New federal grants will help safety net clinics across the country to provide more dental care in their communities.
Nearly $156 million in oral health funding will enable clinics in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to employ oral health professionals to provide new or expanded services, federal officials recently announced. 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
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to recognize membership in the Association of Health Care Journalists as sufficient credential for any media briefing or press event sponsored by HHS or its agencies.
The HHS recognition provides a powerful lever for AHCJ members, especially freelancers, when they encounter obstacles to obtaining credentials at medical society and scientific meetings. Now members can point out that the federal government considers AHCJ membership adequate proof of a reporter’s legitimacy.
Representing AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee, Vice Chair Felice J. Freyer and I brokered the agreement in one of our periodic problem-solving calls with the HHS public affairs leadership. Continue reading
A year ago, AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee brokered an appeals process with the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services media office for reporters facing unreasonable delays or inadequate responses from agency public information officers.
I’m happy to report that we’ve had a number of successes since then in clearing information logjams for individual reporters and policing violations of HHS’s media policy. But a year’s experience with this process has also made us wiser about what we need from AHCJ members to be effective. Continue reading
Finally, we may be seeing the beginning of the end of fee-for-service payment.
In an announcement Monday, the federal Department of Health and Human Services set two goals for changing how Medicare will pay for care, making the most significant change in payment in its 50-year history. First, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said that next year, 30 percent of all payment to Medicare providers would be in alternative payment programs that reward hospitals and physicians for how well they care for patients rather than how much care they provide.
By 2018, 50 percent of payments would go into alternative payment programs, such as accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes and bundled payments, she wrote.
“In alternative payment models, providers are accountable for the quality and cost of care for the people and populations they serve, moving away from the old way of doing things, which amounted to, ‘the more you do, the more you get paid,’” Burwell added. Continue reading