New report finds wide variation in health care costs among states

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.

Consumers in states with high health care costs spend more than twice as much for certain services than consumers in other states, according to a new report from the Health Care Cost Institute.

Using health insurance claims, HCCI researchers also showed that among Americans enrolled in commercial health insurance plans, consumer prices for health care services vary by threefold within states. Continue reading

Journalists explain how freelancers can add audio, video to boost pitches – and income #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.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJ

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJ

Seeing Spike Lee’s 2006 documentary about how Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans was transformative for independent journalist Andrea King Collier.

“When I saw Spike Lee’s Katrina story, I said to myself, ‘That’s the way I want to tell stories,’” said Collier (@andreacollier) during a panel at Health Journalism 2016 on multimedia skills for freelancers.

An award-winning independent journalist and author, Collier’s work has appeared in O the Oprah Magazine, Essence, Town and Country, The Washington Post, and other publications. Continue reading

Panelists agree HIPAA privacy rule is outdated #AHCJ16

Jocelyn Wiener

About Jocelyn Wiener

Jocelyn Wiener is an award-winning independent journalist based in Oakland, Calif. Her work has been published by the The Sacramento Bee, the Center for Health Reporting, Christian Science Monitor, Kaiser Health News, KQED, Pacific Standard, Stanford Magazine and in newspapers around the country.

security-graphistockCharles Ornstein, a senior reporter at ProPublica, kicked off a Health Journalism 2016 session about the federal government’s health privacy rule with several stories of privacy breaches:

  • A woman was watching television at night when she came upon footage documenting her husband’s death. She had never been contacted for permission.
  • A doctor hired a private investigator to investigate a patient.
  • A woman went online and found that a website had made public some 6,000 paternity cases.

These privacy breaches, Ornstein said, can be “very, very harmful” to individuals. Continue reading

Mental health issues of older adults can go beyond depression

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.

Photo: Esti Alvarez via Flickr

Photo: Esti Alvarez via Flickr

The National Council on Aging defines mental disorders as “health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behavior (or some combination thereof), associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.”

As the U.S. population ages, the need for mental and behavioral health services is increasing. Continue reading

Panel offers ideas on uncovering true costs of health care at #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.

money-and-medicineFor those of us covering health insurance, one of the best sessions at Health Journalism 2016 addressed the challenging issue of how to find the true cost of health care.

Moderator Bruce Japsen, who writes about health care and health policy for Forbes, kept the focus on where reporters can look to uncover the actual cost of care in their communities.

That generated a terrific pro tip from panelist Chad Terhune of Kaiser Health News. Continue reading