Tag Archives: opioids

Resources for covering insurance and its role in addiction treatment

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.

Photo: Debora Cartagena/CDC

Health care journalists covering addiction, overdoses, and the heroin epidemic are likely to learn that the health insurance system appears to be part of the problem. That’s what Terry DeMio found on her beat in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Since January 2016, DeMio has been the Cincinnati Enquirer’s heroin epidemic reporter.

Rather than paying for the best medications for drug addicts in need, health insurers often require patients to start with the lowest-cost drugs. Then if the lowest-cost prescription fails, insurers then pay for the next highest-cost drug. Called fail-first or step therapy, this process repeats until the patient finds one that works. Meanwhile, the patient suffers or could die, DeMio said. Continue reading

Comparing the party platforms on health care: Democrats

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.

Photo: Joseph Shemuel via Flickr

Photo: Joseph Shemuel via Flickr

This is part two of our look at what the Republican and Democratic party platforms say about health care issues and their related entitlements. We previously posted on the Republican platform, and today will highlight the Democrat’s document.

As earlier noted, I decided to include significant chunks of the actual documents, as their choice of words, phrases and emphasis can be more illuminating than any summary I could produce. An example: “Democrats believe that health care is a right, not a privilege, and our health care system should put people before profits.” Continue reading

Dental profession weighs in on the opioid abuse epidemic

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: hjl via Flickr

In a “dear colleague” letter to dental professionals last month, American Dental Association President Carol Gomez Summerhays urged dentists to review their prescribing practices and more effectively counsel patients about the safe handling and use of medications, especially opioid painkillers.

Summerhays also urged dentists to consult databases maintained by state-run prescription drug monitoring programs that could help them identify “doctor-shopping patients” whose prescription histories may reveal drug-seeking behavior. Continue reading

Watch surgeon general’s speech at Health Journalism 2016 #AHCJ16

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., (@Surgeon_General) spoke to attendees of Health Journalism 2016 and discussed how his administration will address the overuse of opioids in the United States.

A follow-up blog post will feature Murthy answering journalists’ questions after his prepared talk.

Dental study backs up surgeon general’s concerns about excessive opioid use #AHCJ16

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: Deborah Crowe/AHCJVivek Murthy, M.D., spoke about work to end the opioid epidemic in the United States during his speech at Health Journalism 2016.

Photo: Deborah Crowe/AHCJVivek Murthy, M.D., spoke about efforts to end the opioid epidemic in the United States during his speech at Health Journalism 2016.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has launched a campaign to address an epidemic of opioid addiction that holds two million Americans in its grip. His drive not only focuses upon getting people who are already addicted into treatment, but upon preventing new cases of addiction by appealing to health care professionals – including the nation’s dentists – to consider alternatives when helping patients manage pain.

Addiction can begin with a routine prescription, Murthy has stressed.

“We want people to reach for non-opioids whenever possible,” he told awards luncheon attendees on April 9 during Health Journalism 2016. Continue reading