Category Archives: Hospitals

What journalists should know about hospital ratings

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com 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.

PhotoJoel Dinda via Flickr

Photo: Joel Dinda via Flickr

Journalists should take hospital ratings with a healthy dose of skepticism, according to experts at a recent AHCJ New York chapter event. Simply looking at an institution’s overall rating is just the start. Reporting that without understanding what’s being rated and how “success” is measured does a disservice to your audience.

Ratings are far from perfect and are ever evolving. That leaves journalists in kind of a quandary, noted chapter president Trudy Lieberman. “What do we do about the ratings, how do we judge them, how do we use them in our stories and which ones should we use?” Continue reading

AHCJ update: Hospital mortality and readmission data now available

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the special projects director for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.

downloading-and-uploading-data-iconAHCJ just updated and simplified its version of the hospital mortality and readmission data available exclusively to members.

Going back to 2008 for mortality and 2009 for readmission, journalists can download spreadsheet files to filter and find hospitals with histories of worse or better expected rates of patient outcomes within 30 days of discharge. Continue reading

Indiana project to reduce hospitalization of nursing home residents gets boost

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com 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: Alyssa L. Miller via Flickr

Photo: Alyssa L. Miller via Flickr

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) thinks Indiana University may be on to something when it comes to more effective nursing home care. It recently announced a second round of funding for Project OPTIMISTIC, which stands for Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care. Continue reading

Using quality ratings in reporting on health care #AHCJ16

Lisa Aliferis

About Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing and editing for the site. She has produced health stories for television and written a guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. Her work has been honored for many awards. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis.

When I told a friend at Health Journalism 2016 that I would be attending and writing a short post on the “health ratings” session, she replied “I do not write about quality ratings!”

I’ve felt this same fatigue myself.

But the four panelists at the session, “Rating health care providers, when journalists measure quality” showed how ratings reports can be an important tool in covering either your local area or getting at national stories. Continue reading

Conference session will explore the hidden costs of hospital consolidation #AHCJ16

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.

Zack Cooper

Zack Cooper

Research from the Health Care Pricing Project shows that when hospitals have a monopoly in a market, prices are 15.3 percent higher than prices in hospitals where there are four or more hospitals, even after controlling for costs in those markets.

No doubt there’ll be lots of talk about hospital consolidations at AHCJ’s upcoming Health Journalism 16 conference in Cleveland. At one session in particular, Zack Cooper, Ph.D., an assistant professor of health policy and of economics at Yale University, will talk about the research he and his colleagues published last year on how hospital consolidations affect what hospitals charge consumers and insurers. Continue reading