When writing about transparency in health care prices and quality, journalists should expose the myths that health care providers promote. That’s the advice Francois de Brantes gave during a session on price and quality transparency at Health Journalism 2015 last month.
The executive director of the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3), de Brantes (@Fdebrantes) said, “Call them on their bull sh–. Their arguments against price and quality transparency are bogus.”
Yet when state legislatures consider laws promoting the public reporting of health care prices and quality ratings, provider organizations often lobby against these laws. “What are they protecting?” he asked. “Doesn’t the public have a right to know?” Continue reading
Trying to help her sister Veronika, who is disabled, with a dental emergency, Elizabeth Piatt found herself negotiating a labyrinth of personal feelings and Medicaid paperwork. The job of getting Veronika the care she needed was fraught with challenges. Piatt emerged from the experience with new insights into the Medicaid system that serves America’s poor, and a new sense of compassion for the patients who struggle within that system.
Piatt, an assistant professor and chair of the Sociology Department at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, also came out of the experience convinced of the need for a better network of health navigators to help Medicaid patients find care and services.
Piatt shared the story of her journey in a piece entitled “Navigating Veronika: How Access, Knowledge and Attitudes Shaped My Sister’s Care” that was featured in February’s Health Affairs.
She shares further insights, as well as some tips on exploring a personal story for its wider lessons, in this AHCJ Q&A.
Photo: Carla K. JohnsonBruce Japsen, Dan Yunker, Marilyn Serafini and Stephani Becker (l to r) discussed the possibility of 8 million people losing health insurance, during an AHCJ Chicago chapter event.
Will fretting over King v. Burwell be remembered in the same breath as worries over Y2K?
Or will the calamity of 8 million people losing health insurance come true if the plaintiffs win their case at the U.S. Supreme Court? A ruling is expected in June.
With Alliance for Health Reform’s Marilyn Serafini acting as moderator, the Chicago chapter of AHCJ gathered on May 13 for a panel discussion on “The outlook for health insurance subsidies.” Continue reading
We have a lot of cool gadgets, but how can they really improve our health? And can they change health care? We are in a state of wearables 1.0, so what does wearables 2.0 look like?
Andrea Kissack, senior science editor at KQED-San Francisco, asked those questions at the outset of the panel “Wearables: Possibilities for consumers and health professionals” at Health Journalism 2015. Continue reading
May is Older Americans Month, which coincides with the Administration for Community Living’s annual profile of Americans over age 65. Their most recent report, Profile of Older Americans, 2014, tracks trends in aging from 2003 through 2013.
Not only is the data itself interesting – did you know nearly 70,000 Americans were over age 100 in 2013? – but the report provides a wealth of angles reporters can localize to advance discussion of aging issues in their community. Continue reading
CDC/ James ArcherAn outbreak of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) was linked to dirty duodenoscopes.
Most medical devices marketed in the United States do not need formal approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Members of a panel at Health Journalism 2015 on medical device coverage provided a variety of advice for reporters covering and of the implants, instruments and diagnostic tools common to the modern medical machine.
Moderator of the session was Chad Terhune, a Los Angeles Times reporter who recently found himself chasing an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) linked to dirty duodenoscopes. Contributing to the discussion were panelists USA Today investigative reporter Peter Eisler and Scott Lucas, associate director of accident and forensic investigation at the ECRI Institute. Continue reading
Stressing that community water fluoridation remains an important tool in fighting tooth decay, public health officials have updated their recommendation for the “optimal” level of fluoride in drinking water nationwide.
The new standard, 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, was announced on April 27 by the U.S. Department of Human Services.
The level replaces a recommended range of 0.7 mg to 1.2 mg of fluoride per liter of water in place since 1962.
The optimal level, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is considered to be when the amount fluoride in drinking water is adequate to help prevent tooth decay in children and adults while limiting risk of problems such as fluorosis, a discoloration or mottling of the tooth enamel that can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride. Continue reading
Nearly 700 people attended Health Journalism 2015, the annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists. The gathering, in California’s Silicon Valley in late April, provided journalists with expert speakers and panels on everything from hospital quality to a press briefing with the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In a kickoff speech that many attendees talked about throughout the conference, Stanford physician and author Abraham Verghese, M.D., offered an eloquent description about the importance of how doctors care for patients. Continue reading
Images streaming from the recent unrest in Baltimore showed parts of a city in flames, buildings in ruins and turmoil in the streets following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray April 19 while in police custody.
Less visible – perhaps with the exception of a burned and looted CVS – are the scars of limited access to health care in a city with deep pockets of poverty.
A city on the brink
First, a look at the big picture in Baltimore, Maryland’s biggest city with roughly 623,000 residents and glaring disparities in crime rates, income, education, housing – and health.
At a conference, it all seems easy. So many ideas, so many enthusiastic colleagues, so many potential stories.
Kris Hickman/AHCJ Lisa Aliferis, editor of KQED-San Francisco’s health blog, asks a question after hearing from physician and bestselling author Abraham Verghese, M.D., on the opening night of Health Journalism 2015.
With nearly four days packed with sessions, there’s no shortage of new contacts, resources and data. But now what?
Where should reporters start in trying to dissect their material into something usable, especially when it comes to the great wide territory of social determinants and health care? Continue reading