Add context to your reporting by recalling who Medicaid actually serves

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 healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Sheila Steele via Flickr

Photo: Sheila Steele via Flickr

Here is an article that stood out amid the tidal wave of media coverage of Medicare and Medicaid’s 50th anniversary this year. It’s a piece about why Medicaid matters, posted on the Health Affairs blog.

As you read, keep in mind that the article is written by two people who strongly support the program: former Denver Health Chief Executive Patricia Gabow, who serves on the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission and on the National Governors’ Association Health Advisory Board, and former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. It is not, by and large, a critique. Continue reading

How nursing facilities use telemedicine to reduce hospital readmissions

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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.

Image: Neff Conner via Flickr

Image: Neff Conner via Flickr

Potentially Avoidable Hospitalizations (PAH) among nursing home residents are costly, expose residents to additional health risks and exact a toll on patients and families. Many of these readmissions occur after hours or on weekends — when there is no physician or nurse practitioner readily available.

PAHs are hospitalizations that could have been avoided because the condition could have been prevented or treated outside of an inpatient hospital setting. One skilled nursing home chain is using a novel telemedicine program to bring board-certified physicians to the patient bedside, providing two-way video communication to assess, diagnosis and minimize readmissions. It may also save the health system hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Continue reading

Among 23 health insurance co-ops, Maine stands out for its success

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.

Source: The Affordable Care Act CO-OP Program: Facing Both Barriers and Opportunities for More Competitive Health Insurance Markets, Center for Health Insurance Reforms, The Commonwealth Fund blog, March 12, 2015.

Source: The Affordable Care Act CO-OP Program: Facing Both Barriers and Opportunities for More Competitive Health Insurance Markets, Center for Health Insurance Reforms, The Commonwealth Fund blog, March 12, 2015.

When drafting the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Congress wanted to foster competition among health insurers. So it offered loans to nonprofit organizations that wanted to start health insurance consumer oriented and operated plans (called co-ops) in the states.

In theory, the co-ops are a great idea to increase competition and consumer choice. Congress included $2.4 billion in the ACA to establish these member-operated health insurance plans. The co-ops are particularly important today because five of the largest health insurers could soon be reduced to three if Anthem acquires Cigna and Aetna merges with Humana. Continue reading

Plans progress to accredit dental therapist training

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 healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: nlafferty via Flickr

Photo: nlafferty via Flickr

The agency responsible for overseeing dental education in the United States is moving forward with plans to establish a national accreditation process for dental therapist training programs.

In a move that was greeted with both criticism and praise, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) voted Aug. 7 to begin the accreditation process for programs to train non-dentists to perform certain dental procedures, including drilling and extracting teeth.

Such providers are already providing care on tribal lands in Alaska as well as in Minnesota. A number of other states are considering employing the dental therapists, who work as part of a team of providers supervised by dentists. Continue reading

Podcast series launches with discussion of potential harms of screening tests

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

MedStudies-blog-HealthNewsReview podcast image2If you want to get a better grasp on the intricacies of screenings and assessing their risk-benefit analysis, there’s now another option to reading about it. The inaugural episode of a new podcast series at HealthNewsReview.org features Hanna Bloomfield, M.D., M.P.H., sounding off on the problem of blanket promotion of cardiovascular screening and similar medical tests. Continue reading

CDC survey shows uninsured rate dropping to historic 9.2 percent

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.

The uninsured rate among all Americans in the first quarter of this year dropped to 9.2 percent, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, released Wednesday.

This is estimated to be the lowest rate of all uninsured Americans, of all ages, since 1972, when the center began reporting on that data from the National Health Interview Survey, Reena Flores reported for CBS News. Continue reading

A cautionary tale about relying on white papers as research

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, Practical Diabetology and Home Care Technology report. 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.

questions-and-moneyWhite papers can be useful tools for journalists. Ideally, they provide authoritative, in-depth information from government or nonprofits about specific policy, diseases, programs, or issues. However, they can also be powerful marketing tools, used by corporations to position a specific product or service as the “solution” to whatever the “problem” is.

Then there is the white paper released by a nonprofit, but developed with corporate financial support. Continue reading

Welcome to AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves on the executive committee of the Council of National Journalism Organizations.

Please welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ. All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves.welcome-mat

  • Jennifer Abbasi, independent journalist, Portland, Ore. (@jenabbasi)
  • Melissa Bailey, reporter, Boston Globe Media, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Sharon Begley, senior science writer, Boston Globe Media, Dorchester, Mass. (@sxbegle)
  • Michael Bohl, medical producer, The Dr. Oz Show, New York,
  • Tamara Brown, student, NOVA Southeastern University, Lakewood, N.J.
  • Samantha Costa, health and wellness consumer advice reporter, U.S. News & World Report, Silver Spring, Md. (@SamCosta1050)
  • Michael Crupain, medical unit chief of staff, The Dr. Oz Show, New York,
  • Elizabeth Devitt, independent journalist, Aptos, Calif. (@ElizDevitt)
  • Sheena Faherty, student, Duke University, Durham, N.C. (@junglequeen18)
  • Karen Falla, reporter, Univision Communications Inc., Dallas
  • Sheilah Fulton, student, Alpharetta, Ga.
  • Aimalohi Giwa-Amu, researcher/producer, The Dr. Oz Show, New York,
  • Arthur Golab, data editor/reporter, Modern Healthcare, Chicago
  • Gina Hendersen, managing editor, Frontline Medical Communications
  • Charles Hyman, researcher/producer, The Dr. Oz Show, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Andrew Joseph, reporter, Boston Globe Media, Boston
  • Laura Joszt, assistant managing editor, The American Journal of Managed Care, Somerset, N.J. (@AJMC_Journal)
  • Edward Prewitt, editorial director, HealthLeaders Media, Danvers, Mass. (@edprewitt)
  • Casey Ross, health & medical reporter, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland
  • Stephanie Simon, managing editor, news, Boston Globe Media, Dorchester, Mass. (@StephanieSimon_)
  • Leigh Wright, assistant professor, Murray State University, Murray, Ky. (@leighwright)
  • Brie Zeltner, reporter, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland (@briezeltner)

If you haven’t joined yet, see what member benefits you’re missing out on: Access to more than 50 journals and databases, tip sheets and articles from your colleagues on how they’ve reported stories, conferences, workshops, online training, reporting guides and more. Join AHCJ today to get a wealth of support and tools to help you.

Journalists must succeed where politicians fail in risk communication

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Image: wackystuff via Flickr

Image: wackystuff via Flickr

With no new cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in South Korea since July 2, the outbreak appears to have ended. Commentaries such as a recent Nature editorial are assessing the damage and the response – and the damage of the response.

In total, 186 people became sick with the virus and 36 died. Yet the response to the virus in South Korea shared something in common with the response to Ebola in the United States during the West African outbreak last year: It was over the top, largely because public officials have yet to master adequate risk communication. Continue reading

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

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

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

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