AHCJ updates mortality, readmission hospital data

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.

Photo: Chris Wong via Flickr

AHCJ has updated and merged its version of the hospital mortality and readmission data available exclusively to members.

Going back to 2008 for mortality and 2009 for readmission to 2016 for both, 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

The Daily Yonder offers well-reported insights into rural health

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. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo: Courtesy of Trahant ReportsMark Trahant of Trahant Reports is one of several contributors to the Daily Yonder.

For those of you who report on rural health care – or just want to learn more about rural health care beyond the opioid crisis – meet the Daily Yonder.

It is a mix of reporting, political analysis, op-eds and commentary on rural America. It is not specifically a health care publication, but it offers a generous amount of health news and relevant food coverage (like this interesting piece on food stamps and the economics of rural groceries). Continue reading

Data suggests mixed progress in reducing tooth decay rates among young

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Joseph Bartmann via Flickr

Tooth decay remains the most prevalent chronic health problem of children in the United States. Since the late 1980s, roughly one in four U.S. children have had tooth decay, a rate that has remained relatively stable over the decades, according to a new study based on extensive federal data.

While the study reveals recent progress in reducing and treating disease among preschool children, the prevalence of decay in the permanent teeth of older children and adolescents has remained static. Continue reading

Lawsuit claims UnitedHealthcare concealed Medicare Advantage enrollment fraud complaints

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.

Credit: Kaiser Family Foundation
UnitedHealthcare has 4.6 million Medicare Advantage members, 24 percent of the U.S. Medicare Advantage market.

A recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit claims that UnitedHealthcare concealed from federal officials hundreds of complaints of enrollment fraud and other misconduct in its Medicare Advantage program.

Brought by two UnitedHealthcare sales professionals in Wisconsin, this suit is worth watching because it is the third in recent months that whistleblowers have brought using knowledge they gained while working for Minnetonka, Minn.-based health insurance giant. Continue reading

New global aging index tracks population health and well-being

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: Bridget Coila via Flickr

How are countries around the world adapting to the dramatic increase in their older populations? A new index provides some alternative context for measuring the health of aging inhabitants.

The Index of Societal Aging, created by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the University of California’s Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, uses specific measures across five social and economic indicators, including an evidence-based metric to assess effectiveness over time and across many nations. Continue reading