Photo: Phil GalewitzA recent AHCJ chapter meeting featured discussion of Medicaid and story ideas for reporters to pursue. Facing the camera, from left to right, are Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call, Joan Alker of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families; Cindy Mann, former head of Medicaid official; and Matt Salo, head of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.
The Washington, D.C., chapter of AHCJ held an event about Medicaid in late October with Matt Salo, who leads the National Association of Medicaid Directors; Cindy Mann, who until January was the top U.S. official in charge of Medicaid at HHS and now works at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; and Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.
Here are some of their insights and story ideas that can help reporters keep this story fresh. Continue reading
In an Oct. 13 story, Susan Abram informed readers of the Los Angeles Daily News that a city sports arena was being transformed into a massive health clinic for four days. Hundreds of dentists, optometrists, nurses and other volunteers would offer free care to people in need.
This was not the first so-called “megaclinic” to come to the Los Angeles Sports Arena – and not the first time Abram had written about one. The reporter used her experience of past clinics, and insights into the nation’s evolving health care system, to bring a new and interesting angle to her story: Continue reading
Cover health care, or any beat, long enough and most journalists will discover that one story leads naturally to another.
Misty Williams (@ajchealthcare), who covers health care for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has taken that concept to another level. She found that one series of articles leads to another.
In a new How I Did It for healthjournalism.org, Williams explained that in the spring of last year, she began work on a series to outline how the Affordable Care Act was affecting Georgia consumers. In that series, she reported that 400,000 state residents made too much money to qualify for Medicaid but also too little to receive tax subsidies for health insurance on the federal marketplace. Georgia is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid under the ACA. Continue reading
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported this fall that the number of people covered – that is, enrolled and paid up – in the ACA exchanges had dipped to 9.9 million as of June 30.
The drop off was similar to what occurred the prior year and was in keeping with expectations. Earlier in the year, 10.2 million were fully covered – and 11.7 had initially signed up but, as expected, not all had paid their premiums. Continue reading
Locating both dental and medical providers at a community health center can better ensure that low-income patients get the oral health services they need, in part by enabling these providers to more easily coordinate patient-centered care.
Yet by these measures, many clinics in California’s safety net system are falling short. Only one third of the state’s community health centers offer dental care, a team from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) has found.
“Co-location of dental providers in primary care settings can greatly improve accessibility of dental care in several ways,” the team said in a paper published in the September issue of CHPR’s Health Policy Brief. “The co-location model can enable patients to obtain more than one service in a single trip. It can also make it easier for medical providers to screen and refer high-risk patients to dentists who will see them and allow medical and dental providers to easily collaborate case management.”
Equipping and staffing clinics to offer dental care requires additional spending but co-location is an important step to consider, particularly in communities facing shortages of Medicaid dental providers, according to the paper. “The decision by organizations co-locate is likely to have a significant and positive impact on access to dental care and improved oral health of the population,” the study’s authors concluded. Continue reading
More American children are obtaining dental services now than a decade ago. What’s more, a longstanding gap in dental visits has narrowed between publicly- and privately-insured children, according to a new state-by-state analysis of dental utilization trends from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute (HPI).
The picture is far different for adults, who at all income levels are making fewer trips to the dentist. Adults with private coverage remain far more likely to get care than those with Medicaid dental benefits, the study found. Continue reading
Some low-income seniors who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid — the dual eligibles — have the chance to age in place in their communities thanks to Medicaid’s coverage of long term services and supports (LTSS). This is especially important for older adults who are juggling multiple chronic conditions and may require help with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, or eating.
This is a population at high risk for needing expensive institutional care, and is not the preferred site of care for most people. Community-based LTSS avoids institutionalizing many older adults and is a more cost-effective solution to the growing aging population. Continue reading
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2013 and 2014Population Without Health Insurance Coverage by State: 2013 and 2014 (Click to enlarge.)
For the past two months, new data on the rate of the uninsured in the United States have reached what appear to be historic levels.
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released the latest numbers, reporting that the percentage of Americans who were uninsured last year dropped by 2.9 percentage points from 2013, the largest percentage-point decline since 2008.
In an article for Kaiser Health News, Julie Rovner went further, quoting Paul Fronstin, director of health research for the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The decline of almost 3 percent is, “probably the biggest drop ever,” Fronstin said. Continue reading
Photo: Rob via Flickr
Back in May, reporters in Florida stayed busy covering the nightmarish story of a Jacksonville dentist under investigation for Medicaid fraud by the state attorney general’s office.
Howard S. Schneider, who made nearly $4 million from Medicaid over five years, according to state records, gave up his license in the wake of allegations that he had overtreated and abused children. Continue reading
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has brought health coverage to millions of new beneficiaries.
But even with the new benefits, poor adults in many states still are likely to lack dental care. While children are entitled to dental services under Medicaid, in many states, dental benefits for adults are lacking. What’s more, even in states that do offer dental coverage for adults, participating dentists can be extremely hard to find. Continue reading