Two fellow AHCJ core topic leaders, Susan Heavey and Joseph Burns, have looked at aspects of the recent census report that documents a sharp decline in the uninsured rate. (Susan’s look at poverty and gender is here and Joe’s overview is here).
California has embraced the Affordable Care Act in big way. It launched one of the first and most robust state-run health insurance exchanges, and expanded its Medicaid program (known as Medi-Cal) to enroll the uninsured.
As a result, the state’s uninsured rate dropped from 6.5 million residents in 2013 (which is 17.2 percent of the state’s population) to 4.8 million last year (12.4 percent), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (See AHCJ’s coverage of the bureau’s latest data release here and here.) Continue reading
In the age of big data and large datasets available through the CDC, the NIH, and other entities, it helps to know what to do with all that information. One tool for manipulating it – especially since so much is provided in CSV files that easily open in spreadsheets – is Excel.
Consider, for example, data on vaccinations from the National Immunization Survey. The CDC has downloadable data sets going back for nearly two decades. A journalist might want to look for trends in that data, such as changes in coverage in a particular state or changes in uptake for particular vaccines. But once you get all that data downloaded, what do you do with it to look for those trends, especially if you don’t know much about Excel? Continue reading
It’s about that time.
If you’ve been covering social determinants for a while, you’ve likely familiarized with the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual release of income, poverty and health insurance coverage data. If you’re new to health disparities, welcome to an annual rite.
Although the statistics measure the previous calendar year, they can provide a useful overall picture of how the United States is faring when it comes to income inequality, as well as access to health care. The figure is considered the nation’s official poverty rate.
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, created by the Affordable Care Act, is trying new ways of delivering health care and testing new incentives and payment models. Some ideas are likely, even expected, to fail. Others may lead to new ways of delivering higher quality care for less money.
CMMI also is supposed to help spread new ideas so they’ll take root in the real world. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has the authority to expand approaches that reduce spending – and halt those that do not. This is a more flexible approach than officials had with “demonstration projects” prior to the ACA.
The agency’s website is a goldmine of health care innovation. Read more about what CMMI is tasked with doing, how it will do it and how the success or failures of its projects will be determined in this new tip sheet.
AHCJ just added 899 hospital deficiencies listed in the searchable data on its HospitalInspections.org website. The latest addition includes inspections into June.
The searchable site includes 16,137 different deficiencies among 2,380 hospitals in the United States. The file came from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, the site includes records showing that 709 hospital inspection reports have yet to be added to the CMS computer system. Continue reading
Nine 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
The National Center for Health Statistics published the latest data on 2014 births last month, and these reports can be unexpected gold mines for enterprise reporting.
The reports themselves are very dry – literally just the most recent statistics available on a particular data set with little to no analysis. However, that means most journalists will be reporting just that – the data without much analysis – while others can take some time to compare the numbers to past reports and look for trends. Continue reading
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
Medicare pays doctors and other providers virtually everywhere in the United States, amounting to more than $70 billion in 2013 alone. The money goes for medical exams, X-rays, injections and a host of other treatments and procedures.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just released detailed payment data covering 2013. Until 2014, that information was kept secret for 35 years. That year, CMS released detailed payment data covering 2012. Now, health reporters can examine how those public funds have been spent over two years. Continue reading