo: Theen Moy via Flickr

Photo: Theen Moy via Flickr

Elder abuse was a key agenda item at this year’s White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA). While much of that panel discussion focused on financial exploitation, this is only one type of abuse that an older person might suffer.

Liz Seegert’s new tip sheet discusses how many seniors have suffered from some kind of abuse – the numbers are alarming – as well as what constitutes abuse, factors that make seniors vulnerable and common signs of abuse.

For reporters, Seegert offers a list of story ideas, resources and contact information for potential sources for those writing about elder abuse.

Bridging the gap between dental and medical care



Dental care and medical care have long been provided separately in America. New research and evolving models of care are challenging that traditional gap.

Chronic diseases are responsible for billions of dollars in health care costs and millions of deaths each year. Dental office screenings for diabetes, as well as other common conditions such as high cholesterol and hypertension could save the nation’s health care system as much as $102.6 million annually, researchers from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Resources Center concluded in a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

In this new tip sheet, Mary Otto explains some of the screenings and interventions that may be coming to a dentist’s chair near you, as well as some of the question around providing such care.

Acronyms, health care and the poor: Understanding hospital safety net payments

Joanne Kenen

The months-long controversy between Florida and the federal Medicaid program over funding for hospitals and clinics that serve uninsured low-income people drew attention to these uncompensated care pools. In Florida the arrangement is called the Low-Income Pool – better known as “LIP” (a gift to headline writers).

So what are these payments? And how do they differ from a Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) arrangement?

At least nine states, including Florida, have some kind of Medicaid waiver arrangement with the federal government that involves payments to safety net hospitals and, in at least some states, community health centers.

Joanne Kenen, AHCJ’s core topic leader on health reform, explains in a new tip sheet. Read more.

Get a jump on covering 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid

Bob Rosenblatt

Bob Rosenblatt

The 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid is July 30.

Over the years, these programs have evolved from basic safety nets to comprehensive care models designed to improve quality and offer affordable health care for millions. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 55 million Americans have Medicare this year and more than 70 million have Medicaid in any given month

Bob Rosenblatt, a veteran at reporting on issues around aging, has put together a tip sheet with background on the Medicare program and some things to consider as you plan coverage of the anniversary. It includes story ideas and useful links as well as contact information for sources.

Surgeons’ complication rates become public with new database

Whether consumers are choosing a car, a household appliance or even a nursing home, there are ratings and reviews available to make the best choice. But patients are often blind when choosing a surgeon.

Surgeon Scorecard, a database released by ProPublica this week helps shed some light on that area with an analysis of death and complication rates for nearly 17,000 U.S. surgeons for eight common surgical procedures. This is the first time this information has been available to the public. Continue reading

New AHCJ board members elected for 2015-16

Jeanne Erdmann and Mary Shedden

Jeanne Erdmann and Mary Shedden

Jeanne Erdmann, an independent journalist based in Missouri, and Mary Shedden, editor of Health News Florida, join four incumbents in being seated on the Association of Health Care Journalists’ 2015-16 board of directors.

Incumbents starting a new two-year term include AHCJ President Karl Stark, of The Philadelphia Inquirer; AHCJ Treasurer Felice J. Freyer, of The Boston Globe; Gideon Gil, of The Boston Globe; and Maryn McKenna, an Atlanta-based independent journalist.

Read more about AHCJ’s board.

Notes and quotes from King v. Burwell decision

By Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Roberts Court (2010-) - The Oyez Project) (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

By Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Roberts Court (2010-) – The Oyez Project) (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

Here are just a few notes, key quotes and links to coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.

The decision is here.

The phrase “death spiral” appears three times in the majority opinion. Also from the majority opinion: Continue reading

Last chance to vote for AHCJ’s board of directors

Image: FutUndBeidl via Flickr

The voting period for AHCJ’s board of directors will close at noon Central time today. A link to the ballot was emailed to all qualified AHCJ members.

Each year, members in AHCJ’s professional category elect members of the board. Six of the 12 director positions come up for election each year for two-year terms.

The nine candidates have offered outlines of their background and their vision for the organization. Those statements are available for members to review.

Continue reading