Denti-Cal, California’s Medicaid dental program, faces ongoing challenges in getting care to its roughly 13 million beneficiaries. Only about half the children and a quarter of the adults covered by the program are getting dental services. As in other states, a shortage of participating dentists is a major problem and there are other troubles as well.
In a recent piece for California Healthline, reporter Ana Ibarra looked at efforts to reform the system. In this new Q&A for AHCJ, Ibarra reflects upon the future of Denti-Cal and discusses the rest of her complex and rich beat as a web reporter for California Healthline. She also shares some advice on the value of journalism fellowships in developing skills and making connections that can help reporters excel. Read more.
Photo: Susan Heavey/AHCJAHCJ members in April attended a packed panel on covering mental trauma at Health Journalism 2016 in Cleveland. The speakers were Dr. Glenda Wrenn, from Morehouse School of Medicine; Dr. Ewald Horwath, of Case Western University; Kristine Buffington, a social worker based in Toledo, Ohio; and Kathleen Hackett, a sexual assault nurse examiner.
A single tear is okay, but don’t cry.
Kathleen Hackett, a sexual assault nurse examiner, recently told AHCJ members that breaking down while listening to stories from victims can retraumatize them or even force them to emotionally shut down so as not to cause any one else pain.
“We have to be careful in our response,” said Hackett, who has more than 30 years of nursing experience and has worked with children in the hospital after their ordeal, adding that she never cries in front of her patients. Continue reading
A California watchdog commission’s recently released report offers a scathing assessment of Denti-Cal – the state’s historically troubled Medicaid dental program.
“Among government programs labeled by participants and beneficiaries as broken, dysfunctional or an outright mess, few have achieved the notoriety of Denti-Cal,” noted the Little Hoover Commission. Continue reading
Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to health care. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Data is the new king of journalism, but when it comes to some aspects of the social sciences – such as the social determinants of health – the numbers can be a bit tricky to nail down.
That may be changing. The U.S. Department of Health recently announced two separate initiatives targeting health disparities.
First, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this month announced a pilot program to tie medical services for beneficiaries to housing, food, transportation and other social services. Continue reading
A water crisis brewing in Flint, Mich., for nearly two years exposed children and others to lead from contaminated water. It also exposed health disparities from infrastructure. Glass of Water via photopin (license)
The ongoing water quality crisis in Flint, Mich., highlights many public health issues, but shines its brightest light on health disparities, too.
Residents of the struggling community, about an hour northwest of Detroit, began complaining about problems with their tap water almost as soon as the city – under the control of a state manager – began pumping water from Flint River to fill the gap after switching providers in 2013.
It’s something that would have never happened in one of Detroit’s wealthier, leafy suburbs, according to Nancy Kaffer, a political columnist for the Detroit Free Press. Continue reading