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Resources: Contest Entries

Search past entries and winners.

Title Affiliation Reporters Year Category
Supplement shell game: The people behind risky pills USA Today Alison Young, John Hillkirk and Shannon Rae Green 2013 Business (large)


Place: First Place

An investigation by USA Today reporter Alison Young revealed that a wide array of dietary supplement companies selling products dangerously spiked with hidden pharmaceuticals are headed by executives with criminal backgrounds and run-ins with regulators. They’re convicted felons, thieves, drug addicts, narcotic sellers and more, the reporting revealed.

And once they enter the lucrative, $30-billion-a-year supplement business, almost anything goes. Criminal turned supplement entrepreneurs have repeatedly put risky products on the market through a changing series of companies as overwhelmed regulators struggled to keep up. Their pills and powders have included everything from a sleep-aid laced with a powerful anti-psychotic drug, to a widely sold workout supplement spiked with a methamphetamine-like chemical never before tested on people.

Judges' comments: With exhaustive and groundbreaking reporting, Alison Young laid bare the hazards posed by dietary supplements taken by thousands of American consumers. Young followed supplement makers through the courts and to Mexico, spoke truth to big distributors like Walmart, government regulators and other in the industry, and demonstrated that there is little effective control over the contents of highly popular and widely distributed supplements. And she got results: Walmart has removed Craze, an energy supplement, from its shelves. Florida investigators are looking into the past of some of the supplement makers. The industry has also taken action.Young’s work represents the best in journalism: A topic that affects a large swath of the population. Original and thorough reporting. Excellent writing. Great multimedia presentation. Impact.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Dirty medicine Fortune Katherine Eban, Doris Burke and Frederik Joelving 2013 Business (large)


Place: Third Place

Indian generic-pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of fraud and other charges and agreed to pay $500 million in fines and penalties. “Dirty Medicine,” based on more than 1,000 confidential company documents and interviews over several years with Ranbaxy staffers, takes readers deep inside the boardroom, offices and labs at the company. Reporter Katherine Eban deciphered reams of complex laboratory documents to learn how the company routinely fabricated tests for its drugs. By obtaining secret company documents, she exposed how Ranbaxy’s top leadership was complicit in the worldwide fraud. Eban’s reporting revealed how ill-equipped the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is to detect the sort of wholesale fraud that Ranbaxy practiced, raising deeply upsetting questions about the safety of the entire U.S. drug supply, which is now 84 percent generic, most of it made overseas. 

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Elizabeth Rosenthal's 2013 Body of Work The New York Times Elisabeth Rosenthal 2013 Beat Reporting


Place: First Place

How could the most ordinary care be so much more expensive in the United States? Why is it so much more costly than in other countries? By examining a series of common medical encounters, "Paying Till It Hurts" dissects the financial incentives and relationships that help create the high prices. The series traces where the money goes.

Judges' comments: Elisabeth Rosenthal shines a light on the absurdities in health care pricing. Something has got to give in this system, and stories like these will inspire people to keep demanding change.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

ADHD nation The New York Times Alan Schwarz 2013 Public Health (large)


Place: Second Place

This series of articles looks at how doctors practice medicine and intensive marketing by the pharmaceutical industry have made the diagnosis of ADHD, and the prescription of drugs with significant risks, alarmingly common.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

The art of eradicating polio Science Magazine Leslie Roberts 2013 Public Health (small)


Place: First Place

The world is close to eradicating polio, but Nigeria, one of just three endemic countries in the world, stands in the way. Children in Nigeria continue to be needlessly paralyzed by a vaccine-preventable disease, and the virus from Nigeria has repeatedly jumped borders and has reinfected more than 20 countries that were previously polio-free. Science spent three days on the road with Nigeria's then-minister of state for health, chronicling his surprisingly personal effort to finally chase the virus from his country.

Judges' comments: Leslie Roberts skillfully explored a widely misunderstood public health story – why is it that many Nigerians refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated against polio? While making the global health implications clear, the article took us to the front lines, where workers (some of whom have died in the effort) encounter people who have so many unmet needs, it is hard for them to comprehend why this one vaccination is the only health measure provided. The piece also offered insight into how Nigeria's minister of state for health appears to be succeeding where so many have failed – while noting that he is stepping away from leading this fight.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Have a heart: Organ donation & transplantation in Louisiana Healthcare Journal of New Orleans Karen Stassi 2013 Consumer/Feature (small)


Place: Third Place

An overview of the process and status of organ donation and transplantation in Louisiana. Karen Stassi reports that the percentage of Louisiana adults that are registered as organ donors, as well as the per capita number of actual donors, far outstrips rates in most of the country and indeed the world. Louisiana’s rate of approximately 35 deceased donors per million population is similar to Spain, which boasts the highest rate of any country in the world. At the same time, in Louisiana about 1,700 people are waiting for organ transplants, 90 percent of them for kidneys.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Step by step: The path to ending child mortality GlobalPost special reports team 2013 Public Health (large)


Place: First Place

Correspondents across Africa and Asia examined what works and what doesn’t in the battle to end the nearly 7 million preventable child deaths that occur each year around the world. Reporters were dispatched to India, Bangladesh, Uganda, Zambia and Myanmar. The multimedia series brought to light untold stories from the most hard-to-reach places: the effects of corruption on malaria control in Uganda, the tension between pneumonia treatment and prevention in Zambia and the shortcomings of neonatal care in India. Investigative pieces from Washington documented how budget cuts threaten global health spending and how a well-intentioned global campaign to end child deaths has been hindered by a lack of coordination and funding.

Judges' comments: A vast and extraordinarily informative survey of child mortality around the world. The scope of the staff reporting is breath-taking and the variety of media used to tell the story make it all the more compelling. Particularly effective was the interactive map showing the number of deaths before age 5 per population for nearly every country in the world. Much of the series is grim but a note of optimism pervades because the survey points to relatively simple fixes in many areas if the public will is there. This report will go a long way toward galvanizing that will.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Rethinking the formula Nature Medicine Roxanne Khamsi 2013 Trade Publications/Newsletters


Place: First Place

Health insurance covers drugs approved by regulatory agencies, but it often doesn't pay for the products known as "medical foods" needed to keep individuals alive and well. This lack of reimbursement means that many who cannot afford these life-saving diets suffer brain deterioration and disability — or worse. This news feature reports on the battle for medical foods and how it could affect the treatment of diseases as diverse as osteoporosis and Alzheimer's.

Judges' comments: The reporter details the high price tag and difficulties patients can have securing life-sustaining "medical foods." Khamsi's thorough research, historical context and examination of market economics raises questions about why "medical food" is not considered a drug, and as such isn't covered by insurance companies. Khamsi expertly weaves all of this together to create a compelling narrative about an underreported but important issue.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

The robot will see you now The Atlantic Jonathan Cohn 2013 Health Policy (small)


Place: First Place

Using the development of IBM's "Watson" computer as a peg, the article considers whether we are on the cusp of a major revolution in medical care – and, if so, whether it would be a change for better or worse. A catalyst for this revolution will be health care reform and the pressure it applies on providers to deliver care at lower costs. In theory, this revolution could help professionals deliver better care – and it could help patients to stay healthy, so they never need medical care. History is littered with examples of such transformations not happening – particularly in health care. And what are the possible downsides? Will insurers use this technology to skimp on care, for example? The article explores these questions, by taking a close-up look at some of the innovations, panning back to see how medical care might already be changing, and then exploring the implications for policy-makers.

Judges' comments: Jonathan Cohn's "The Robot will See You Now" broke new ground in assembling a broad picture of the promising, disruptive power of data and computing technology to improve health care delivery and control its cost. Exhaustive reporting and the unusual clarity of Cohn's writing made an unfamiliar, complex subject easily accessible – and fascinating – to the general reader.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Two Lives: Why Are You Not Dead Yet? Slate Laura Helmuth 2013 Public Health (large)


Place: Third Place

This is an eight-part series examining why life expectancy doubled in the past 150 years. Coverage examines public health initiatives that contributed to the increase, how increased life expectancy changed human society, and death in childbirth and the fight to this day between doctors and midwives. The fourth piece is a quirky list of surprising innovations that increased life expectancy. One piece examines the debate about whether lifespan will continue to increase. An interactive game allows people to go back to a certain year in time, spin the wheel of fate, and see how they likely would have died in that year. A video story presents song/comedy routine send-up of mindless alternative medicine. Finally, the series ends with a collection of readers' emails and Twitter messages about why they aren't dead yet.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Deadly Delays Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff 2013 Investigative (large)


Place: First Place

Nearly every baby born in the United States has blood collected within a day or two of birth to be screened for dozens of genetic disorders. Each year, newborn screening is credited with saving or improving the lives of more than 12,000 babies in the United States. The entire premise of newborn screening is to detect disorders quickly so babies can be treated early, averting death and preventing or limiting brain damage, disability and a lifetime of costly medical care.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that thousands of hospitals — and dozens of state agencies that oversee the programs — are failing America’s children due to an ineffective and unaccountable newborn screening system wracked by deadly delays. As a result, children who should be diagnosed and treated shortly after birth are suffering preventable brain damage, disability and even death — as if they had been born decades before today’s screening tests and treatments were available.

Judges' comments: This team dug into reams of hard-to-acquire state data to find that thousands of hospitals have been failing to screen newborns for genetic diseases, putting those children at risk of serious illness or death. And the government was failing to hold them accountable. We were impressed with how the reporters made this both a local and a national story. Although the reporting was data-driven, the stories of the lives destroyed left a heavy emotional impact on the reader. The series was deeply reported, precisely edited and engagingly packaged. The results were profound: Confronted with data about their own nonperformance – numbers some had never seen before – hospitals immediately acted to improve. Health associations, states and even Congress took action to better monitor the timeliness of newborn screening which, thanks to the series, is poised to become an official measure in the hospital accreditation process.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Overdose ProPublica Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller 2013 Health Policy (large)


Place: Third Place

Overdose is the first full accounting of the damage done by acetaminophen – a medicine marketed for its safety – and the failings of federal officials to act as they confronted increasingly definitive evidence of its danger. The first piece detailed the narrow margin for error in administering acetaminophen, a concern that first surfaced in the late 1970s. They established that McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the unit of Johnson & Johnson that makes Tylenol, had fought for decades against measures meant to safeguard users and that the FDA’s inaction continued for decades The second major piece in the series used the tragic tale of the Hutto family to show how McNeil and the FDA had delayed acting for years to tackle a well-known medical mix-up that had resulted in an untold number of deaths and injuries to infants and children’s over the decades. The third major piece showed how a simple safety valve called a flow restrictor could prevent up to 10,000 visits per year to the emergency room for kids who accidentally get into liquid medicines.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Chronic crisis Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Meg Kissinger 2013 Health Policy (large)


Place: Second Place

This investigation explored why mental health care in Milwaukee County, Wis., is especially ineffective. It found that Milwaukee politicians – for decades – have ignored calls for reform. Doctors are bound by the strictest time constraints in the country, allowing them 24 hours to observe patients considered dangerous., and a data analysis found that people returned for care at an alarming rate. One woman had been seen 196 times in six years, an average of once every 11 days. A big part of this project was to identify ways that the system could improve, requiring travel to other places to look at communities that do a better job.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Overdose ProPublica Jeff Gerth and T. Christian Miller 2013 Consumer/Feature (large)


Place: First Place

Overdose is the first full accounting of the damage done by acetaminophen – a medicine marketed for its safety – and the failings of federal officials to act as they confronted increasingly definitive evidence of its danger. The first piece detailed the narrow margin for error in administering acetaminophen, a concern that first surfaced in the late 1970s. They established that McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the unit of Johnson & Johnson that makes Tylenol, had fought for decades against measures meant to safeguard users and that the FDA’s inaction continued for decades The second major piece in the series used the tragic tale of the Hutto family to show how McNeil and the FDA had delayed acting for years to tackle a well-known medical mix-up that had resulted in an untold number of deaths and injuries to infants and children’s over the decades. The third major piece showed how a simple safety valve called a flow restrictor could prevent up to 10,000 visits per year to the emergency room for kids who accidentally get into liquid medicines.

Judges' comments: Exhaustive reporting, concise writing and heartbreaking videography on a health topic that affects a vast swath of the public all combine to make this ProPublica package a clear winner. More than 10,000 pages of FDA documents, court records and scientific journals going back decades were reviewed for this project, which demonstrates federal and corporate failures to keep families safe from liver failure and death that can be caused by miscalculating safe doses of the over-the-counter drug acetaminophen.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

John Fauber's 2013 Body of Work Milwaukee Journal Sentinel John Fauber 2013 Beat Reporting


Place: Second Place

Three of the stories are part of the Journal Sentinel’s ongoing coverage of financial conflicts of interest and how they have affected the practice of medicine in America. The fourth was an installment in the Journal Sentinel’s “Deadly Delays” series on problems in the nation’s newborn screening system. In one story, Fauber learned that one of the nation’s leading experts on how to safely prescribe narcotic painkillers, such as OxyContin, had as many as 20 overdose deaths among patients at his clinic and was under investigation by the DEA. In another story, Fauber introduced readers to the murky new world of “venture philanthropy,” where for-profit drug companies work hand-in-hand with nonprofit charities to develop new treatments, often with the help of taxpayer money. As part of his ongoing investigations of the opioid epidemic, Fauber examined hundreds of pages of emails detailing a decade-long, cozy relationship between drug company executives and regulators at the FDA. Finally, Fauber looked into state medical labs around the country that are charged with testing blood samples from newborns for various dozens of genetic disorders. He found that labs in 27 states were closed on weekends leading to delays in diagnosing diseases that can cause serious symptoms or deaths in babies.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Supplement shell game: The people behind risky pills USA Today Alison Young, John Hillkirk and Shannon Rae Green 2013 Investigative (large)


Place: Second Place

An investigation by USA Today reporter Alison Young revealed that a wide array of dietary supplement companies selling products dangerously spiked with hidden pharmaceuticals are headed by executives with criminal backgrounds and run-ins with regulators. They’re convicted felons, thieves, drug addicts, narcotic sellers and more, the reporting revealed. And once they enter the lucrative, $30-billion-a-year supplement business, almost anything goes. Criminal turned supplement entrepreneurs have repeatedly put risky products on the market through a changing series of companies as overwhelmed regulators struggled to keep up. Their pills and powders have included everything from a sleep-aid laced with a powerful anti-psychotic drug, to a widely sold workout supplement spiked with a methamphetamine-like chemical never before tested on people.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Life and death in assisted living ProPublica and Frontline A.C. Thompson and Jonathan Jones 2013 Business (large)


Place: Second Place

In contrast to other reports on assisted living, we closely scrutinized the internal mechanics of the nation’s largest provider, Emeritus Senior Living, which is emblematic of the industry’s transformation from grassroots movement to major industry. We reported on the company’s intense drive for profits and cases of suffering of frail seniors in its roughly 500 facilities, revealing for the first time the circumstances surrounding the death of George McAfee, an NFL Hall of Famer with dementia who died after accidentally drinking poisonous dishwashing liquid in what was supposed to be a safe, secure building.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Planning for the end: A look at advance directives in New Hampshire New Hampshire Public Radio Todd Bookman 2013 Consumer/Feature (small)


Place: Second Place

Only one-quarter of adults in New Hampshire have completed advance directive forms, also called living wills, despite efforts by legislators, health care workers and advocates to increase their use. One problem is an outdated, confusing form prescribed in state law that slows the process and, on occasion, precludes out-of-state advance directives from being honored in medical facilities in New Hampshire. This series looked at changes being made to the form, the controversial history of end-of-life care, and also investigated why people remain hesitant to complete the document. It also highlighted some successful efforts around the state to get conversations around death and dying started. The final piece looked at the convoluted legal process some families find themselves in when loved ones haven’t left clear direction for their medical wishes. The stories shared viewpoints of families and doctors facing end-of-life decisions, as well as the pressure health care proxies can face in carrying out those desires.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Life and death in assisted living ProPublica and Frontline A.C. Thompson and Jonathan Jones 2013 Consumer/Feature (large)


Place: Second Place

In contrast to other reports on assisted living, we closely scrutinized the internal mechanics of the nation’s largest provider, Emeritus Senior Living, which is emblematic of the industry’s transformation from grassroots movement to major industry. We reported on the company’s intense drive for profits and cases of suffering of frail seniors in its roughly 500 facilities, revealing for the first time the circumstances surrounding the death of George McAfee, an NFL Hall of Famer with dementia who died after accidentally drinking poisonous dishwashing liquid in what was supposed to be a safe, secure building.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

The course of their lives Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Mark Johnson 2013 Consumer/Feature (large)


Place: Third Place

This feature story follows a group of six first-year students at the Medical College of Wisconsin through the most pivotal course in their quest to become doctors: Gross anatomy. The story takes readers into a world that few will ever know, one where youthful caffeine-chugging doctors-to-be are forced to rethink their goals and ambitions, their views of medicine and the role of doctors, of life and death and what follows. “The Course of Their Lives” ties together the mystery facing the medical students of Table 1 as they struggle to determine what killed the woman whose body they are working on, and story of 80-year-old Geraldine “Nana” Fotsch and how she came to the decision to one day donate her body to be examined by a similar group of students.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Venture philanthropy: A new driver for research Proto Lauren Arcuri Ware 2013 Business (small)


Place: Second Place

Nonprofit foundations for diseases are funding for-profit companies to research treatments and potential cures for their disorders, a trend called "venture philanthropy." Not only are they funding research, they are doing so with a businesslike focus on meeting goals and milestones and, in some cases, with revenue from the resulting drugs being funneled to the foundation for further research. Can these nonprofits be transparent enough to reassure stakeholders that they are not operating on the same capitalist model as pharmaceutical and biotech companies? For instance, the biggest success from venture philanthropy so far is Kalydeco, a new drug that treats 4 percent of cystic fibrosis sufferers with what has been described as a functional cure, developed with funding from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The cost of the drug is high and there are questions about how ethical it is for the CFF to be receiving royalties from its sale.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

When the smoke clears Georgia State University Magazine Sonya Collins 2013 Trade Publications/Newsletters


Place: Third Place

The story explores whether e-cigarettes are a silver bullet for people who want to quit smoking or the latest ploy by Big Tobacco to get more people addicted to nicotine, including kids - how they are characterized will determine how they are regulated and marketed. It took 50 years to find out that cigarettes cause cancer, but we don't have 50 years to find out what the long-term effects of e-cigarettes will be.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Donald G. McNeil Jr.'s 2013 Body of Work The New York Times Donald McNeil 2013 Beat Reporting


Place: Third Place

The stories illustrate four aspects of the beat:

  • How the U.S. AIDS epidemic has become more and more concentrated in gay black and Hispanic men in their teens and 20s.

  • An Argentine auto mechanic who invented a simple, safe device to help mothers in obstructed labor give birth.

  • A little-known tradition at Stanford in which thousands of students get together at midnight under the first full moon and kiss — a custom that raises health considerations the university takes seriously.

  • Pakistan’s battle against polio in the wake of the murders of numerous vaccinators by the Taliban.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Nevada buses hundreds of mentally-ill patients across country The Sacramento Bee Phillip Reese and Cynthia Hubert 2013 Investigative (large)


Place: Third Place

Since July 2008, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas has transported more than 1,500 patients to other cities via Greyhound bus, sending at least one person to every state in the continental United States, according to a Bee review of bus receipts kept by Nevada's mental health division.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

BioBeat Xconomy Luke Timmerman 2013 Business (small)


Place: First Place

Articles looked at why a targeted cancer drug failed, despite evidence that it was effective, challenged the world's leading drugmakers to make a more serious move to disclose all of their clinical trial results, debunked much of the present hype around big data in health care, while showing how it could be usefully applied in the future, and explained an important new change to drug regulatory policy at the FDA.

Judges' comments: Original, incisive and engaging pieces founded on a deep understanding of how the intricate business of health care works.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Suicide epidemic in Montana The Billings Gazette Cindy Uken 2013 Consumer/Feature (small)


Place: First Place

"State of Despair" focused on Montana's epidemic suicide rate, which is twice the national average with more frequent suicides than any other place in the nation. Montana Sen. Max Baucus referenced the series on the floor of the U.S. Senate as he discussed what the government was doing to help curb the rising number of military suicides. One of the most significant findings of the series was that one of the highest rate of suicides in the state was among the elderly, not teenagers, as we suspected when we started the series. All the anecdotal evidence pointed to the suicide rate being highest among teens.

Judges' comments: Cindy Uken’s series on Montana’s sky-high suicide rates was a journalistic tour de force: comprehensive, honest and compassionate. Digging into the appalling statistics, she showed how the elderly, not teens, were most likely to kill themselves. Again and again, Uken succeeded in getting survivors and their relatives to tell their stories, no easy feat given the subject matter.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Sex and dementia in nursing homes Bloomberg News Bryan Gruley, John Brecher and Cecile Daurat 2013 Health Policy (large)


Place: First Place

This series of stories explored the regulatory and legal twists and turns and illustrated how poorly prepared elderly care facilities, regulators and families are for dealing with older people with dementia who want – and have a legal right – to have sex. They begin with a story of a 78-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman, both  with dementia, were found having sex. The home’s administrator and nursing director were fired and the man was forced to leave. The next story illustrated the same dilemmas in reverse with a look at a facililty that has had a written sexuality policy since 1995. And the third story reported exclusively that the AMDA, an organization that represents the medical directors who advise the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes, was urging facilities to consider adopting sexual policies and training.

Judges' comments: Sex is important, but hard to talk about. Our parents having sex is harder to talk about. Policies about consent for sex between elderly people with dementia in care facilities are monstrously difficult to devise. Not surprisingly, coverage of the subject is rare. This series did not shrink from these challenges, offering fresh perspective on an under-reported topic. With careful reporting and balanced writing that delicately navigated clashing positions of science, morality and regulation, this series not only revealed the trauma that can result from sexual encounters between dementia patients, it sparked public awareness and an industry association response that encourages better policies and more training.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Telltale hearts Nature Medicine Jeanne Erdmann 2013 Trade Publications/Newsletters


Place: Second Place

Genetic testing of the dead for inherited heart rhythm disorders could resolve about one third of sudden death cases that would otherwise remain unexplained – and potentially save lives of surviving family members – if only the tests were used more often. Hearts rhythm disorders kill without leaving a mark, and leave behind a family facing two tragedies, an unresolved death, and perhaps a high risk that that they, too, could succumb to the same fate. Adding to the heartache, the sudden death of a young person with no apparent cause often comes to the attention of law enforcement, and the family comes under suspicion. This issue is fraught with challenges. Blood samples at autopsy that could provide such information are rarely saved. Autopsy thoroughness varies widely across the U.S., from an exam by a county coroner, which likely ends with toxicology, to a full-on workup by a cardiac pathologist that includes the latest genetic analyses. Perhaps the largest hurdle in this complicated issue is finding a way to pay for the genetic testing.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Getting stuck Houston Press Dianna Wray 2013 Business (small)


Place: Third Place

Memorial Hermann, the largest nonprofit in Houston, was pursuing lawsuits in civil court against uninsured patients who failed to pay. The story highlights how some medical systems are called nonprofits even though the systems don't function like nonprofits, to the point of suing poor and uninsured patients.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Exploring our microbes NPR Rob Stein, Jane Greenhalgh and Joe Neel 2013 Consumer/Feature (large)


Place: Third Place

This NPR series explores one of the hottest fields of scientific research today: the "human microbiome." Scientists increasingly believe that the trillions of microbes that live in and on the human body play crucial roles in our health and well-being. The bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms inhabiting the human body help keep us healthy and may contribute to making us sick when they get disturbed. In a six-part series, NPR Correspondent Rob Stein explains how scientific thinking shifted from assuming microbes were generally our enemies to appreciating that many are more friend than foe.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

The cost of diabetes Corpus Christi Caller-Times Rhiannon Meyers 2013 Public Health (small)


Place: Second Place

Although Type 2 diabetes long has been a problem in Corpus Christi, Texas, the community has failed to find sustainable solutions to the epidemic. Meanwhile, one in six people have the disease and non-traumatic below-the-knee amputation rates are among the highest in the nation. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times embarked on a yearlong series, led by reporter Rhiannon Meyers, to find out why Type 2 diabetes and the rates of diabetes-related complications remain so persistently high; what effect has there been on residents, economy and health care, what can be done about the problem and to educate the public.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Other than honorable (Colorado Springs) Gazette David Philipps 2013 Investigative (small)


Place: First Place

In 2013, after a decade of war, the Army was kicking out more soldiers than ever before for minor misconduct, including injured combat veterans. Among combat troops, these other-than-honorable discharges had surged more than 67 percent since 2009. Many of these troops had so-called “invisible injuries” such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder that made them more likely to get in trouble. An other-than-honorable discharge stripped them of VA benefits for life, which meant the troops who needed help the most were least likely to get it. 

Judges' comments: This series brought to life a little-known form of Army discipline that has left thousands of veterans without medical benefits as they suffer the effects of fighting for our country. The stories provided example after example of outrageous cases, prompting changes at the local, state and federal levels.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Children are dying Washingtonian Magazine Alexandra Robbins 2013 Investigative (small)


Place: Second Place

This special report broke the story of a public health crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of people: a nationwide shortage of IV nutrients so drastic that hospitals were hoarding, rationing, and bartering them in order to keep patients from dying. Across the country, patients were developing nutrient deficiencies severe enough that doctors were seeing complications normally found only in the developing world.

Robbins found discrepancies in FDA statements and delved into medical mysteries, U.S. and foreign drug policies, and the complicated economics of sterile drug manufacturing to determine how these problems could happen in 21st-century America when they were not happening abroad. Robbins also wrote a follow-up article to bring the issue to the attention of a different demographic of readers. She traced the sources of IV nutrients used for non-medical cosmetic IVs that celebrities (and others) purchased to look better before photo shoots or to treat hangovers. Her investigation revealed that the popular “vitamin drip” trend was indeed using resources that hospital and home care patients desperately needed.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Bitter pills The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer John Ramsey 2013 Health Policy (small)


Place: Second Place

This five-day series on prescription painkillers set out to explain why and how a national problem is intensified in Fayetteville, N.C., home to the world’s largest Army installation and a large VA Medical Center. Reporter John Ramsey found that prescription painkillers contributed to 95 deaths in Cumberland County between 2008 and 2011, more than the previous eight years combined. At the Fayetteville VA Medical Center, prescriptions for the painkiller hydrocodone spiked by 4,100 percent from 2000 to 2011. The total number of prescriptions for the powerful painkiller oxycodone rose 272 percent in the Fayetteville region. Along with the surge in prescriptions came a new wave of addiction, crime and overdose deaths.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Special report: Scientists critical of EU chemical policy have industry ties Environmental Health News Brian Bienkowski and Stéphane Horél 2013 Investigative (small)


Place: Third Place

A months-long investigation by EHN revealed that scientists who have criticized plans in Europe to regulate hormone-disrupting chemicals have past or current financial ties to regulated industries. The stakes are high in the controversy because it involves the European Union's strategy to regulate these chemicals – the first attempt in the world to do so. The new rules would have sweeping, global ramifications for companies that manufacture or use high-volume substances such as bisphenol A. The investigation showed that the scientists (all editors of science journals) who attacked the EU plan have collaborated with chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, tobacco, pesticide or biotechnology companies.

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Understanding Obamacare The Roanoke (Va.) Times Laurence Hammack and David Ress 2013 Health Policy (small)


Place: Third Place

This is an occasional series that examines how the Affordable Care Act is impacting the people, patients and health care providers of southwest Virginia. Each installment of the series was based on the story of a local resident, weaving personal experiences with the policy implications of a variety of elements of the ACA: The proposed Medicaid expansion in Virginia, the insurance marketplaces, the individual mandate, outreach efforts by navigators, problems with the marketplace website, how a physician shortage could grow worse under the law, and a look at how people with pre-existing conditions will benefit from the law.

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Mental Health Insurance Parity: When a law isn't a law PsychCentral.com Christine Stapleton 2012 Health Policy (small)

Passage of Paul Wellstone & Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008 was the greatest medical civil rights victory in our generation. But today, the law -- which requires insurance companies to provide equal coverage for mental and physical illnesses -- has yet to be implemented. Why? Because regulators have failed to write rules on how the law should be enacted and enforced. Parity proponents blame the insurance companies for the delay. Until the rules are in place, they say, the insurance industry has little to fear and the mentally ill have nothing to gain.

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Despite Death Toll, Motorcycle Groups Strive to Muzzle U.S. Regulators FairWarning (www.fairwarning.org) Rick Schmitt 2012 Public Health (large)

Motorcycle accidents, year after year, claim more lives. Even though road fatalities overall have fallen to historic lows, deaths from motorcycle crashes have more than doubled in the last 15 years. Nevertheless, biker groups -- contending that helmet laws curtail personal freedom -- have succeeded in thwarting such requirements and other safety regulation. This story focuses on the political power of the motorcycle rider lobby -- in Congress and in state legislatures -- in blocking, repealing or narrowing requirements for riders to wear helmets. Federal officials estimate that helmets saved 1,483 lives in 2009, and that another 732 deaths could have been avoided if all riders had worn them. The social costs of the lack of laws or regulations also are huge: a 2008 federal estimate concluded that $1.3 billion in medical bills and lost productivity would have been saved if all bikers had worn helmets.

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State of Despair The Billings Gazette Billings, MT Cindy Uken 2012 Public Health (small)

For Montanans suffering with mental health issues, accessing care in the vast, remote state can be especially devastating. Compounding the problem is the state's severe shortage of psychiatrists. The wait for a new patient can be nine months to a year. It is against this backdrop that people kill themselves with greater frequency than any other place in the nation and at twice the national average. Montana has had one of the highest suicide rates in the nation for more than three decades and it shows no signs of slowing. The highest rate of suicide in the state is among American Indians, 27.2 per 100,000; followed by Caucasians at 22.2 per 100,000. For 2010-2011, there were 38 American Indian suicides, compared to 410 Caucasian suicides. American Indians make up 7 percent of the Montana population. Until recently, there has been little public conversation about it and little public awareness. This story covers the suicide epidemic in Montana.

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Carol Ostrom's 2012 Body of Work The Seattle Times Carol Ostrom 2012 Beat Reporting


Place: Honorable Mention

Ostrom's collection of work includes a look at the "facility fee" imposed on patients seen in clinics and doctors' offices operated by hospitals, the increasing use of costly surgical robot, a 30-year story of a cystic-fibrosis breakthrough and a local study that found early signs of autism in babies' brains and allowed Ostrom a chance to look broadly at the state of autism research.

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Bringing Andrea back from brain injury: A father's story TODAY.com Bill R. Briggs; Jim Seida 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

The night TODAY.com writer Bill Brigg's 20-year-old daughter was severely brain injured in a car accident, he made a vow to her -- to would bring her through it, all the way. His piece, "Bringing Andrea back from brain injury: A father's story," recounts how he is essentially raising his daughter a second time as she relearns how to talk and walk and rediscovers who she is. His honest account weaves memories of her birth and teen years with the realities of today as they face an uncertain future. Senior multimedia producer Jim Seida spent nine days with the Briggs family over several months to create two web documentary-style videos that published with the text story. 

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Medical marijuana The Seattle Times Maureen O'Hagan; Jonathan Martin 2012 Health Policy (large)

This two-part project examined the shady corners of Washington's unregulated medical marijuana industry. "Under the guise of medicine," the project concluded, "the party has already started." The stories described the unusual history of Washington's 14-year experiment with medical marijuana, including the recent emergence of storefront dispensaries and failed attempts to regulate the emerging industry. The resulting "gray market," the stories found, was a magnet for people with criminal histories or questionable business backgrounds. In fact, one in five marijuana business owners identified by the Seattle Times had a felony arrest record. The stories also reported for the first time the scope of the industry, finding there were more medical marijuana businesses (150) than Starbucks locations in Seattle, yet just 50 medical marijuana businesses statewide paid the required taxes. One storefront reported $2.25 million in gross sales. The stories also detailed self-policing efforts within the medical marijuana industry, including a voluntary set of standards. The second-day story focused on the scant regulations within the marijuana-infused food and beverage market. No state or local agency inspects kitchens used to manufacture these so-called "medibles" products, leading many people within the industry to fear the potential for food-borne illness.

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Cracking the health integration code HealthPolicySolutions.org Katie Kerwin McCrimmon 2012 Health Policy (small)

This story reports on 11 clinics and health systems around Colorado that have been experimenting with the integration of medical and mental health. While some of the largest systems have struggled the most, ironically, a tiny clinic in a remote Colorado town is having the greatest success at melding the very divergent systems of physical and behavioral health. Reporters traveled to Cortez, Colo. to learn how they're trying to spark a revolution in health care.

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The Crushing Cost of Care The Wall Street Journal Janet Adamy and Tom McGinty 2012 Health Policy (large)


Place: First Place

The story showed how Scott Crawford, a 41-year-old heart transplant recipient in Maryland, became one of the most expensive Americans on Medicare. The Wall Street Journal used a Medicare database and health records to chronicle his 10-month stay in intensive care and offer a window into the forces driving up health spending. The analysis of Medicare's billing records found that a sliver of expensive patients account for the majority of the program's cost. The story illustrates the tense fight between doctors, nurses and his family over whether to keep Crawford alive as his condition deteriorated.

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Public housing project a national model for supporting health HealthPolicySolutions.org Katie Kerwin McCrimmon 2012 Public Health (small)

Denver's La Alma neighborhood was the cradle for the Latino Civil Rights movement in the city, but it is also one of the poorest and most violent areas in Denver. The health picture in this neighborhood is bleak. More than 55 percent of residents are overweight or obese. More than 38 percent report a health condition that prevents them from working, such as asthma, diabetes or heart problems. Three-quarters have high blood pressure. Few eat a healthy diet and only one-in-four residents exercise at least three times a week. In addition to a health metric tool, public housing managers and their consultants conducted a formal Health Impact Assessment. This is a relatively new tool being used in community planning in Colorado. HealthPolicySolutions.org investigates whether the changes in this neighborhood are having an impact on residents and will be useful as a blueprint for other public housing projects or other low-income communities.

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Marijuana harms teen brain, increases addiction risk HealthPolicySolutions.org Katie Kerwin McCrimmon; Rebecca Jones; Burt Hubbard 2012 Investigative (small)

This three-month investigation on the impacts of medical marijuana on young people found that schools in Colorado have seen a 45 percent increase in drug violations over the past four years as the state's medical marijuana industry has exploded. Marijuana storefronts opened at more than 700 locations in recent years, some yards away from schools where students flowed out into the streets over lunch and before and after school. Interviews with school officials and dozens of young people uncovered a dramatic change in attitudes among young people. Teens claimed that marijuana is healthy and boosts their performance in school. They said it's easy to get, cheap and more potent than street weed. Many said they seek out high-grade "organic" medical marijuana and can get it from older siblings, friends who work at grow facilities or parents' stashes. Contrary to perceptions among young people, this investigation found that marijuana use harms teen brain development and that young people who try marijuana in their teens have a greater chance of addiction that those who use marijuana as adults.

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Beyond 7 Billion Los Angeles Times Kenneth R. Weiss 2012 Public Health (large)

Population pressures affect every aspect of society's health and well-being. Hunger, poverty, disease, civil unrest, environmental decay and rapid population growth are interconnected in the fast-growing developing world. Women's access to contraceptives and other reproductive health services are common threads that run throughout these vexing problems.

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Biology of Addiction WCPN 90.3 FM Anne Glausser; WCPN 90.3 FM; 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

There are many types of addiction, some that involve substances like drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes as well as those that involve behaviors such as gambling or sex. All share common attributes that are compulsive, persistent and harmful. Science has discovered they also share a common biology in the brain. Any addiction taps into pathways deep inside the brain that give pleasure. This story explores addiction as part of an ongoing health information series, Be Well. Health reporter Anne Glausser begins by explaining how an essential chemical in the brain becomes problematic in addiction.

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Sidelined: Concussions in Sports KVIE Public Television Kelly Elizabeth Peterson-Janusiewicz; Tim Walton; Martin Christan 2012 Public Health (large)

Sidelined: Concussions in Sports focuses on youth, high school and professional sports and concussions. Former NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers George Visger opens up about his concussions. Visger played for the team in 1980 and suffered a severe concussion that left him with nine brain surgeries. He opens up about his challenges and memory loss. Baseline testing has been done in the NFL for years. In California, it is now being used in high school and some youth sports. Some of significant findings in the program are you don't have to be hit on the head to get concussion. You can actually get concussed if you are hit hard enough on any part of your body. There's also a concussion consortium that consists of doctors and business leaders from all of the major hospitals in Northern California. Politics and competition aside, they are teaming up and trying to protect athletes on and off the field by educating school districts about baseline testing. They are hoping this grassroots effort goes national.

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Expansion, Competition, And Consequences: The Health Care Industry In Northeast Ohio WCPN 90.3 FM (ideastream) Brian Bull; WCPN 90.3 FM; 2012 Business (large)

There's no doubt change is coming to the healthcare industry whether or not the Obama Administration's health reform law is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Hospital executives in Northeast Ohio expect it will accelerate the fierce competition, expansion and consolidation that's already reshaping the healthcare landscape there.

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Robo Docs: Use of costly surgical robots booming The Seattle Times Carol Ostrom 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story looks at the much-hyped da Vinci surgical robot, which gives surgeons new abilities, but also costs a pile and can cause serious injuries in the hands of those not well trained. The sidebar is a frank look at the realities of medical economics that forced a tiny, small-town hospital to purchase a robot that cost twice as much as its net revenue.

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Why you might pay twice for one visit to doctor The Seattle Times Carol Ostrom 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story explains the baffling and unwelcome "facility fee" charge imposed on patients seen in clinics and doctors' offices operated by hospitals ¬-- an increasingly common practice as hospitals consolidate and buy private practices. Findings included how much the practice has increased costs of health care and that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission was recommending a change.

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Fighting Diabetes in Fayette County Pittsburgh Business Times Kris B. Mamula 2012 Public Health (small)

The story provides both an overview of the diabetes problem in southwest Pennsylvania, but also an intimate look at patient noncompliance issues that make solving the problem so difficult.

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Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Wash., tries new approach -- suspensions drop 85% ACEsTooHigh.com is a niche news site that covers epidemiological research and consequences of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and how trauma-informed practices are being implemented in education, social services, criminal justice, businesses and com Jane Ellen Stevens 2012 Public Health (large)

The students who attend Lincoln High School, an alternative high school, are the community's "throw-away" kids -- the most difficult students in the Walla Walla, Wash., community. After its principal learned about the CDC's Adverse Childhood Experiences Study -- the largest epidemiological study you never heard of -- and neurobiological research, he decided to tackle school discipline as a health issue. He took a revolutionary trauma-informed approach to reduce school suspensions and expulsions. In one year, suspensions dropped 85%.

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Hospital-acquired infections: Status report Pittsburgh Business Times Kris B. Mamula; Anya Litvak 2012 Public Health (small)

Using state health department data, the Pittsburgh Business Times was able to track the progress local hospitals had made in preventing hospital-acquired infections. Although the statewide rate was down, the rates were up significantly at some local hospitals.

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Invisible nation, enduring ills The Oregonian Bill Graves 2012 Public Health (large)

The Oregonian focused on the often-overlooked minority of urban Native Americans and their enduring health disparities. Portland has one of the largest percentage of Native Americans in urban America. Each story focused on the health issues that debilitate all people, but are especially a problem in the Native community: diabetes; the traumas that fracture health; risky pregnancies; and solutions that have bubbled up in unlikely places.

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BioBeat Xconomy Luke Timmerman 2012 Beat Reporting

These four stories focus on the biomedical and biotech industries.

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American Indian Youth at Risk: Tribes Grapple with Suicide Epidemic Indian Country Today Media Network Stephanie Anea Woodard 2012 Public Health (small)

Native teens and twenty-somethings kill themselves at a rate least 3.5 times higher than other Americans, according to the Indian Health Service (IHS). Tribes have declared states of emergency, and the federal government gave nearly half of a recent round of major suicide-prevention grants to tribal organizations. I spoke to Native people working on the issue in communities around the nation. This story covers prevention activities on Zuni, Navajo, and three Sioux reservations and at a meeting of policymakers in Washington, D.C. It touches on tensions between traditional Native prevention efforts and assimilation with modern medical communities.

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No Small Thing Poughkeepsie Journal Mary Beth Pfeiffer 2012 Public Health (small)

This series challenges the mainstream medical dogma on Lyme disease. In rigorously documented articles, Projects Writer Mary Beth Pfeiffer concludes that the major actors in this public health scandal -- chiefly the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Infectious Disease Society of America -- have minimized and mismanaged a burgeoning epidemic of tick-borne disease at great harm to thousands of infected people. These two powerful institutions have relied on a body of incomplete and sometimes flawed medical research to foster the notion that Lyme disease is easy to diagnose and easy to cure.

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Genetic testing: Would you want to know? USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers Janice Naylor Lloyd 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story approaches the complex issues a family faces when one of its members decides to undergo genetic testing. In this family's case, a daughter decides to test for Huntington's disease when she turns 18. The story examines how genetic testing is becoming more popular (and less expensive) for millions of people who want to know their risk for developing all kinds of diseases.

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Dr. Lapook goes to Washington: Cancer drug shortages CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley Amy Burkholder; Jonathan Lapook, M.D.; Michael cesario 2012 Beat Reporting

Legislation to alleviate drug shortages, including critical cancer drugs for children, languished in committee on capitol hill for nearly two years. The rub: it had support from both houses of congress, and Republicans and Democrats. CBS News posed the question to senators, house members, and the congressional leadership: with no one opposed, why can't you get this done? Within weeks of the CBS report, legislation was passed mandating drug companies warn the FDA of pending drug shortages, including the childrens' leukemia drug methotrexate. Members of the medical community, including Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the American Association for Cancer Research, and members of congress applauded CBS News for bringing the issue into focus and facilitating action.

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Stem Cells for ALS: Inside a Clinical Trial WebMD Miranda Hitti; Dan DeNoon; Damon Meharg 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

As part of a special project on stem cells, this story strived to illustrate the human side of research. What is it like to be part of a clinical trial? How does it feel to be a researcher searching for the next big breakthrough? What motivates someone to take part, especially if it's risky? To do so, WebMD followed ALS patient John Jerome as he took part in a stem cell clinical trial that put him at significant personal risk for little to no personal gain. The report found far more than science: a patient willing to put his life on the line to benefit others more than himself. A neurologist whose work with thousands of ALS patients left him feeling compelled him to study what, if any, potential stem cells had against ALS. All of this was set against a backdrop of bogus stem cell "treatments" touted online that are little more than a mirage based on false hope.

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Insurance Capital: Covering Health Insurers The Hartford Courant; www.courant.com Matthew W. Sturdevant 2012 Beat Reporting

This beat covers health insurers that have major operations in the Connecticut, including UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Cigna. It also examines the industry they are in, the health policy that affects their businesses and the way it affects how people buy health insurance. This year was very newsy because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, the election and insurers preparing for federal changes in health care law.

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Medicine Man Bloomberg Markets Andrea Gerlin, Allison Connolly and Stryker McGuire 2012 Business (small)


Place: Second Place

The European Union's single market, combined with a lack of political integration, has had unexpected results in the sale of pharmaceuticals. In "Medicine Man," Bloomberg reporter Andrea Gerlin shows these surprises in her profile of EurimPharm CEO Andreas Mohringer published in Bloomberg Markets. While the European Commission approves drugs for sale across the 27-nation bloc, individual nations still play the dominant role in setting prices, leading to a wide variation in drug prices across the EU. Gerlin reports,it also created opportunities for entrepreneurs such as Mohringer to buy inexpensive products in one market and sell them in another at a higher price. Gerlin's article also illuminates the anomalies in drug company pricing. As Mohringer points out, the parallel trade would dry up if pharmaceutical makers priced drugs consistently across Europe. Gerlin shows how the Austrian pharmacist undercut drug companies' prices on their own products to build a business so successful that it provided the means to indulge his love of rare Ferraris.

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Homefront Beat USA TODAY Gregg Zoroya 2012 Beat Reporting

Homefront Beat focuses on the physical and mental impact of war on troops and their families.

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The Children Who Change Overnight The Boston Globe Neil Swidey 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story explored the whether a common childhood infection such as strep can cause raging OCD in kids, transforming them literally overnight. It covers research on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections, also known as PANDAS.

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Boomers crossing into golden years are boon to hearing aid industry Ventura County Star Kim Rochelle Gregory 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

Baby boomers crossing into their senior years and the general aging of America has created a growing demand for expensive hearing aids. There are many qualified hearing aid dispensers, but the field is fertile for those who want to take advantage of seniors who need hearing aids. The California Department of Consumer Affairs is seeing an increase in the number of hearing aid dispensers they are investigating, including one in Ventura County who had several complaints against him involving, among other things, not following state law about returning hearing aids for a full refund within 30 days. Medicare does not cover hearing aids, so this piece also aimed at informing seniors about who and who is not qualified to dispense hearing aids, and what rights they have once they've made this signficant purchase.

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Burned by Health Warnings, Embattled Tanning Industry Assails Doctors, 'Sun Scare' Industry FairWarning; co-published at nine other outlets, including NBCNews.com, The Kansas City Star and Mother Jones. Bridget Huber 2012 Investigative (large)

This story looks at the efforts by the $4.9 billion indoor tanning industry to defend itself against mounting evidence of the harm caused by sunbeds. The story documents the industry's attempts to discredit doctors and cancer experts, mislead customers, portray tanning indoors as healthful and cultivate a grass-roots network of pro-tanning activists to promote sunbeds and fight attempts at greater regulation. It also exposes the links between the indoor tanning industry and an network of nonprofit Vitamin D advocacy groups that promote the vitamin as a panacea for ailments ranging from breast cancer to autism, though evidence for these claims is inconclusive at best. These groups push sunbeds as a healthy way to get the vitamin, often without disclosing their industry ties.

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Abuse of Brain Injured Americans in Florida Scandalizes U.S. Bloomberg News David Armstrong 2012 Investigative (large)

This story uncovered a decades-long history of death, abuse and neglect at one of the largest and most expensive brain-injury rehabilitation facilities in the country. Bloomberg discovered that at least five patients died from abuse or neglect at the facility since 1998 and that hundreds of complaints of mistreatment had been filed with state regulators.

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Employees look for answers OPUBCO Communications Group / The Oklahoman Paula Burkes 2012 Business (large)

This story covers two Oklahoma City startups: one that offers fee-for-service medical care and another that offers an Internet-based patient-doctor wellness product that's been proven to cut costs through better managed care. These start-ups are examined against the backdrop of the Affordable Care Act and health insurance options being weighed by employers with key mandates a little more than a year away.

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Dying Wishes The Boston Globe Scott Helman 2012 Health Policy (large)

The story captured the unprecedented, emotional debate in Massachusetts over whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide, a question activists had succeeded in putting on the Election Day ballot for 2012. The piece used personal stories -- from a woman whose father died peacefully after taking a lethal prescription in Oregon, to a veteran end-of-life care nurse -- to illuminate the potential costs and benefits of legalization.

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High risk insurance pool bridges gaps for babies OPUBCO Communications Group / The Oklahoman Paula Burkes 2012 Business (large)

The initial story highlighted a gap in medical coverage, specifically child-only insurance policies, for babies younger than a year old. The gap was sparked by the passage of health care reform. When the federal government mandated guaranteed coverage for children under 19 regardless of pre-existing conditions, all insurers in Oklahoma and most nationwide -- afraid of the financial risk especially with critically ill newborns -- refused to write any new child-only insurance polices. To address the gap, Oklahoma's governor signed an emergency order, allowing insurers to decided at what age they can begin coverage. Two returned to the market for children 1 to 19, but that left the infants still uncovered. Ultimately, the board of the Oklahoma High Risk Pool voted to provide immediate medical insurance for babies younger than a year old, regardless of health.

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Trade talk: Now's the time to make prudent health choices OPUBCO Communications Group / The Oklahoman Paula Burkes 2012 Health Policy (large)

More and more employers are considering salary-based models for health insurance premiums, especially as they look toward 2014, when employers with more than 50 workers must offer premiums that don't exceed 9.5 percent of their household incomes. Varying employee premium contributions by salary can keep lower-wage workers' costs under that threshold.

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What's It Like Series The Oklahoman Jaclyn Cosgrove 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

The What's It Like series is a weekly feature that explains basic medical procedures or other health-related services. Each week, an article appears in the newspaper and a video appears online explaining whatever it is that The Oklahoman is featuring that week.

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Horrific wounds USA TODAY Gregg Zoroya 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This is the story of one soldier who becomes a triple amputee and how the military medical system struggled to keep him alive. The goal was to illustrate for the general public what military doctors say is the most destructive wound pattern the Afghanistan war or any other conflict has produced -- the damage caused by stepping on or near a makeshift bomb buried in the ground. The weapon is the number one killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and has led to a record number of multiple amputations, as this story reveals. Doctors consider it the most challenging wound to treat. The package also includes a sidebar on an emerging illness that targets these direly wounded troops -- invasive fungal infection.

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Oklahoma city man continues his slow recovery from West Nile virus The Oklahoman Jaclyn Cosgrove 2012 Public Health (large)

Oklahoma was one of the states hit hardest by West Nile this year. This story followed someone who had been affected, rather than just reporting statistics. Bob Matthews almost died from West Nile virus, but he has continued to push to recover fully.

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Medical Billing: A World of Hurt The Plain Dealer Sarah Jane Tribble and Dave Davis 2012 Business (large)


Place: Second Place

Plain Dealer reporters Dave Davis and Sarah Jane Tribble explored the world of medical billing and revealed the business side of medicine that doesn't work for patients. Through monthly stories, including one special section, Plain Dealer readers learned how hundreds of people are involved in the creation of a single patient's bill, and the potential for error inherent in the process. They read how patients' suffering often starts all over again after leaving a hospital's care, as confusion and anger over hospital billing are often overwhelming. The Plain Dealer also revealed common pricing strategies, such as the extra facility fees that are commonly charged just because a doctor's office is part of a larger health system.

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Motivational journalism WBUR's CommonHealth blog Carey Beth Goldberg 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

CommonHealth's coverage of exercise is based on the conviction that in an era when the diseases of sedentary life arguably pose a greater health danger than any other factor, it is not enough merely to inform readers about fitness; the virtuous journalist must aim to actually motivate them to exercise. These two exercise posts represent a sampling from among dozens that perform a dual purpose: to inform and engage, and to get people moving.

'The Conversation Project' aims to motivate readers to talk with their loved ones about end-of-life care by setting an example. 'Flunking the Insanity Workout But Coming Away Wiser' offers a much needed reality check for the hard-sell infomercials that have made 'Insanity' the nation's best-selling DVD, but also offers a positive message about learning from various workouts. 'Ten Joys of Weight Machines: Sex, Anger, Bacon And More' attempts to persuade readers to strength-train as prescribed.

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Neglecting the Brain Injured Bloomberg News David Armstrong 2012 Beat Reporting

These stories revealed a disturbing pattern of abuse and mistreatment of severely brain-injured people in the United States. At one of the largest rehabilitation facilities in the country, Bloomberg uncovered a decades-long history of death, abuse and neglect. Another story reported on thousands of other brain-injured patients warehoused in nursing homes with little or no treatment and in conditions that ranged from filthy to dangerous.

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Drugs Plague Kentucky Infants The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal Laura Ungar 2012 Public Health (large)


Place: Third Place

As part of six-installment series on prescription drug addiction in Kentucky, medical writer Laura Ungar examined the exploding problem of babies born suffering from drug withdrawal because of their mothers' addictions. Hospitalizations for Kentucky babies born addicted to drugs – primarily prescription pills – rose 2,400 percent in just over a decade, from 29 in 2000 to 730 in 2011.The stories not only detailed the numbers but also showed the human impact – babies who cry almost non-stop, sucking desperately on pacifiers to soothe themselves as they suffer through painful drug withdrawal. The stories also examined the difficulties pregnant addicts have in getting the help they need.

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Untreated and Unsafe Bloomberg News Tom Moroney 2012 Beat Reporting

Untreated & Unsafe underscores the human cost of the failing mental health care system in the U.S. People are dying -- not just the mentally ill but those around them -- because state hospitals are continuing to close, acute-care hospital stays are shrinking and laws designed to keep people on their medicine involuntarily are largely ignored. This series aims higher than the familiar warnings from advocates and others who frame the toll of hospital-bed and service cuts as issues that will sooner or later catch up with us. These stories profile those who have already died and their families who have struggled to take care of them in the face of bureaucratic parsimony and indifference. Bloomberg News reveals 64 people with mental illness or mental-health issues had been fatally shot by police in 2012. That's about three times the number police indicated in a 2009 U.S. Department of Justice survey, the last year for which statistics are available.

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Head Games Miller-McCune (Now called Pacific Standard) Beryl Lieff Benderly 2012 Health Policy (small)

Through the work and experience of Perry Cohen, Ph.D., a health evaluation expert who has Parkinson's disease and in the past decade has become an international advocate for improved treatment of the disease, "Head Games" critiques the clinical trial model currently used in the United States to test experimental Parkinson's treatments. Cohen and others recommend more dynamic clinical trial designs that incorporate the new knowledge of the placebo effect in Parkinson's as a more effective way to advance research on new treatments.

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Playing With Fire Chicago Tribune Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne 2012 Investigative (large)


Place: Third Place

The Chicago Tribune's series revealed how a decades-long campaign by the chemical and tobacco industries brought toxic flame retardants into our homes and into our bodies, despite the fact that these dangerous chemicals don't even work as promised. The investigation found a lobbyist planted with the National Association of State Fire Marshals, a phony consumer group that stoked the public's fear of fire to protect and expand the use of flame retardants, lies told by a noted burn surgeon who served as a star witness for the manufacturers of flame retardants before state legislatures, the industry's distortortions of findings in a study and a government agency that wasnt' testing crib mattresses for chemicals.

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When Sex Gives More Pain Than Pleasure Harvard Women's Health Watch Debra Bradley Ruder; Carolyn R. Schatz; 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Millions of women experience pain before, during, or after sexual intercourse, but they often suffer in silence. Dyspareunia (as it is called) can be caused by hormonal changes, various medical or nerve conditions, emotional factors or a combination of these factors. Treatments range from vaginal estrogen to counseling to pelvic floor physical therapy to self-care approaches such as lubricants, extended foreplay and gentle washing. Although estrogen loss is a major culprit in sexual pain among postmenopausal women, recent research shows that vestibulodynia -- a form of unexplained and persistent pain in the vulvar area -- may be more common than previously thought.

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CLIA Enforcement Ensnares Clinical Labs The Dark Report, a division of The Dark Group, Inc., Spicewood, Texas Joseph P Burns; Robert L. Michel; 2012 Investigative (small)

The Dark Report published an entire issue of the newsletter on Aug. 6 on efforts by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue severe sanctions against clinical laboratories for even minor and inadvertent errors in proficiency tests. The case CMS brought against the clinical laboratory at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was the basis for our reporting. This story explains that experts believed CMS' enforcement efforts were severe, particularly given that the OSUWMC lab PT errors were inadvertent, the lab self-reported the errors and no patients were harmed. Since then, Congress has passed and President Obama has signed the TEST Act to give CMS more latitude when enforcing PT rules, and the president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association has said reporting on this case was significant in helping members of Congress to understand the issue.

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Indoor Tanning Tied to 170,000 Skin Cancers Annually ABCNews.com Julielynn Wong 2012 Public Health (large)

By comparing the data linking indoor tanning and skin cancer, researchers estimated that the activity may account for more than 170,000 cases of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas in the United States each year.

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Untreated and Unsafe Bloomberg News Tom Moroney 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

The title of this series -- Untreated & Unsafe -- underscores the human cost of the failing mental health care system in the U.S. People are dying, and not just the mentally ill but those around them, because state hospitals are continuing to close, acute-care hospital stays are shrinking and laws designed to keep people on their medicine involuntarily are largely ignored. This series aims higher than the familiar warnings from advocates and others who frame the toll of hospital-bed and service cuts as issues that will sooner or later catch up with us. These stories profile those who have already died and their families who have struggled to take care of them in the face of bureaucratic parsimony and indifference. Bloomberg News reveals 64 people with mental illness or mental-health issues had been fatally shot by police in 2012. That's about three times the number police indicated in a 2009 U.S. Department of Justice survey, the last year for which statistics are available.

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Animals That Heal Charlotte Magazine Beth Howard; Richard Thurmond; 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This article showcases the therapuetic roles animals play in health and healing in Charlotte, N.C.

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Pandora's Genome Bloomberg News John Lauerman 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

It was a journey that began with a simple question: How much do you want know? When reporter John Lauerman, a 53-year-old father of two, decided to get his DNA sequenced -- an increasingly common procedure in clinics around the world -- he hoped to gain insight into how rapid genome sequencing was revolutionizing research and medicine. Instead, he plunged into a world of uncertainty. His sequencing revealed a mutation that's been linked to rare "cancer-like" blood disorders that range in severity from mild to potentially lethal. In the final installment, Lauerman reveals that he has one of the more benign conditions related to the mutation, and that he is getting preventive treatment that he wouldn't have received, had he never undergone sequencing.

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US Health Care System 'Wasted' $750 Billion in 2009 ABCNews.com Julielynn Wong 2012 Health Policy (large)

The U.S. health care system wasted $750 billion on unnecessary and overpriced medical tests and treatments, administrative fees, medical fraud and missed prevention opportunities in 2009, a new report found.

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The Consumer (pt. 2) The New York Times Roni Caryn Rabin 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

These three columns examined the radiation effects of airport scanners, the difficulties organ donors face when trying to secure health and life insurance, and the truths and lies behind seasonal influenza vaccinations.

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Cost of Dying San Jose Mercury News Lisa M. Krieger and Dai Sugano 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)


Place: First Place

With her frail and elderly father suffering and doctors doing everything they can, reporter Lisa M. Krieger learns it is hard to reject care, even as expenses soar. Krieger's series took the lessons she learned, as well as wisdom offered by readers to write about how to start that difficult conversation to accepting the end. She explored end-of-life planning, advanced directives and POLSTs, palliative care and how our technological ability to stave off death creates dilemmas unimaginable decades ago.

Her look at caregiving finds that, while it can be immensely rewarding, it is also exhausting, expensive and poorly supported by a medical system that delivers life-prolonging miracles, but little help for loving care at home in life's fragile years. She uses data to explore the differences in how hospitals treat chronically ill patients at the end of life.

She follows the final three months in the life of a woman diagnosed with kidney failure who rejects life-prolonging dialysis for a life-affirming ending with adventures to the beach, zoo, aquarium and favorite restaurants. The year-long series concludes with eight steps we can take to make our final years of life easier, kinder and less expensive.

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Genome Heartbreak Bloomberg News Robert Langreth; John Lauerman; 2012 Investigative (large)

DNA sequencing has never been as fast, easy and cheap as it is today. While the technology has opened up a world of understanding for doctors and patients, Langreth and Lauerman revealed a medical system unprepared for the avalanche of DNA information -- and proved that patients are being harmed as a result. Langreth spent months investigating an oncologist who gave a patient incorrect genetic test results, leading to a second tumor that nearly killed her. Langreth showed how patents on genes held by testing giant Myriad Genetics prevent doctors from offering more comprehensive testing for inherited breast and ovarian cancer that could save women's lives. The reporters showed how perverse financial incentives keep long-established tests for mutations that raise the risk of inherited colon cancer on the shelf, even though they're recommended by a government-sponsored panel.

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Methadone: a costly fix Duluth News Tribune Brandon Stahl 2012 Investigative (small)

In Minnesota, and the Northland in particular, methadone treatment comes at a steep cost, a News Tribune investigation has found. Since 2001, 392 people have died of methadone-involved overdoses in Minnesota. From 2006 to 2010, the number of deaths almost equals those who died from firearms in homicides. Other findings are outlined in this investigative report.

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Asian American Mental Health: Inside Out KALW 91.7FM Local Public Radio, San Francisco. KALW is a pioneer educational station licensed to the San Francisco Unified School District, broadcasting since 1941 -- the oldest non-commercial FM signal west of the Mississippi. After 70 years of service t Erica Mu 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

As a California Endowment Health Journalism fellow, KALW's Erica Mu spent six months researching and reporting the public radio series "Asian American Mental Health: Inside Out" in order to begin a conversation about the mental health of Asian American Pacific Islanders. In three radio stories, Mu examines the experience of mental health from the perspective of several Bay Area residents of differing Asian American ethnicities. She begins the series by following a Taiwanese American family as they attempt to navigate a complex mental health care system -- even for educated, affluent English speakers. The second piece is dedicated to humanizing the stories behind the jarring but little-known rates of suicide and depression among Asian American women. Finally, the series ends with a focus on PTSD treatment for the Cambodian community in San Jose -- a population that western psychology and institutions have often excluded and misdiagnosed. 

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Carolyn Y. Johnson's 2012 Body of Work The Boston Globe Carolyn Y. Johnson 2012 Beat Reporting


Place: Honorable Mention

Johnson's narrative, "Outbreak baffled doctors until they saw common cause," recounts how doctors pieced together baffling cases of meningitis, finally connecting the infections to a tainted drug produced by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. "Girl named Grace a gift to family, science" follows one family's journey to find the genetic cause of their children's disabilities. "Harvard vows changes after 4th monkey death" is one of a number of stories that examined ongoing problems at Harvard Medical School's primate research facility, which was rocked by animal deaths and injuries. "Researchers put selves under the microscope in self-experiments" examined the growing ability of scientists and others to track their own bodies using new tools, providing information that could help understand their own health or ask broader research questions.

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Importing Doctors The Bakersfield Californian Kellie Ann Schmitt, Christine Bedell and Kent Kuehl 2012 Health Policy (small)


Place: Third Place

This project determined the rate of foreign-trained doctors in all California counties, something that hadn't been publicly available previously. The analysis revealed major discrepancies between physicians' backgrounds in Kern County, an underserved area in the poor Central Valley, and doctors elsewhere in California and the United States. Reporters also analyzed the board certification rates of international medical graduates within Kern County and compared it to rates for U.S. medical graduates there. The project also looked at the influx of Caribbean-trained American physicians into the county and the impact, including cultural differences that can emerge between physicians and patients, and followed the personal journeys of physicians from the Philippines, Sudan and India who eventually landed in Kern County.

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Incest Television News for Univision Monica Navarro 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story approaches incest as a heath issue. The physical and emotional effects impact not only the victims, but also the family members and those closest to them. The two-part series featured an interview with a 16 year old female victim of incest who was sexually abused by her father. It is very rare for a victim of such a crime to come forward and be open with his or her experiences. After airing the series, this Univision station recieved more than 45 messages coming from either victims or relatives of victims asking for guidance and more information to aid them in their cases. It was brought to our attention that this crime is more common among the Hispanic community than one might imagine.

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Tough Love Reader's Digest Canada Georgie Binks 2012 Investigative (large)

This report examines 'teen boot camps', where Canadian teens with behavioral issues are sent to be rehabilitated. It tells how the American residential treatment facility industry has medicalized typical teenage risk-taking behavior and turned it into a 'condition' that must be treated. It comes not only at a great cost to their parents but has contributed to the deaths of a number of teens and long-lasting trauma to thousands more.

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Autism: Emerging from the Maze KVIE Public Television Kelly Elizabeth Peterson-Janusiewicz; Robert Stewart; Mark Johnson 2012 Public Health (large)

Autism: Emerging from the Maze is a documentary that shows what it is like to live with autism. The producers talk to a young woman named Amanda who has been diagnosed with autism. She talks about what it was like growing up with autism and how children at school bullied her. Viewers also meet 19-year-old Alyson. Alyson is living with autism and functions at the level of about a first grader. The producers spend a day with her and see what it is like living in her world. Alyson's family members, friends and caregivers talk about their personal journey with her, and what it's like helping her 24 hours a day. News broke mid-production that the rate of autism cases had spiked. As KVIE did more research, they learned that the UC Davis Mind Institute is recognized globally for its extensive research. It is located in Sacramento.

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Double Life Reader's Digest Canada Georgie Binks 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This is the story of how a transwoman lost the love of her life while transitioning from male to female and the emotional tolls transitions might take on existing relationships.

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Cashing in on Care Bloomberg News Peter Waldman 2012 Beat Reporting

These stories cover 1) a Salinas, Cal. urology practice that exemplifies how treatment decisions for prostate cancer patients can influenced by money, 2) outpatient surgery-center entrepreneurs who are accused of gouging insurers with "out-of-network" rates and share profits, 3) for-profit nursing homes that allegedly milk the government for services patients don't need and don't receive have faced litigation saying they render dangerously inferior care, and 4) for-profit nursing homes that target patients who aren't really dying and are then shut down without repaying Medicare, leaving patients bereft of care and taxpayers holding the bag.

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Face Transplants: A Surgical Success Story ABCNews.com Julielynn Wong 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Face-transplant technology has come a long way in seven years. Richard Lee Norris, a Virginia man who was severely disfigured after a gun accident in 1997, has made a notable recovery after undergoing the world's fullest face transplant in March.

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Silicon Valley Surgeons Risk 'Moral Authority' for 200% Returns Bloomberg News Peter Waldman 2012 Business (large)

Some outpatient surgery-center entrepreneurs charge huge "out-of-network" prices and share the profits with the very surgeons who bring in the patients, driving up health care costs.

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Childhood Obesity ABCNews.com Julielynn Wong 2012 Beat Reporting

This series reports alarming statistics about childhood obesity: Obese kids -- even as early as age 6 -- can start showing changes to their heart muscles that could lead to problems later. Other obese kids have elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar by age 5. A program to reduce teenagers' intake of sugary drinks showed early benefits, but they didn't last; however, rebranding veggies as "X-ray Vision Carrots" or "Power Punch Broccoli" helps younger kids eat healthy at school. And just 20 minutes of exercise a day can protect kids from diabetes.

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Prostate Patients Suffer as Money Overwhelms Optimal Therapy Bloomberg News Peter Waldman 2012 Investigative (large)

A urology practice that owns its own radiation equipment in Salinas, Calif., shows how treatment decisions for prostate cancer patients can be influenced by opportunities for doctors to earn sizable returns from unwarranted procedures.

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Birmingham Health Care The Birmingham News (Alabama newspaper) AL.com (website) Mike Oliver; Hannah Wolfson; 2012 Investigative (large)

This story reported that the CEO of a nonprofit health care clinic for the poor and homeless developed a network of companies that landed contracts totaling more than $2 million, which raise serious conflict of interest questions. The report also found the organization, which received millions yearly in taxpayer dollars, did not properly disclose these relationships on tax forms as legally required.

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The Many Stories of One Highly Litigious Physician Payers & Providers Ron Shinkman 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story examined the business practices of Jeannette Y. Martello, M.D., a reconstructive surgeon who served as an on-call physician at various hospital emergency rooms in the Los Angeles area. Martello, who also holds a law degree from UC Berkeley, frequently sued her patients and their family members after rendering care. She claimed they owed her additional money. Whether or not they had insurance made no difference, even though this practice of balance billing has been illegal in California for several years.

Martello became the first and only physician ever to be ordered by regulators to cease and desist balance billing of patients -- an order that she ignored. The state of California eventually sued Martello to get her to stop dunning and suing her patients. Many patients and their family members claimed they had been doubly traumatized by being hauled into court after suffering terrible injuries or seeing their loved ones be injured. In an attempt to explain Martello's actions.

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Suicide among military Television News Univision Monica Navarro; Izidio Contreras 2012 Public Health (large)

President Obama is sending mental health professionals to military bases to help stop the escalating numbers of suicides. In this two-part series, Univision interviewed soldiers that tried to kill themselves and others that had suicidal thoughts. The series explores soldiers' mental health as a public health issue.

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Robbed of my best friend The Washington Post Joe Yonan 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story examines the grieving process a human faces after losing man's best friend. The reporter details the grief he experienced after his pet dog passed, which he says rivaled that he felt after the death of a parent and sibling.

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When Healthcare Makes You Sick USA Today Peter Eisler 2012 Public Health (large)


Place: Second Place

This series of stories examines the scope and impact of an epidemic of health care-associated infections plaguing hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other medical facilities across the country. It finds that health care-related deaths and illnesses among patients in these settings are far more common than government statistics suggest. Some of the most persistent infections are becoming more prevalent even though there are proven strategies for cutting incidence rates. Meanwhile, the emergence of new, antibiotic-resistant superbugs in health care facilities is bringing an added layer of threats, raising the risk that patients who seek care for basic ailments will contract illnesses that cannot be treated. Still, many medical institutions have not heeded urgent recommendations from government agencies and public health officials on how to control these infections.

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Scourge of the Superbugs Bloomberg Markets magazine Jason Gale; Adi Narayan; 2012 Public Health (small)

This story takes readers on a global tour of the science, medicine, people and politics behind a new bacteria-altering gene dubbed NDM-1. During almost two years of research, the writers tracked down the labs and hospitals -- and even the hotel room -- where scientists from Chennai, Cardiff, Stockholm and London discovered, debated, fought and named the new gene. Gale conducted the first media interview with a Norwegian grandmother who was exposed to NDM-1 in India. Then, in a step-by-step account, the writers document how India's plethora of antibiotics and dearth of toilets are rendering today's bacteria-fighting drugs useless, threatening medical advances from cancer treatments to prostate biopsies. After scoring an exclusive interview with an Indian researcher who spotted the rise of NDM-1, the writers reveal how government officials tried to deflect global scrutiny to protect the country's medical tourism.

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How to Return From The Hospital Alive India Book Of Records Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury 2012 Investigative (small)

This article provides tips on alternative medical techniques and encourages patients to avoid hospitalizations.

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London 2012: Preventing sudden cardiac death on the world's biggest athletic stage www.theheart.org Lisa Nainggolan; Michael O'Riordan; 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Approximately 17,000 athletes from 200 countries descended on London for the 2012 Olympic Games. Medical teams, including a staff of cardiologists, had been preparing for years to ensure the games went off without a hitch; the last thing anyone wanted was an athlete dying of sudden cardiac arrest with the whole world watching. This story tells the story of these physicians.

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Emergency savings The Oregonian Bill Graves 2012 Health Policy (large)

Oregon's health reform plan is trying to focus on saving money and improving care by helping people with chronic health problems get more preventive and primary care. Doing so, health experts say, will ensure they don't spend so much time in emergency and hospital rooms and will save money. The Oregonian decided to look at how this approach was working for one Portland managed care organization called CareOregon, which serves mostly Medicaid patients on the Oregon Health Plan.

CareOregon determined that 25 percent of its patients accounted for 83 percent of its medical costs. So it hired four outreach workers to more closely monitor patients who frequently show up in emergency rooms. The Oregonian followed one of these workers, Becky Wilkinson, over several days as she attempted to help chronically ill "high dollar" patients avoid the emergency room. The story focuses on four patients that Wilkinson has helped keep out of the hospital, sometimes with great difficulty. One of them, Joyce Jones, had visited the emergency room 95 times and had 16 hospital stays in the previous year for a total cost of about $250,000. The story takes readers into the homes, clinics and hospital rooms where Wilkinson meets these patients and solves complicated life and health problems.

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Show-Me Medicaid Expansion? Missouri Weighs the Costs St. Louis Public Radio Veronique LaCapra 2012 Health Policy (large)

This radio feature explored the consequences for Missouri's working poor if the state legislature decides not to expand the state's Medicaid program as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act.

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In cancer science, many 'discoveries' don't hold up; Is high spending on cancer care 'worth it'? Reuter Sharon Begley 2012 Beat Reporting

The decades-long 'war on cancer' has produced a paradox: few true cures, but a widespread belief that America's cancer care is the best in the world. These two stories underline the problem. The first offered one explanation of why, despite spending billions of dollars in basic cancer research, the disease remains fatal for most people. The second exposed the flaws in claims about American superiority.

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California Health Care Districts Stockpile Cash at the Expense of Community Health This series was published on baycitizen.org, which in 2011 had an average of 264,000 unique monthly visitors, and in the printed pages of its former partner, the Bay Area section of the New York Times. The Times's weekday print circulation in the Bay Area Jennifer L Gollan; Katharine Mieszkowski; 2012 Health Policy (small)

This examination exposes gross mismanagement of taxpayer-funded health care districts in California. It reveals that districts spent thousands of dollars on free, lifetime health care benefits for board trustees, as well as consultants, lawyers and public relations, even as they neglected the basic health needs of the community. Some districts also stockpiled millions in reserves for dubious projects.

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Midwest Chronicles: The Health Experience in Midwestern Communities With a Growing Latino Population Hoy Chicago Jeffrey Allan Kelly Lowenstein; Lorena Villa Parkman; Fernando Diaz 2012 Public Health (large)

The stories look at the health experiences of Latinos in Midwestern cities and communities that had seen a growth in the Latino population during the past decade. 

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State Creates Long-Term Care Insurance Appeals Process Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) Kristian Foden-Vencil 2012 Beat Reporting

This story looks at a new long-term care appeals process set up by Oregon state to determine when claims are wrongfully denied.

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Exclusive: Questionable data propped up cancer drug Provenge; and Insight: New doubts about prostate Reuters Sharon Begley 2012 Investigative (large)

Prostate-cancer vaccine Provenge has been widely hailed as the first therapy for cancer to harness the human immune system, promising a true cure for this cancer. New analyses as well as unpublished data suggest otherwise: the manufacturer's claims that the vaccine improved men's survival is based on the fact that men in the clinical trial receiving the control treatment died at exceptionally high rates. As one expert put it, a great way to make your drug look good is "to kill your control group."

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To Fluoridate Or Not To Fluoridate? Portland Considers The Idea Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) Kristian Foden-Vencil 2012 Beat Reporting

Portland does not fluoridate its water. There has been strong opposition over the years to adding fluoride to the city's drinking water, but this year, supporters argued that fluoridation was long overdue to help poor children, in particular, who might not have access to regular dental care. Opponents raised questions about health risks. Oregon Public Broadcasting spoke to scientists who conducted studies that were often cited in the heated debate.

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New drugs, fresh hope for autism patients Reuters Julie Steenhuysen 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story explores progress in developing treatments for autism specifically designed to correct brain wiring problems common to many forms of the disease, raising hope for the first real improvements in a condition that affects one in 88 children in the United States. Although scientists say as many as 1,000 genes could be at play in autism, research is now focused on treating networks in the brain that go awry in many forms of autism.

This story focuses on children testing a drug by Seaside Therapeutics, which was first developed to treat children with Fragile X, a condition caused by a rare genetic mutation, but is also being tested in children with autism. Reporter Julie Steenhuysen spoke with scientists at leading universities and drug companies about the prospects for these drugs. Steenhuysen looks through the lens of families whose children have taken Seaside's drug and are seeing fairly remarkable changes. She also took tried not to raise false hope and made an effort to include voices of caution.

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Local Hospitals Trying to Reduce Medical Mistakes Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) Kristian Foden-Vencil 2012 Beat Reporting

One of the goals of national health care reform is to reduce medical mistakes. This story looks at how one local hospital is trying to accomplish that goal by improving procedures for things like central lines.

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U.S. blacks, gay and straight, have biggest struggle with HIV Reuters Julie Steenhuysen; Susan Heavey; 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Despite 30 years of progress in the war on AIDS, HIV infections are increasing in some groups, especially among poor black men who have sex with men, for whom stigma remains a significant roadblock to testing and treatment. Rates continue to increase for this demographic. The CDC last month reported that 72 percent of the estimated 12,000 new HIV infections in 2010 occurred in young men who have sex with men, and nearly half of new infections were among young black males.

This story was the centerpiece of a three-part series focusing on different aspects of AIDS, all linked to the International AIDS society's AIDS 2012 conference in Washington. Other stories in the series looked at progress towards developing a vaccine after years of false starts, and issues related to paying for greater access to HIV treatments, which not only treat HIV, but help prevent transmission of the virus. 

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Federal Program Studies the Bygone Medical Tradition of Housecalls Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) Kristian Foden-Vencil 2012 Beat Reporting

In this story, a Portland non-profit participates in a federal study on the possible benefits of medical housecalls.

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The Life of Riley WBUR Carey Beth Goldberg; Jesse Costa; 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story covers a young patient with an incurable, one-in-a-million syndrome that creates increasingly aggressive lumps and bumps on and in her body. So far, the only treatment for her disease, CLOVES syndrome, has been surgery. But this year, at Boston Children's Hospital, the patient began taking an experimental drug in hopes that it would help her.

This multi-media series puts a compelling "face" on rare disease; it combines the human element with the scientific side of rare diseases research. It compels the reader/viewer by focusing on the patient and her family, and expands outward to the researchers who came up with her diagnosis and, in the course of the series year, pinpointed the gene at work. It also explores the issue of how families cope with a "medically complex" child, and how people with serious diseases can nonetheless live rich and full lives."

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Cancer Patient Navigation Oncology Times Eric T. Rosenthal 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

When the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer decided to mandate that institutions have a patient navigation process in place by 2015 for accreditation, Oncology Times decided to see if the cancer community would be prepared to meet the demand with standardized guidelines and programs.

This was originally a three-part series: an indepth interview with the surgeon who created the concept of patient navigation and its first program; an analysis of what was needed to fulfill the mandate in a meaningful way including differentiating the patient navigation process from needing a patient navigator; a review of what programs were already in place and how they differered. Shortly after the series appeared, a reader pointed out that legal services were another service that should be included. This resulted in a fourth part in the series.

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Orlando's VA hospital construction troubles Orlando Sentinel Marni Jameson 2012 Investigative (large)

What's taking so long? That question frustrated more than 400,000 veterans waiting for the long-promised Orlando VA Medical Center to open. The $656 million facility was supposed to open in October 2012. However, it was at least 18 months behind schedule and $120 million over budget -- and counting. To explain the complicated mess that is the Orlando VA Medical Center, the reporter clarified, simplified and humanized the problem in these 3 stories that: 1) Traced the bungled communications by following the trail of a six-inch steel stud, 2) Put the delay in context of problems plaguing VA hospital construction nationwide, and 3) Focused on the hundreds of displaced the workers hurt most by the project's poor management.

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Oregon's Idea for Fixing Medicaid Hits the National Stage Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) Kristian Foden-Vencil 2012 Health Policy (large)

In May, 2012, the federal government agreed to give Oregon nearly $2 billion to support changes in the way the state delivers health care to low income people. Oregon's Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, a physician, had personally lobbied the Obama administration for the waiver that would allow Oregon to spend Medicaid money in new ways. That shift put Oregon at the forefront of health care reform. This story delves into why Oregon received money from the federal government to change its health care delivery system, and explains what the state plans to do with the money.

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Marni Jameson Beat Reporting Orlando Sentinel Marni Jameson 2012 Beat Reporting

The common thread in these stories is the reporter's ability to clarify complicated issues. One investigative story uses a six-inch stud to illustrate the communication quagmire that lies at the heart of the much-delayed construction of a $656 million VA hospital. A story about artificial sweeteners translates complex medical science into information readers can use to make better everyday choices. Another medical story connects the dots between the fuzzy brain cancer patients often experience after chemotherapy and the medical explanation for why that is, and why they're not crazy. A story about a highly charged whistleblower case alleging hundreds of millions of dollars of Medicare fraud at a large local hospital system further shows this reporter's range.

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Local Hospitals Trying to Reduce Medical Mistakes Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) Kristian Foden-Vencil 2012 Health Policy (large)

In May, 2012, the federal government agreed to give Oregon nearly $2 billion to support changes in the way the state delivers health care to low income people. Oregon's Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, a physician, had personally lobbied the Obama administration for the waiver that would allow Oregon to spend Medicaid money in new ways. That shift put Oregon at the forefront of health care reform. This story looks at how one local hospital is trying to accomplish that goal, by improving procedures for things like central lines.

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Cancer's New Battleground: The Developing World PRI's The World Joanne Silberner and David Baron 2012 Public Health (large)


Place: Honorable Mention

America has waged war on cancer for more than 40 years, but in developing countries the fight has barely begun. This radio and online series features patients, doctors, and public health advocates on the front lines. What political, cultural, and logistical obstacles make tackling cancer so difficult across most of the globe? Correspondent Joanne Silberner reports from Uganda, Haiti, and India on innovative programs that are improving cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.

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Federal Program Studies the Bygone Medical Tradition of Housecalls Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) Kristian Foden-Vencil 2012 Health Policy (large)

In May, 2012, the federal government agreed to give Oregon nearly $2 billion to support changes in the way the state delivers health care to low income people. Oregon's Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, a physician, had personally lobbied the Obama administration for the waiver that would allow Oregon to spend Medicaid money in new ways. That shift put Oregon at the forefront of health care reform. In this story, a Portland non-profit participates in a federal study on the possible benefits of medical housecalls. 

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Heartbreaking Work Psychiatric News Joan Arehart-Treichel 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story reports that psychiatrists specializing in palliative care often use the same treatments that their colleagues in other areas use, but they also may make novel uses of psychotropic medications. 

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Benefits Managers Can Slow Pharmaceutical Deliveries Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) Kristian Foden-Vencil 2012 Health Policy (large)

In May, 2012, the federal government agreed to give Oregon nearly $2 billion to support changes in the way the state delivers health care to low income people. Oregon's Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, a physician, had personally lobbied the Obama administration for the waiver that would allow Oregon to spend Medicaid money in new ways. That shift put Oregon at the forefront of health care reform. In this story, a fight between pharmacists and half a dozen big companies that manage prescriptions left some patients in pain.

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Luis Fabregas beat coverage Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Luis Fabregas 2012 Beat Reporting

These stories include an interview with parents of a hospital therapist who was gunned down by a mentally ill man, coverage of a federal proposal to regulate face and hand transplants, an interview with high-profile Highmark CEO Ken Melani after he assaulted his lover's husband, and reportage on a feud between Pittsburg's dominant health care players, Highmark and UPMC.

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Fallen Angel The Denver Post and www.denverpost.com Michael Stuart Booth 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

"Fallen Angel" spent months on the street with Denver heroin addicts who had come to their addictions through the burgeoning epidemic in painkiller abuse. It grew out of previous investigative and news stories about painkiller overdoses in Colorado and whether authorities were attacking the problem with any useful measures.

The Denver Post asked what was behind the panhandling signs that Denver commuters see every day, and explained in narrative form how people arrive on the street curbs and what their lives are truly like. The Post also followed one young addict as she tried to put her life back together by jumping on a bus back home to rural Wisconsin.

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DSM-5 Emphasizes Diagnostic Reliability Psychiatric News Mark Moran 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Statistics and new research underlie the new edition of psychiatry's guidelines for mental health diagnoses.

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The World's Baby Factory www.ForeignPolicy.com Anuj Chopra 2012 Health Policy (large)

In India -- where fertility treatment is cheap, regulation is weak, and childlessness is considered a curse -- recent high profile cases of advanced age pregnancies have highlighted how women, even across small towns and villages where health facilities are scarce, are taking extraordinary risks to conceive babies.

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Unconscious Themes Underlie Twilight Psychiatric News Mark Moran 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

In this story, psychiatrists cast a cold eye on sex, death and young love in the mega-hit book and movie series.

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A multibiomarker test for predicting CVD: Has its time arrived? theheart.org (theheart.org requires a password. To read entry, use username: Award Password: awardtemp. Sue Hughes; Shelley Wood; 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

One of the new medical ideas showcased at the 2012 TEDMED conference was an "inflammation test," purporting to be able to predict a person's risk of having a cardiac event using a panel of different biomarkers. This report shows that Cleveland Heartlab, which makes the tests, is a spin-off of the Cleveland Clinic, which receives royalties from test sales and was also one of the sponsors of the TEDMED meeting. Many experts in biomarker technology suggest the idea could help prevent future cardiac events; others say this hasn't been proven. Although Cleveland Heartlab says test sales are up, naysayers say cardiovascular disease can already be predicted through more traditional measures, such as body weight and blood pressure.

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Mental Health Musical Chairs Business NH Magazine, 15,000 monthly circulation Erika Alison Cohen 2012 Health Policy (small)

New Hamphire's failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act has large budgetary implciations. By forcing people toward institutional care and away from community mental health centers, the state is spending thousands more dollars per person while providing less care. While mentally ill patients can be treated in the community for $200 a day if services are available, they are often forced to go to emergency rooms and the psychiatric hospital for $800 or more a day and removed from the community.

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Semper Fi: Always Faithful MSNBC/NBC Universal Rachel Libert; Tony Hardman; Scott Hooker 2012 Investigative (large)

MSNBC reports on Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensinger, who uncovered one of the largest water contamination incidents in US history after his 9-year-old daughter died from a rare type of leukemia. The story takes readers through present day events as Jerry leads a coalition of former base residents in a fight for justice. Many of them have lost children or are now sick themselves. In the process of investigating the Camp Lejeune contamination a larger issue comes into focus, the abysmal environmental record of the military. The Department of Defense is the United States largest polluter which raises questions about environmental conditions at other bases across the country. 

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Baltimore Clubhouse Psychiatric News Aaron Levin 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

In Baltimore, people with serious mental illnesses can spend their day at the B'More Clubhouse, preparing to make the leap into the working world.

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Is Drug Research Trustworthy? Scientific American Charles Seife 2012 Investigative (large)

This article examines the lack of conflict of interest reporting by medical researchers who receive funding from drug companies whose products they study.

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Eric Kandel on Schizophrenia Research Psychiatric News Aaron Levin 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Recent advances have led to the development of sophisticated mouse models to study schizophrenia. We can now do studies in mice comparable to those in people and studies in people comparable to those in mice.

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Prescription for change HeraldStandard.com Tara Elizabeth Rack-Amber 2012 Public Health (large)

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) conducted a study that ranked various counties throughout the country based on their overall health and longevity. The attached stories focus on Fayette and Greene counties (Penn.) and how they are ranked, the reaction from local leaders and what can be done to improve the rankings. While Fayette County was ranked 65 and Greene County was ranked 66 out of 67, community leaders felt confident that by changing the health habits of local residents, the counties could achieve a higher ranking.

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Problems at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance Daily Breeze Deborah Schoch 2012 Investigative (small)

Unpublished Medicare quality inspection reports showed two alarming incidents involving patients at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a safety net and teaching hospital as well as a regional trauma center in Torrance, Calif. One patient died unnecessarily and another patient was left in indeterminate critical condition, according to the reports. A second story unearthed the fact that the second patient, a 54-year-old man, also died as the result of errors during a routine knee operation.

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40% Of High-Prescribing Docs Get Pharma Perks The Connecticut Health Investigative Team Lisa Chedekel 2012 Investigative (small)


Place: Special Judges' Citation

The Affordable Care Act requires pharmaceutical companies to publicly report all payments to physicians by September 2013. Some drug companies have already compiled – but few consumers know that the information is available or how to access it. This story discloses – for the first time – for Connecticut consumers how many doctors in Connecticut are high-prescribers of certain psychotropic and pain medications, the cost of written prescriptions, how many of these doctors received payments from drug companies and the amounts that the doctors received from the drug companies. It also reported that only three doctors on the high-prescribing drug list have been disciplined by the state Medical Examining Board.

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Back pain puts strain on pocketbooks Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Alex Nixon 2012 Business (large)

In the wake of a spinal meningitis outbreak linked to tainted epidural steroid injections, reporter Alex Nixon explored the multi-billion-dollar industry for treating back pain. Steroid injections are a small part of that. He found that back pain remains a big problem for a majority of Americans, that spending more money doesn't appear to make people better and that some experts question the effectiveness of the most expensive treatments, such as surgery.

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Pump Up The Produce Family Circle magazine Michele Bender 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story was part of a six-month Healthy Family challenge where each month the same two overweight families took part in a challenge to help them lose weight and get healthier. This month's challenge was to add more produce to their lives. Both lost weight and learned so much about changing unhealthy habits. The article also provides insight and information that readers can take and use in their own lives to get healthier.

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Psychiatrists Respond to Hurricane Sandy Psychiatric News Aaron Levin 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Wind. Rain. Flood. Fire. Darkness. Cold. Hurricane Sandy left an apocalyptic aftermath for residents of New Jersey and New York, and area psychiatrists struggled to move patients from flooded, blacked-out hospitals.

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Mission Accomplished Family Circle magazine Michele Bender 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This article was part of a six-month feature in which two overweight families were challenged to a different healthy task each month. This was the final article in the seven-part series (an intro article and six months of challenges). The families lost a total of 88 pounds.

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Medicare Discloses Hospitals' Bonuses, Penalties Based On Quality Kaiser Health News Jordan Rau 2012 Health Policy (large)

This story explored one of the most challenging endeavors in health care, the effort to measure the quality of hospitals and other providers and make them financially accountable for how their patients fare. Kaiser Health News was the first organization to report and reveal how new bonuses and penalties affected nearly 3,000 hospitals, providing the first public list of how each hospital did. The story analyzed how hospitals in different states and regions in the country performed and identified hospital outliers. Kaiser made its hospital data available through interactive graphics and for download so other media outlets could localize the story or do independent reporting.

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You Don't Have to Look Sick to Be Sick: Understanding Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Life Marijke Vroomen Durning 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This article explains fibromyalgia, including first-person experience with the disease.

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Business of Health Care Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Alex Nixon 2012 Beat Reporting

Highmark, Pennsylvania's largest health insurer and a nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield company, is attempting to transform itself into an integrated health system by buying hospitals and doctor practices. The nearly bankrupt West Penn Allegheny Health System is Highmark's prime target. The strategy is fraught with risk, including major competition from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), the largest health system in Western Pennsylvania; the challenge of turning around West Penn Allegheny's shaky finances, and the need to gain regulatory approval for the purchase. These reports explored Highmark's plans and reported when the deal briefly fell apart, among the many twists and turns of a continuing story that health care experts across the country are watching closely.

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Million-dollar hospital bills rise The Sacramento Bee Phillip Reese; Darrell Smith; 2012 Business (large)

The number of Northern California hospital stays resulting in charges of $1 million or more rose sevenfold in the past decade, from 430 in 2000 to almost 3,000 during 2010, according to a Bee review of new data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

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Burned by Health Warnings, Defiant Tanning Industry Assails Doctors, 'Sun Scare' Conspiracy This story was published by FairWarning, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on public health and safety issues and co-published at nine other outlets, including NBCNews.com, The Kansas City Star and Mother Jones. Bridget Huber 2012 Public Health (large)

This story looks at the efforts by the $4.9 billion indoor tanning industry to defend itself against mounting evidence of the harm caused by sunbeds. The story documents the industry's attempts to discredit doctors and cancer experts, mislead customers, promote tanning indoors as healthful and cultivate a grass-roots network of pro-tanning activists to promote sunbeds and fight attempts at greater regulation. It also exposes the links between the indoor tanning industry and an network of nonprofit Vitamin D advocacy groups that promote the vitamin as a panacea for ailments ranging from breast cancer to autism, though evidence for these claims is inconclusive at best. These groups push sunbeds as a healthy way to get the vitamin, often without disclosing their deep ties to the tanning industry.

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What the Supreme Court Decision Really Means to Doctors Medscape Harris Meyer 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This article presents an analysis of how the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act might affect physicians.

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A Campaign Full of Mediscare FactCheck.org Lori Robertson 2012 Health Policy (large)

In this story, FactCheck.org explained the status of Medicare and its financial challenges and debunked the overheated claims from Obama and Romney. The story explained the approach each campaign had proposed to solve Medicare's long-term funding problem. As David Walker, a former head of the Government Accountability Office, said: "There's too much spinning and mud-slinging going on, and not enough focus on substance and solutions." This story provided substance and sorted through the spin in what had become "A Campaign Full of Mediscare."

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Labor Pains Philadelphia Business Journal John George 2012 Business (small)

These stories examed the impact of maternity ward closings in Philadelphia. Significant findings include collaborations among competing hospitals in baby-delivery business, varying strategies hospital and government entities use to improve birth outcomes, and problems with the delivery of prenatal care in the city.

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Medicare To Penalize 2,217 Hospitals For Excess Readmissions Kaiser Health News and external news outlets Jordan Rau 2012 Health Policy (large)

This story explored one of the most challenging endeavors in health care: the effort to measure the quality of hospitals and other providers and make them financially accountable for how their patients fare. Kaiser Health News was the first news organization to analyze and report on Medicare's new readmissions penalties, which affected 2,217 hospitals. Kaiser found hospitals that treat low-income patients were more likely to be punished. The story analyzed how hospitals in different states and regions in the country performed and identified hospital outliers. Kaiser made its hospital data available through interactive graphics and download for other media to use to localize our story or do independent reporting.

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Driving on Ambien ABC NEWS Nightline Lisa Stark; Gitika Ahuja; Dan Pryzgoda 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Americans are increasingly relying on sleeping pills to get a good night's sleep, with over 60 million prescriptions filled every year. 44 million of those prescriptions are for Ambien, the most popular sleep aid. There's increasing concern though over a dangerous side-effect: sleep driving. People have reported taking the medication intending to go to bed but somehow end up on the road. Four years ago the FDA added warnings about sleep-driving to the pills' labels, but that hasn't stopped incidents from occurring.

ABC News wanted to see, and show viewers, what can happen with you take Ambien and get behind the wheel of a car. We went to the nation's most sophisticated driving simulator for a first of its kind test. ABC's results show how quickly the drug acts and how long it continues to affect motor function. Along with pictures of what driving on Ambien looks like, the story convey information on how to use the medication correctly.

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Why Are Hospitals Having Trouble Reducing Readmission Rates? The Medicare NewsGroup, www.medicarenewsgroup.com J. Duncan Moore 2012 Health Policy (large)

On October 1, Medicare will start hitting hospitals where it hurts. Those institutions that have worse-than-average rates of readmission for three common diagnoses are going to lose as much as 1 percent of their government reimbursement. The idea is that if hospitals are charged for not making people healthy enough to heal at home after discharge, taxpayer money should be saved and senior patients should have better outcomes.

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Antibiotics: The Broken Promise YNN Katherine Michelle Gibas 2012 Public Health (small)

In her series, "Antibiotics: The Broken Promise," reporter Katherine Gibas says antibiotics changed the landscape of medicine for the 20th Century, but also set the stage for medicine's most serious challenges in the 21st.

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Jordan Rau's 2012 Body of Work Kaiser Health News Jordan Rau 2012 Beat Reporting


Place: Second Place

Jordan Rau explored one of the most challenging endeavors in health care, the effort to measure the quality of hospitals and other providers and make them financially accountable for how their patients fare. Rau analyzed and reported on Medicare's new readmissions penalties, which affected 2,217 hospitals, finding that hospitals that treat low-income patients were more likely to be punished. He revealed how new bonuses and penalties affected nearly 3,000 hospitals, providing the first public list of how each hospital did and analyzed Medicare's measure of hospital efficiency, finding that essentially similar patients cost the government far more at some hospitals than at others. The examination of Medicare's new measures of patient safety showed that they might be skewed against teaching hospitals. Stories analyzed how hospitals in different states and regions in the country performed on some of these metrics and identified hospital outliers.

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Moving Forward after a life-altering injury YNN Katherine Michelle Gibas 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

When the public hears about non-life-threatening injuries, they might not realize just how life altering they can be. Adam Dailey, 25, learned that first hand. As YNN's Katie Gibas reports, even though his recovery has progressed, his life is forever changed.

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The Truly Staggering Cost Of Inventing New Drugs Forbes Matthew Herper 2012 Business (large)

For a decade, drug company executives, politicians and policy makers have tossed around estimates of the cost of developing a new medicine is in the neighborhood of $1 billion for each new drug. But this ignores one of the most uncomfortable facts about the pharmaceutical industry: research costs are rising while productivity has been dropping. Using a new method created by Bernard Munos, an industry researcher, Forbes reporter Matthew Herper came up with per-company estimates of R&D costs that start at $3.7 billion per new drug and go as high as $12 billion, showing both the high cost of drug development and the waste caused by bad decisions at many companies.

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Chasing cheaper cancer drugs Reuters Ben Hirschler 2012 Business (large)

The story revealed common concerns over the spiraling cost of modern cancer drugs shared by governments and healthcare professionals in both Western and developing world countries. It explained how the issue had reached a crisis point for some patients, doctors and payers, leading to a need to rethink the way cancer medicines are tested and developed.

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Just One Breath The Bakersfield Californian; Merced Sun-Star; Radio Bilingue; The Record (Stockton, Calif.); Valley Public Radio; Vida en el Valle; the Voice of OC (Santa Ana) Reporting on Health Collaborative Staff 2012 Public Health (small)

The number of valley fever cases has soared so high in recent years that health experts are calling it "The Second Epidemic." In a series that ran over several months, The Bakersfield Californian explored the rise of cases, the tricky science of studying the disease, the high costs to patients and taxpayers, the lack of private interest in funding treatments and vaccines, and the long history of inaction by government agencies. Although valley fever kills far more people than many headline-grabbing illnesses combined, it affects a community not on the radar of major health policy players.

The Californian identified five key ways this could be turned around: 1) Improve how doctors identify and care for valley fever patients immediately through training, 2) implement a robust surveillance system to track the disease, especially in California, 3) develop better tests for the disease, 4) bring to market modern treatments for valley fever, and 5) raise enough money to finish the work of creating a vaccine.

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The Battle Over Women's Health in Texas The Texas Tribune and The New York Times Emily Ramshaw, Pam Belluck and Thanh Tan 2012 Health Policy (large)


Place: Third Place

The Texas Tribune, in conjunction with its content parter The New York Times, has been covering women's health, from state lawmakers' efforts to force Planned Parenthood out of business in Texas to their sweeping budget cuts for contraception and cancer screenings. The two stories featured here ran in The New York Times and The Texas Tribune concurrently. They highlighted the dramatic closures of reproductive health clinics for poor immigrant women along the Texas-Mexico border, and the behind-the-scenes political drama that led hundreds of thousands of the state's neediest women to lose access to birth control and cancer screenings.

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Fistula in West Africa The Voice of America Africa Health Network, English-to-Africa Service Nancy Coviello; Linord Moudou; Khalil Gueye 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Reporter Khalil Gueye visited Chad and while there produced a piece on Obstetric Fistula. His story profiles a patient who is about to have surgery to fix her fistula and includes an interview with the President of Chad regarding health in Chad, women's health and fistula. 

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Fertile Ground: The Battle Over Women's Health in Texas The Texas Tribune Thanh Tan; Emily Ramshaw; Justin Dehn 2012 Beat Reporting

The Tribune's Fertile Ground series examined the Texas Legislature's deep funding cuts to family planning for low-income women and the ripple effects being felt in communities statewide. From the evolution of state and federally subsidized contraception to the battle over Planned Parenthood to the cost of unplanned pregnancies, this six-part series is a comprehensive look at the politics of reproductive health in Texas.

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How Much Should Doctors Really Make? Medscape Harris Meyer 2012 Business (large)

Given today's focus on controlling U.S. health care costs and boosting the number of primary care physicians, physician payment is again in the limelight.

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Mending Medicaid: The Effects of State Efforts to Curb Health Costs The Texas Tribune, The New York Times Emily Ramshaw; Becca Aaronson; 2012 Business (large)

The stories are part of a running "Mending Medicaid" series on the consequences of state efforts to curb spiraling health costs. On one hand, there are lawmakers overhauling Medicaid to cut costs in a way that is forcing family-run pharmacies out of business. On the other, they're trying to stave off the cost of obesity complications by increasingly footing the bill for expensive bariatric surgeries. And they're turning to the Texas state Medicaid fraud division to try to alleviate budget pressure, but using controversial tactics that are leaving doctors and medical practices hanging in the balance.

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Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Harms Minorities, Is a The Medicare NewsGroup, www.medicarenewsgroup.com J. Duncan Moore 2012 Health Policy (large)

Raising the age of Medicare eligibility from age 65 to 67 is "a raw deal" for communities of color in the United States. Raising the eligibility age "would negatively impact seniors of color because they tend to be in poorer health at earlier ages," said Maya Rockeymoore, chair of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, a Washington advocacy group.

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Abortion Reality The Associated Press Lindsey Tanner 2012 Health Policy (large)

Abortion is legal in America, but in many places the procedure is becoming more difficult to schedule. This story and accompanying sidebar detail restrictive policies in many states that make getting a legal procedure a hardship for women and particularly for low-income women. Just this year 17 states set new limits, and abortion numbers have fallen in several states with the most restrictive laws.

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After the Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act: What it Means to Medicare The Medicare NewsGroup STAFF; Donald Sjoerdsma; Kimber Solana 2012 Health Policy (large)

While the Supreme Court hearings on the Affordable Care Act focused on the controversial individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion, numerous Medicare provisions in the law hung in the balance. If the law were overturned, many facets of the program would have been thrown into uncertainty and any progress made as a result of the act stopped in its tracks. This series examined the outcome of the SCOTUS ruling on the Medicare program, looking at the issue through the lenses of various aspects of the program.

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The Weight of the Nation / The Weight of the Nation for Kids HBO Dan Chaykin; Sheila Nevins & John Hoffman (Weight of the Nation & Weight of the Nation for Kids); Sarah Teale (Weight of the Nation); Shari Cookson & Nick Doob (For Kids) 2012 Public Health (large)

Three years in the making, this story offers a look at the severity of the obesity crisis, highlighting the groundwork for the societal transformations that must take place in order to slow, arrest and eventually reverse the prevalence of obesity and bring the nation to a healthier weight.

It is one of the most far-reaching public health campaigns on this epidemic to date. The multi-part, multi-platform series comprises four documentary films, a three-part series for families, 12 bonus shorts, a robust website and social media campaign, a book published by St. Martin's Press and the free distribution of DVDs and comprehensive discussion guides to more than 40,000 community-based organizations working to fight obesity around the country.

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Robin Erb Beat Reporting Detroit Free Press Robin Erb 2012 Beat Reporting

This entry covers four stories. In August, a two-day package explored a clinical trial using stem cells drawn from an aborted fetus and injected into patients' spines, in an attempt to cure deadly amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gerhig's disease. In September, the Free Press examined health problems possibly rooted in a 1970s Michigan agricultural disaster in which a toxic flame retardant known as polybrominated biphenyl was mixed in cattle feed and, in turn, spread into the food chain statewide. Finally, a November story walked readers through the world of human stem cell research, including controversial embryonic stem cells -- work that was made possible in Michigan just four years ago after voters lifted a ban on embryonic research.

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As End Nears, Cancer Patient Struggles With Cost of Long Term Care New America Media, Healthy Cal, Reporting on Health Viji Sundaram; Cliff Parker 2012 Health Policy (large)

Sixty-four-year-old Eileen Hadidian's 10-year struggle with bone cancer has ravaged her body so much that she suffers from spontaneous pathological fractures. The hospice care she's been in for the last year has depleted her family's savings to a level such that she may soon qualify for Medi-Cal, the safety net for the indigent. This story shines a spotlight on how middle-class families like hers are driven to bankruptcy because the U.S. health care system has little to offer by way of long-term care for the disabled and the elderly. Obamacare has thusfar failed to address this issue.

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As risks grew, hospitals turned a blind eye The Boston Globe Patricia Wen 2012 Public Health (large)

This story is an exposé of David Kwiatkowski, a 33-year-old radiologic technologist, who worked at hospitals around the country in order to steal injectable narcotic painkillers. Kwiatkowski was infected with Hepatitis C. By replacing used narcotic syringes with with saline solution, he infected at least 44 patients with his strain of Hep C. His scheme was one of the worst medical crimes in U.S. history.

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Health Benefits for Vets: Who's Answering the Call, and three other stories Providence Business News Richard Asinof 2012 Beat Reporting

1. "Health benefits for vets: who's answering the call" tells the story of a Vietnam veteran, awarded numerous combat honors, now stricken with cancer, having lost his job and his health insurance because of his illness, who found himself unable to break through the logjam at the VA to file a claim and access benefits. The story follows the veteran as he visits the Statehouse for the first time, to attend an event honoring Vietnam veterans.

2. "UnitedHealthcare joins fight against childhood obesity" tells the story of how an evidence-based pilot program targeting overweight children served as the launching pad for a family-based workplace wellness program, a partnership between UnitedHealthcare and Raytheon, a large regional employer. The reporting interweaves the personal experiences of an 11-year-old and his successful efforts to trim his weight with insights from academic researchers and long-term cost goals from health insurance executives. The story was published two weeks ahead of a New York Times story about this very topic.

3. "Center is using data to bend the medical cost curve" tells the story of how a community health center, using its own health IT system, was able to bend its medical cost curve by more than $5 million in one year by fully integrating data at the point of care. The story documents how community health centers are serving as the pioneers in innovative health care delivery systems that offer affordable, accessible, and high quality care.

4. "A summer well spent at Lifespan youth program" tells the story of a successful training program for urban teens in building employment opportunities within the state's largest private employer, the Lifespan hospital network.

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Medicare Advantage Bonuses The Medicare NewsGroup Susan Jaffe 2012 Business (large)

Even the savviest shoppers will pay more for top quality. That's the theory behind the bonuses the federal government pays health insurers if they do a good job caring for 13 million beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The bonus system came under attack in 2011 after Medicare officials announced a special pilot project that would make it easier for insurers to earn the bonuses. Although the skepticism persists, little attention has focused on how much extra -- if any -- the bonuses provide. Insurers are supposed to use the extra payments to improve benefits for their members or lower their premiums. After analyzing payment data for plans in more than 3,200 counties in every state and U. S. territory, reporter Susan Jaffe found that the 2013 top bonus payments of five percent intended to reward MA plans earning five stars, may not offer much of an incentive to improve.

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Single-Payor Healthcare: What Could It Do on the National Stage? Becker's Hospital Review Bob Herman 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story looks at a type of healthcare reform that goes beyond the Affordable Care Act: single-payor healthcare. Critics of single-payor believe it's a "government takeover of our healthcare decisions," while others note it is a system used in almost every other developed country in the world. The article lays down the foundation for the question: What would single-payor do in the United States? And more specifically, what would its impacts be from the hospital or health system's point of view. This story delves into what single-payor is and isn't, and what is could mean for hospitals and health systems -- in terms of quality and finances -- on a national scale.

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Cracking the Codes The Center for Public Integrity Fred Schulte, Joe Eaton and David Donald 2012 Health Policy (large)


Place: Second Place

Cracking the Codes documented how thousands of medical professionals have steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health care over the past decade – adding $11 billion or more to their fees – despite little evidence elderly patients required more treatment. The series also uncovered a broad range of costly billing errors and abuses that have plagued Medicare for years – from confusion over how to pick proper payment codes to apparent overcharges in medical offices and hospital emergency rooms. The findings strongly suggest these problems, known as "upcoding," are worsening amid lax federal oversight and the government-sponsored switch from paper to electronic medical records. This was an extremely complex topic that required deep immersion in the arcane specialties of medical coding and health information technology. Very few academics or other researchers had approached this topic using Medicare billing data, especially over such a long period of time, and so there wasn't much in the way of roadmaps to help guide this project.

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Cancer in Africa: Fighting a nameless enemy Reuters Kate Kelland 2012 Public Health (large)

This piece focuses on the problem of cancer in Africa -- how to tackle a disease that in many local languages has no name. There is a widespread belief that cancer is a disease only of the rich world, but one of the very few oncologists in Ghana tells here of an 'explosion of cancer' on the African continent. Another describes the ravages of untreated tumors in graphic detail and explains how death rates from some forms of the disease could be cut back dramatically if only people had access to relatively cheap vaccinations.

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State Implementation of the Affordable Care Act Capital Public Radio, National Public Radio (print versions on Kaiser Health News) Pauline Elizabeth Bartolone 2012 Beat Reporting

Much of this beat focused on covering the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. California is being watched by policymakers nationally because of its strong commitment to the Affordable Care Act and its large and diverse consumer market. This body of work explores Californias political will and decision-making at key moments, such as right before the Supreme Court decision and the Presidential elections. The stories also look at the challenges California faces building massive market-based reforms on top of a complex health system. 

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Global health and science reporting Reuters Kate Kelland 2012 Beat Reporting

The stories in this beat focused on cancer in Africa, neuroscience applications in criminal law and persecution, drug-resistant tuberculosis in London, and how an amalgamation of socio-political and natural factors are contributing to a resurgence of Malaria in Greece.

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As risks grew, hospitals turned a blind eye The Boston Globe Patricia Wen 2012 Investigative (large)

This story is an exposé of David Kwiatkowski, a 33-year-old radiologic technologist, who worked at hospitals around the country in order to steal injectable narcotic painkillers. Kwiatkowski was infected with Hepatitis C. By replacing used narcotic syringes with with saline solution, he infected at least 44 patients with his strain of Hep C. His scheme was one of the worst medical crimes in U.S. history.

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Collaboration, Communication and Connection, Fostering Patient Engagement in Health Care Journal of Participatory Medicine Nancy B Finn 2012 Public Health (small)

This story illustrates how patients that are engaged in managing and monitoring their health often have better outcomes. The results of a large study conducted by Kaiser Permanente of patients with diabetes and hypertension indicated that the use of secure patient-physician messaging resulted in significant improvement of glycemic, blood pressure and cholesterol measures. The article points out that patient engagement requires effort on the part of both patients and providers and offers specific guidelines on how to achieve those goals.

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Health insurer discloses, deletes political spending SNL Financial Sean P. Carr and Wayne Dalton 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters


Place: Honorable Mention

While certain political groups do not have to disclose their contributors, sometimes those contributors must disclose in other ways. Aetna Inc., like other insurance companies, must self-report a series of general interrogatories to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Sean P. Carr and Wayne Dalton gave that data a careful review to determine how companies spend money on lobbying activities. Aetna proved to be a unique case. The health insurer outspent all other insurance companies. Its disclosure of massive spending to groups opposed to the Affordable Care Act came after conciliatory remarks about the health reform law by its CEO and after the company spurned a call by some shareholders to reveal more information about its political activities.

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Location, Location, Location Trustee magazine Charlotte Huff 2012 Business (small)

Physician recruitment is a challenge in any market, but it's particularly difficult for hospitals in rural areas, which may not have the big-city amenities or staff support of urban hospitals. This story presents the facts and stats behind the rural physician shortage, then offers creative, successful recruitment strategies that other rural hospitals can emulate. A related Web-only story, "Hope on the Range," provides three more effective strategies.

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A rampant prescription, a hidden peril The Boston Globe Kay Lazar; Matt Carroll; 2012 Investigative (large)

This series investigated nursing homes' use of antipsychotic medications on the elderly, a practice the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration has long warned against because of potentially fatal side effects in people with dementia. The Boston Globe analyzed data from 15,600 nursing homes nationwide and found that about 185,000 residents received antipsychotics in 2010 alone, despite not having a medical condition that warranted such use. The series also revealed that Massachusetts nursing homes commonly use antipsychotics to control agitation and combative behavior in elderly residents who should not be receiving the powerful sedatives, yet state regulators seldom use their authority to reprimand or penalize facilities for this practice. Documents from the few state inspections that did result in citations highlighted instances in which residents were so over-medicated, they were unable to open their mouths to eat, or to do much of anything besides sleep.

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Location, Location, Location Trustee magazine Charlotte Huff 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Physician recruitment is a challenge in any market, but it's particularly difficult for hospitals in rural areas, which may not have the big-city amenities or staff support of urban hospitals. This story presents the facts and stats behind the rural physician shortage, then describes successful recruitment strategies that other rural hospitals can emulate. A related Web-only article (Hope on the Range) offers three more specific strategies.

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Mystery in the Fields The Center for Public Integrity Sasha Chavkin; Anna Barry-Jester; Ronnie Greene 2012 Public Health (large)

From northern Sri Lanka to the east coast of India to a 700-mile stretch along the Pacific Coast of Central America, a mysterious form of chronic kidney disease -- CKD -- has emerged as one of the leading causes of death among working age men. In each region, the disease follows the same rare pattern: It primarily affects agricultural workers and damages a part of the kidney not consistent with the most common causes of CKD -- diabetes and hypertension. Instead, scientists suspect poisoning through an unknown toxic exposure. The Center for Public Integrity was the first to connect these deadly epidemics -- and to raise the alarm that this new form of kidney disease poses a growing international threat to rural workers. The Center's report revealed that tens of thousands worldwide have died from the illness, and, for the first time, laid out the striking commonalities bonding the affected areas.

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10 Facts about Population Health Trustee magazine John Morrissey 2012 Public Health (small)

Hospital trustees have a special obligation to promote health in their communities. This story aims to demystify the concept of population health and encourage trustees to begin preparing for it. It provides suggestions for boards as well as identifies the resources--technologies, facilities, clinicians--to be used in improving population health. A related Web-only story, "When the Community Comes Together," describes hospitals' collaborations with local groups to tackle community health problems.

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Skin & Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts Reported by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in collaboration with National Public Radio, Newsday and News12 Long Island, and news organizations in five other countries. ICIJ is a non-profit news organization headquartered in Wash Gerard Ryle STAFF; International Consortium of Investigative Journalists; in collaboration with NPR, Newsday and News12 Long Island, 2012 Investigative (large)

The series documented how tissues taken from corpses in poor countries are used to make advanced medical and dental products for rich countries, fueling a Wall Street-bankrolled industry that has transformed what was once a non-profit system into a for-profit business. This story was not about well-regulated transplant organs but about tendons taken from corpses to repair injured knees, putty made of cadaver bone to restore teeth, skin from the dead used to replace breasts after cancer or to augment lips and penises through cosmetic surgery. The series exposed an ineffective regulatory system that does little to police the trafficking and processing of the material. 

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10 Facts about Population Health Trustee magazine John Morrissey 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Hospital trustees have a special obligation to promote health in their communities. This story aims to demystify the concept of population health and encourage trustees to begin preparing for it. It provides suggestions for boards as well as identifies the resources--technologies, facilities, clinicians--to be used in improving population health. A related Web-only story, "When the Community Comes Together," describes hospitals' collaborations with local groups to tackle community health problems.

AHCJ members: Log in to see the archived story and the questionnaire about how the entry was reported.

Living Dangerously to Pay the Rent Voice of OC (voiceofoc.org) Amy DePaul 2012 Public Health (small)

"Living Dangerously" explores the health and safety perils of crowded housing in some of Orange County's poorest neighborhoods. This article showed that everything from increased exposure to asthma triggers to sexual assaults on children are the direct result of highly congested apartments shared among acquainances and strangers. It's not unusual for immigrants to live under crowded conditions with extended family; now however, people are increasingly living with strangers, as a result of financial desperation and the high rents of Orange County. While local media have reported on crowding on the rare occasion, the issue has generally been covered as a nuisance -- due to parking, trash and crime problems. This story examined crowded housing among low-income immigrant communities as a public health issue.

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Mutual Benefits Trustee magazine John Morrissey 2012 Business (small)

Hospitals have an opportunity to earn revenue, attract new patients and serve the community by forming wellness partnerships with employers. The story discusses the business case for a wellness program, how to build on hospitals' care coordination competencies to serve employers and the benefits to both organizations. A related Web-only piece, "The 'Culture Contract' for Wellness," describes the change in mindset needed from both the hospital and the employer to ensure success.

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A ray of hope: Fighting Lou Gehrig's Disease Detroit Free Press Robin Erb; Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press Photographer/Videographer; 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

There is no cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS / Lou Gehrig's Disease). But a clinical trial underway at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital is led by University of Michigan researchers who hope to move the clinical trial to Michigan. Medical Writer Robin Erb and videographer Kim Mitchell traveled to Atlanta to talk with patients who were in the trial -- patients who knew that the effort, because of its early stage, most likely would never benefit them, but they hoped that by being guinea pigs they could spare future generations the horror of this disease. The package captured the heartbreak of the disease, the promise held by trials such as this one, and the stoicism with which researchers sometimes spend decades chasing the holy grail of a cure. Mitchell stitched together funny, tense and emotional moments from patients and family members with footage from a surgery where 100,000 stem cells were injected into a patient in the most recent surgery in the trial.

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Mutual Benefits Trustee magazine John Morrissey 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Hospitals have an opportunity to earn revenue, attract new patients and serve the community by forming wellness partnerships with employers. The story discusses the business case for a wellness program, how to build on hospitals' care coordination competencies to serve employers and the benefits to both organizations. A related Web-only piece, "The 'Culture Contract' for Wellness," describes the change in mindset needed from both the hospital and the employer to ensure success.

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Why Romney's Emergency Care Isn't Health Care Forbes.com The Doctor Weighs In Dan Munro 2012 Health Policy (large)

This story used facts and figures to refute a belief held by many (including then-candidate Mitt Romney), that Emergency Care is healthcare.

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Transition Point: the unmet needs of transgender patients Stanford University Medical School Tracie Amber White 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story articulates the ambiguities physicians -- both specialists and GPs -- face when caring for transgendered patients. It also helps medical professionals understand how they can help meet the needs of the 700,000 transgendered individuals living in this country.

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After Slipping Through the Cracks, Beaverton Man to Receive Lifesaving Surgery The Lund Report Christen McCurdy 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This story is about a man in who lost his job and his insurance in the middle of receiving treatments for testicular cancer. He and his wife approached more than 100 charitable organizations and government agencies to try and find a source of continued care, receiving little bits of aid here and there (such as utilities assistance) but mostly being wait-listed because of the man's age, prognosis, family status, etc. His story has a happy ending -- right before the story deadline, he learned that he would be able to receive charity care at a research hospital a few hours away -- but illustrates the gaps in the charity-care system, and the hurdles seriously ill uninsured or underinsured people can face.

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Florida - a Bellwether for Medicaid Expansion AtlanticMonthly.com (website of the Atlantic Monthly magazine) Erin Nuran Marcus 2012 Health Policy (large)

Florida's controversial Medicaid privatization program has made the system more difficult to navigate over the past decade, according to patients and health advocates. This article explores possible future scenarios for the state's Medicaid system in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to allow states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. It also discusses the difficulty many low-income people have had obtaining care in counties where the program has been privatized.

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Dollars and Dentists The Center for Public Integrity and PBS Frontline David Heath and Jill Rosenbaum 2012 Business (large)


Place: First Place

This project explores the under-reported story of tens of millions of Americans who lack access to dental care. Unlike health care, there are no safety nets for dental care, even though the pain can be excruciating and even fatal. Stepping into that void are fast-growing corporate dental chains owned by private equity firms, which promise lower-income people affordable dental care. "Dollars and Dentists" documented how these chains prey on people with few other options.

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Discarded Syringes a Growing Health Hazard in Miami New America Media initially, then The Huffington Post Erin Nuran Marcus 2012 Public Health (large)

The article discusses the problem of used syringes on the street in Miami, which has more than 10,000 injection drug users. A recent article in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence estimated that, on average, inner city Miami has 371 used syringes per 1000 blocks, versus 44 for every 1000 blocks in the most drug-affected areas of San Francisco. The study was the first to compare improper syringe disposal in a city with a needle exchange program versus a city without a needle exchange program, and its authors contend that Florida's strict drug paraphernalia laws are responsible for their findings. They also surveyed injection drug users in both cities and found that users in Miami were 34 times more likely to throw their needles away unsafely than users in San Francisco.

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Tension Mounts in Klamath County Over CCO The Lund Report Diane Lund-Muzikant 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story uncovered a dispute over who should provide mental health services in a rural county in Oregon -- with the county and a for-profit mental health provider butting heads and requiring mediation to get that county's coordinated care organization fully functional.

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Cavity Kids: Poor Sacramento children have low access to dental care Sacramento Bee -- February 13, 2012 -- Page One; Sacramento Bee, February 24, 2012 -- Metro Page Front; LA Daily News, May 25, 2012 -- Page One Jocelyn Wiener; Emily Bazar; Lezlie Sterling 2012 Public Health (large)

If you're a poor child in Sacramento County, chances are high that you'll suffer for months with painful or rotted teeth before seeing a dentist. In fact, chances are that if you are one of the almost 100,000 poor children residing in Sacramento County, you won't see a dentist at all over a year's time. CHCF Center for Health Reporting writer Jocelyn Wiener pored over state data and found that Sacramento County's Medi-Cal managed care dental program for poor children consistently produced some of the state's worst access rates. Wiener's months' long investigation found ongoing lax state oversight of the program, despite repeated calls for reform from children's advocates. 

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U.S. Plan to End Alzheimer's Disease CNN International Devi Nampiaparampil; Pauline Chiou; Robyn Turner 2012 Business (large)

This story informs the public of the U.S. government's announcement and plan to cure and/or prevent Alzheimer's Disease by 2025. It also reviews its support of the drug, crenezumab, to achieve this goal.

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2012 Most Wired Hospitals & Health Networks Matthew Weinstock; Suzanna Hoppszallern; 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

As health care becomes increasingly digitized, hospitals and health systems are under pressure to adopt robust information technology systems. Large amounts of dollars are being spent to install these systems all in the hopes of improving patient care. This story looks at how hospitals are implementing IT systems, the challenges they face in doing so, and the results they are seeing.

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Regence BlueCross BlueShield Wants to Raise Rates for Small Businesses The Lund Report Diane Lund-Muzikant 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This series focused on financial dealings at Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, which has begun to operate like a for-profit insurer (rate hikes, decreased reimbursements for providers and investments in for-profit entities) despite continued nonprofit status.

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Easing the Pain Cancer Today magazine Melissa Weber 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Too many cancer patients are living in pain. But why? And where can patients turn to get relief? This article delves into the barriers that prevent cancer patients from receiving effective pain management and how they can break down those barriers to get the help they need.

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Regence BlueCross BlueShield sheds members, follows other insurance giants by shifting millions into The Oregonian Diane Lund-Muzikant 2012 Business (large)

This story summarized changes in Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield's business strategy over the last several years, including its increased emphasis on for-profit investment ventures.

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Danger in the Air FITNESS magazine Hollace Schmidt; Betty S. Wong; Lisa Haney 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Despite its growing presence in young, healthy women who have never smoked, lung cancer is not often reported on in women's magazines. In this piece, FITNESS shines light on lung cancer and provides lifesaving news, personal stories of young women with lung cancer and actionable advice for readers. Significant findings include: One in five American women who contract lung cancer this year will be what researchers call "never smokers" -- those who have taken a drag on fewer than 100 cigarettes in their lives; sixty percent of never smokers with lung cancer are women; the number of never smoking women diagnosed each year in the United States is comparable to the number of women who are found to have ovarian cancer; never-smokers' cancer can strike young, in their twenties and thirties.

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Botox for Chronic Migraine FOX Devi Nampiaparampil; Greg Tufaro; Kaci Lindhorst 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story presents information about the recent FDA approval of botulinum toxin type A (botox) for the treatment of chronic migraine.

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The Split Brain Nature David Wolman 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

Since the 1960s, researchers have been scrutinizing a handful of patients who underwent a radical kind of brain surgery in which the corpus collosum was severed to control severe epilespy. The cohort has been a boon to neuroscience, providing many new insights into the roles of the two halves of the brain. But with the surgery no longer necessary, and the research subjects aging, this source of information will soon be gone.

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Pacientes moradores: a historia da pequena Ana (Living patients: The story of little Ana) Rádio Gaúcha / Grupo RBS Renata Borges Colombo; Jaques Machado 2012 Health Policy (small)

This Portuguese-language broadcast tells the story of small Ana Luiza, a girl of only 3 years old who fights a rare disease since birth. A series of reports details public assistance provided to patients living in hospitals for reason of illness. This history was published in a part of a radio program called Real Life.

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Clinical Management Hospitals & Health Networks Geri Aston 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

The Clinical Management series takes a detailed look at specific hospital service lines. The intent is to provide executives with an analysis of the trends impacting service line operations for the next five-plus years. These articles look at everything from staffing to technology to public policy.

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Gift from Grief MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.) Michael Morton 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)


Place: Second Place

The story is about a local couple who donated the brain of their autistic 4-year-old son to research, soon after he escaped their apartment and drowned in the closed pool at their complex. The piece follows several strands, including the sense of devastating loss and haunting second-guessing that any parent losing a child goes through. In addition to explaining how the accident happened, the story gives all readers a sense of what it's like to raise a child with autism, particularly those with severe impairments and those who try to run off any chance they get. Finally, the piece looks at how the boy's brain will be used for studying autism, the state of research into the disorder and the challenges, as well as the hope, of that work. A sidebar explains more about the mission of the "bank" storing brains for researchers and how readers can make donations, and a chart shows autism rates that had been recently revised upward by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Health Care's Costliest 1 Percent Hospitals & Health Networks Haydn Bush 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters


Place: First Place

As providers brace for major reductions in reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, a number of initiatives are quietly targeting high utilizers of care in both programs. But can grassroots experimentation adequately address a growing national consensus that spending is too high? This three-part series took a detailed look at health care's costliest 1 percent.

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Medicare Advantage Bonuses The Medicare NewsGroup Susan Jaffe 2012 Health Policy (large)

Even the savviest shoppers will pay more for top quality. That's the theory behind the bonuses the federal government pays health insurers if they do a good job caring for 13 million beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The bonus system came under attack in 2011 after Medicare officials announced a special pilot project that would make it easier for insurers to earn the bonuses. Although the skepticism persists, little attention has focused on how much extra -- if any -- the bonuses provide. Insurers are supposed to use the extra payments to improve benefits for their members or lower their premiums. After analyzing payment data for plans in more than 3,200 counties in every state and U.S. territory, reporter Susan Jaffe found that the 2013 top bonus payments of five percent intended to reward MA plans earning five stars may not offer much of an incentive to improve.

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The Mental Health Crisis Hospitals & Health Networks Lola Butcher 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Public funding for behavioral health care continues to dwindle, and the number of psych facilities and providers can't meet the demand. Our article looks at the impact this is having on hospitals and health systems and how they are responding.

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Supreme Court Affordable Care Act Coverage WebMD Valarie Basheda; Sean Swint; Paul Marsico 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story provides coverage of the Supreme Court hearings and decision on the Affordable Care Act. It helps readers understand what's at stake and how it might impact them, with a "just the facts" approach free from the politics and gamesmanship. The story relies on visuals and interaction, as opposed to text only. Reporting includes short video with simple language and colorful graphics to explain this complicated subject in 90 seconds. (Note: The video's length was updated to about 2 minutes in June). An interactive guide allows users to focus more in-depth on key issues. A quiz helps readers separate health reform myth from fact. WebMD also reports live from the hearings using social media. 

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Prescription Predicament WVIA Public Television George Charles Thomas; Joseph Chrobak 2012 Public Health (small)

This live Call the Doctor public television hour addressed patient questions about the best ways to discard medicine patients no longer need.

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Family Health Reporting WBUR's CommonHealth Blog Rachel Zimmerman 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Reporter Rachel Zimmerman covers 1) a doctor who has spent a career figuring out how to reduce children's pain and parents' anxiety, 2) a teenager diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition women often endure for years in silence, 3) a two-month-old who died of pertussis, a contagious, but preventable bacterial disease that is on the rise nationally, and 4) an MIT undergrad who blogs about her mental and emotional "meltdown" and resonates with stressed-out college students across the country.

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Outside the Lines: Used Helmets ESPN Steve Delsohn; Rayna Banks; Tim Hays 2012 Public Health (large)

Each year in the U.S., about 1.7 million used sporting helmets are reconditioned for future use. Reconditioning includes the cleaning and replacement of worn-out or insufficient parts and the great majority of these reconditioned helmets are used at the high school level or younger. But, as Outside the Lines reports, there are questions about whether these helmets are adequately inspected and repaired. Reporter Steve Delsohn and producer Rayna Banks spoke with numerous people in the reconditioning business and learned that some helmets are rushed through the process and returned to schools still in sub-standard condition.

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Are Physicians Coding Too Many 99214s? Medscape Robert Lowes 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story reports that physicians increased their use of higher-level and higher paying billing codes for so-called "evaluation and management services" for Medicare patients from 2001 to 2010, partly with the use of electronic health records (EHRs). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suspects fraud and abuse was at play.

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Outside the Lines: A Fight for Faith ESPN Tom Farrey; Nicole Noren; Carolyn Hong 2012 Investigative (large)

Fight Night VI was billed as a boxing event for charity, with the main bout featuring two former college football players. But the event, hosted by Guts Church in Tulsa, Okla., was unsanctioned with no licensed referee or judges and no ringside doctor. When the fight was over, former University of Tulsa linebacker George Clinkscale -- who had sickle cell trait -- lost his life, leaving behind his pregnant fiancée and a young daughter.

Using previously unseen video of the fight and unreleased medical records, Outside the Lines investigated the alarming lapses that led up to Clinkscale's death at the unconventional mega-church, where its pastor preaches the gospel of toughness and sports. The story explores what could have been done to prevent the tragedy, and raises disturbing questions about the methods used by some churches today to recruit new money and members.

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ACA Series: 5 Articles Medscape Robert Lowes 2012 Health Policy (large)

Elected officials in 26 states asked a federal district judge in Florida to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. They said the law violated the Commerce Clause by requiring individuals to obtain insurance coverage; they said it violated the states' rights prinicple of the 10th Amendment by coercing states to expand their Medicaid programs. There were other federal lawsuits filed against the ACA, but only the Florida case was litigated all the way to the Supreme Court. The nation's high court upheld the individual mandate as a constitutional exercise in taxation even though it overstepped the bounds of the Commerce Clause, in the court's opinion. It agreed with the states that they should have the right to opt out of Medicaid expansion, but otherwise left the Medicaid provisions of the law intact. So the law as a whole survived the legal challenge.

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Teen Births: Nearly One-Half To Hispanics The Connecticut Health I-Team published this story. WNPR in Connecticut did a companion piece that aired several times the same day as C-HIT's. The story was translated in Spanish and published online and in print in La Voz Hispana, the state's largest Sp Magaly Olivero 2012 Public Health (small)

Teen births are down nationally and in Connecticut. But this report found that an intergenerational cycle of children-bearing-children puts Hispanic girls in Connecticut at risk of giving birth once -- even twice -- before their 20s. Also, that among all teen births in Connecticut, Hispanic teens account for close to one-half of all births.

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The impact of the Medical Device Tax MassDevice.com Brad Perriello; Arezu Sarvestani; Brian Johnson 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

The impact of the 2.3% medical device tax, a key component of the 2010 Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, has been a lightening rod of controversy for the medical device industry. More than 7,000 layoffs have been announced as a result of the tax and several companies are expected to shed jobs in the next 12-months as a result of the tax. However, very little impartial analysis of the tax's total impact had been performed by independent organizations. For example, industry talking points under-reported the total amount of funds the tax would bring in over a 10-year period, and several news outlets parroted those numbers out of convenience. This analysis uncovered the companies most likely to be affected negatively by the tax. It also uncovered the true total amount the tax would raise over a 10-year period. The revelation calls into question the accuracy of current government estimates and those on which the tax was originally sold to industry, Congress and the American public by the bill's framers.

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In the age of anxiety, are we all mentally ill? Reuters Sharon Begley 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

As psychiatrists expand the definition of anxiety disorders, more and more people are being labeled mentally ill. Physicians as well as other experts -- and patients themselves -- argue that the trend is pathologizing normal human emotion and unnecessarily subjecting millions of people to medications that can pose health risks.

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Missing Touch The Scientist Megan Scudellari 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters


Place: Second Place

Touch is perhaps our most valuable sense. It allows us to grasp delicate objects, detect our limbs in space, and caress the cheek of a loved one. Well, most of us. There are no prosthetic hands available, commercially or in clinical trials, that provide a sense of touch. Though tactile feedback might do the most to improve upper-limb prosthetics, the majority of the prosthetics research community is instead putting its effort into making arms with wider ranges of motion and more powerful motors. This article chronicles the challenges of incorporating touch into prosthetics, and follows the work of a small group of researchers pursuing that tantalizing goal via cutting edge new approaches, such as rewired nerves and bionic fingertips.

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This Could Hurt -- a Lot Money magazine Amanda Gengler 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Sometimes a hospital stay is not really a hospital stay -- at least as far as Medicare billing is concerned. And that bureaucratic difference can add up to thousands of dollars in surprise medical bills for seniors.

In her revealing look at one of the odder wrinkles in the Medicare coverage relied upon by 45 million Americans, Money writer Amanda Gengler explains why hospitals are increasingly putting patients on "observation" status instead of admitting them as inpatients. Although observation patients wear the same paper gowns and plastic bracelets as regular patients do, they are not covered by Medicare's low-deductible Part A hospital coverage. Instead, they end up covered by Medicare Part B, in which they typically are on the hook for 20% of all their costs. And the costs of being admitted under observation are even higher if you need extra care after your hospital stay.

This story reveals how the use of observation status has been driven by concerns for reducing fraud and controlling costs -- worthy policy goals as Washington seeks to rein in entitlement spending. But whether patients get on observation status is increasingly determined not only by the overseeing physician but through black-box algorithms produced by a handful of hospital-consulting companies; few Medicare enrollees know going in the important financial consequences of these decisions, or are in a position to successfully appeal them once they're made. Gengler's reporting forewarns Medicare enrollees about the surprise costs that can come with a hospital stay; it also lays out a complex public policy issue that is likely to become ever more urgent as the cost of health care continues to grow.

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Solving the Sugar Puzzle EatingWell magazine Rachael Moeller Gorman 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

YouTube star and University of California San Francisco physician Robert Lustig has made the tantalizing claim that sugar is a poison. Most physicians think he's sensationalizing the science. This research-based story finds that Lustig's theory pushes scientific limits, but his idea may, in fact, be on the right track.

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Liz Neporent Beat Reporting ABC News Digital Liz Neporent 2012 Beat Reporting

This stories highlight polypharmia -- code for overmedicated seniors -- by putting a human face on it, the disparity of dental care for low income families, mental health the issue in the gun control debate, and the complicated policies associated with personal health insurance.

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Is Your Tap Water Safe? Good Housekeeping magazine Rachael Moeller Gorman; The Good Housekeeping Research Institute; Jenny Cook and Toni Hope 2012 Public Health (large)

Increasingly sensitive water tests have discovered low levels of unregulated contaminants in drinking water all over the country. Each American drinks a unique assortment of such contaminants (including BPA, the insect repellant DEET, the herbicide atrazine, the anticonvulsant carbamazepine, the hormone estrone, sucralose, the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole, among others). Early studies show these could be harmful in combination, consumed at critical points in development, or consumed long-term. A Good Housekeeping/University of Arizona study found that ordinary water filters can remove most of these contaminants, providing consumers with an easy way to protect their health.

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Meet the Drug Dealer Who Helps Addicts Quit National Public Radio's Morning Edition and National Public Radio's Planet Money Podcast Mara Zepeda, Alex Blumberg and Uri Berliner 2012 Business (large)


Place: Third Place

This report investigated the shortage of certified doctors prescribing the drug buprenorphine (brand name: Suboxone) to treat herion and opiate pain pill addiction in the United States. It revealed that one unintended consequence of this shortage is that addicts have taken to self-medicating by buying Suboxone illegally on the street. The Morning Edition report examined the doctor shortage. It focused on New Mexico, which has the highest fatal drug overdose rate in the country and remains one of the most underserved areas. A drug dealer revealed his supply chain and profit model. Local health professionals and law enforcement agents described the benefits and disadvantages of this black market. The Planet Money podcast explained the demand through interviews with opiate addicts who buy Suboxone illegally. It also took an in-depth look at the history of buprenorphine's development, which was subsidized by taxpayers, and the federal government's complicated stance on opiate addiction treatment in the decades before and after the drug was brought to market.

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Singapore rugby tournament: Eye infections raise ire of visiting teams UBM Medica Asia Greg Town 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Scores of boys developed eye infections (subsequently identified as keratoconjunctivitis) in the weeks following a rugby tournament they participated in in Singapore in April 2012. Many belonged to teams that had traveled to Singapore for the tournament. The coaches and parents linked to those visiting teams were particular critical of the Singapore-based rugby club which had organized the tournament, with many suggesting that better warnings or advisories should have been given especially as most of the games were played in very muddy conditions and that locally, in Singapore, such eye infections have often been seen in rugby players who have played in such conditions.

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Can You Be Too Old for Cancer Treatment? Inside Jersey Sarah Golin 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This story provides a comprehensive look at whether cancer treatment is appropiate for older patients. The reporter found that doctors assess patients' physiological state, rather than rely just on chonological age, to determine whether they will be able to tolerate challenging cancer treatments.

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Elizabeth Simpson's 2012 Body of Work The Virginian-Pilot Elizabeth Simpson 2012 Beat Reporting

The fist story is about a retirement community that added requirements to a dining hall that prohibited people in the skilled nursing area to eat there, essentially segregating the sick and disabled from their healthier colleagues. The second looks at the inequity of fund-raising abilities of various types of cancer, with breast cancer far outpacing other types of more deadly cancers. The third is an exploration of job opportunities for people with autism graduating from high school through the eyes of one young man working in a bakery. And finally, the fourth story examines a new generation of heart pumps moves from a bridge-type apparatus to destination therapy for people with failing hearts, through the eyes of an artist.

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Two More Patients Overdosed at St. Luke's The Morning Call Timothy Darragh 2012 Beat Reporting

This story showed a hospital continued to have problems with overdoses after a patient died when he was accidentally overdosed by hospital staff.

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Barriers to Medicare ACOs May Drive Providers to Private Sector BNA's Medicare Report Nathaniel Weixel 2012 Health Policy (small)

The story explores the potential barriers that may be preventing providers from partnering with Medicare to form accountable care organizations. ACOs are an integral part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act and its effort to lower Medicare costs and improve care quality, and are an important topic for BNA's audience of providers and industry counsel. The story finds that despite government incentives, it may be in the best interests of providers to form commercial ACOs; there is too much uncertainty surrounding Medicare ACOs, the participation requirements are too stringent, and startup costs are too prohibitive for some.

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Coverage of fungal meningitis outbreak tied to contaminated drugs The Boston Globe staff 2012 Public Health (large)


Place: First Place

At first there were four deaths and more than 25 people in five states infected with fungal meningitis, a disease so rare most doctors never see it. Investigators had linked the illnesses to a compounding pharmacy in suburban Boston, which made the injectable steroid given to all the patients. As the number of deaths and cases and states rapidly mounted, The Boston Globe deployed a team of reporters to not just report the news but to explain what had gone so terribly wrong. The story was unfolding fast, it was competitive, and it was complicated, involving medicine, a heretofore obscure corner of the pharmaceutical industry, and a complex patchwork of state and federal regulations. Explanatory journalism is most difficult under such circumstances, when there's little time to think and analyze, but that's when it's most necessary. Even as The Boston Globe unearthed new information, staffers made what could have been a dense subject thoroughly absorbing, writing in a narrative style worthy of a detective novel. Reporters dissected documents and tracked down victims and salespeople, customers and competitors of New England Compounding Center to answer the many questions raised by the outbreak. 

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Flawed Research Leads JADA to Retract Disinfection Study Medscape Medical News (www.medscape.com). James Milton Brice 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story reports on an investigation of a scientific study, published in the May 2012 Journal of the American Dental Association, which uncovered flaws in its design and execution linked to the author's contract with the study's corporate sponsor. An internal inquiry by JADA confirmed these findings and led to the first retraction in 14 years of a study published in the journal.

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The Devil in the Medicine Cabinet This work was produced by InvestigateWest -- a small, nonprofit online journalism organization. It appeared in its entirety on our website, www.invw.org. The Spokane Spokesman Review and Crosscut.com both ran versions of the story, and Public Broadcasting Carol Smith Lee Smith 2012 Public Health (small)

This story includes a set of reports on the causes of and human costs of prescription drug addiction in Washington State. The project investigates the origins of the epidemic, the previously undisclosed role of aggressive marketing by Big Pharma companies in changing prescribing habits, the challenges the epidemic poses for communities going forward, and what lessons other states might learn.

Prescription pain medications kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined, and in a pill-happy culture, the trend shows few signs of reversing. Washington State has been at the epicenter of the epidemic. The state's residents are among the highest consumers of prescription pain meds in the country. They are also dying from prescription overdoses at a rate of two people a day, one of the highest rates in the nation. At the beginning of 2012, the strictest prescribing law in the country went into effect in Washington state. But Smith's reporting revealed the significant loopholes created by the law and the challenges those presented to public health experts as well as some potential solutions.

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Pam's Battle The Virginian-Pilot Amy Jeter 2012 Public Health (large)

People in Portsmouth die of cancer at the highest rate in Virginia. This series explores factors that contribute to the high mortality rate, and it follows one woman's journey as she discovers symptoms, receives a diagnosis of stage-4 breast cancer and starts treatment. The stories examine the impact of a shortage of primary care physicians, a dearth of mammogram opportunities for low-income women, and the biological, cultural and economic barriers that can keep blacks from pursuing preventive cancer care.

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Patients' pain pumps fraught with problems The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call Timothy Darragh 2012 Investigative (small)


Place: Special Judges' Citation

This story showed that malfunctioning pain pumps are a common problem. A patient in a local hospital died when he was overdosed with one of these pumps, prompting a more in-depth look.

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Clear Skies After Dark Days The Virginian-Pilot Amy Jeter 2012 Business (large)

This story follows Amerigroup Corp., a home-grown Medicaid managed care company, from its worst misstep to a significant milestone: its sale for $4.9 billion to one of the nation's largest health insurance companies.

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Risky bonds prove costly for Carilion The Roanoke (va.) Times Sarah Bruyn Jones 2012 Business (small)


Place: Third Place

Seven years after Roanoke-based Carilion Clinic borrowed money to expand its flagship hospital, the nonprofit hospital system is still tallying how much it lost in a series of complex financial transactions related to the $308 million in tax-exempt bonds it issued on Dec. 14, 2005. In court papers, the losses were pegged at "many millions of dollars." The decision has continued to wreak havoc on Carilion's financial performance and forced the organization to refinance its bonds to try to repair the damage. Carilion blames the Wall Street firms it hired to facilitate the loan and advised Carilion to structure the bonds as auction rate securities.

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Amy Jeter's beat The Virginian-Pilot Amy Jeter 2012 Beat Reporting

These stories examine the economic downturn's effect on the dental professions, family decisions to examine genetic predispositions for cancer, a Medicaid managed care company that is sold to one of the nation's largest private health insurers, and the environemental and social factors that might lead to Richmond's status as the most cancer-afflicted city in Virginia.

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The growing burden of being well The News Journal (Wilmington, DE./Gannett), Delawareonline.com Kelly April Tyrrell; William McMichael; Corianne Natoli 2012 Health Policy (large)

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. A controversial overhaul of the status quo, the law was challenged and subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court. As the election approached -- with the potential to dramatically change the law -- these stories helped people understand the core elements of the law, how it came to be, what it intended to address and what impact the law on everyone from individuals to families, to health care providers, the state, health insurance companies and business owners.

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Do you know the color for lung cancer? The Virginian-Pilot Elizabeth Simpson 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story explores inequity among fund-raising abilities of various forms of cancer, showing breast cancer fund-raising outpaces efforts of other type of more deadly cancers.

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Sheri Fink's 2012 Body of Work independent journalist Sheri Fink 2012 Beat Reporting


Place: First Place

These examples of reporting from the disaster public health beat looked at the impact of hurricanes in New York City and New Orleans in 2012. The stories showed ways that major lessons from previous hurricanes were not learned, including that significant portions of the cities' health care infrastructure remain highly vulnerable to flooding. The stories also revealed areas for future focus, including better preparedness to meet the needs of elderly and disabled residents of high-rise complexes in prolonged power outages.

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The Shape We're In The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette Kate Long, Kyle Slagle and Dawn Miller 2012 Public Health (small)


Place: First Place

The Gazette examined West Virginia's frightening chronic disease and obesity rates, reporting that: One in four West Virginia fifth-graders has high blood pressure and cholesterol. One in four is obese. One in three adult West Virginians is obese, at high risk of chronic disease. West Virginia is in the top three states in diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, obesity, early death and a wide range of other costly chronic diseases. Seven in 10 of West Virginia's health dollars are already spent on chronic disease. Chronic disease costs will double in West Virginia within ten years if nothing changes, health economists warn.

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Leapfrog's New Safety Report Card Alarms Hospitals HealthLeaders Media Cheryl Clark; Cora Nucci 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

The updated Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Score gave 25 hospitals, including 520-bed Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, a failing grade of F, while another 121 hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic, got a barely passing D. Executives of several hospitals that received F scores were incensed, one declaring that Leapfrog was attempting to "extort" hospitals to join its voluntary reporting system. But Leapfrog's CEO defended every point of the scoring

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Will a flu shot keep you healthy? Focus Magazine Alan K.E. Cassels 2012 Public Health (small)

The author examines a new British Columbian flu policy through the lens of the best available evidence--synopses of evidence produced by the Cochrane Collaboration--and finds little benefit in the more rigidly applied flu vaccination policy for health workers.

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Stop Loss -- The Tug Between Self-Insurance and the ACA Inside Health Policy Rachana Dixit 2012 Health Policy (small)

This story reports that the Obama administration might be trying to limit the purchase of stop loss insurance so the goals of health reform are fulfilled. Increasingly there is concern that the Obama health care law's requirements on fully insured health insurance plans might result in more small businesses self-insuring and purchasing stop loss insurance as a way to keep their costs down. Yet there are fears that such a trend could undermine health reform because self-insured plans are not subject to the law's greater benefit requirements and consumer protections. This story delves into the policy ramifications of this significant issue and examines growing concern that the administration might try to subject stop loss policies to greater regulation. It also sheds light on growing interest from state and federal regulators in stop loss insurance before health reform's biggest changes kick in in 2014.

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The Uninformed Dialysis Patient American Journal of Transplantation Sue Pondrom 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

African Americans with end stage renal (kidney) disease are less likely than their white counterparts to be referred for kidney transplantation. African Americans treated at for-profit dialysis centers are less likely than whites to be placed on the transplant wait list. Transplant professionals need to take an earlier, more active role in ensuring that up-to-date information about kidney transplantation is available to nephrologiists and dialysis units.

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Prescription For Cheating CNN Scott Zamost; Drew Griffin; Azadeh Ansari 2012 Investigative (large)

The investigation showed how radiologists have cheated to pass the mandatory written board certification exam. After the story aired, the medical group that oversees all board certifications announced it was cracking down on cheating. The second story also revealed that dermatologists have used similar techniques to cheat on their board exams for years. What made this even more interesting was that the whistleblower himself was a doctor. He claimed that widespread cheating was wrong and believed his complaints about it had been ignored. 

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Healthy Balance Baltimore Business Journal Sarah Gantz 2012 Business (small)

The generation of doctors entering the workforce are a different breed than doctors nearing retirement -- they want a better work-life balance. The workload, stress and pay of particular specialties is increasingly influencing graduates' career choices.

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Will Physician-Assisted Suicide Spread to Massachusetts? Medscape Medical News Robert Lowes 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Massachusetts asked voters last November to decide whether or not to legalize physician-assisted suicide, which involves a physician prescribing a lethal dose of narcotics to a terminally ill patient who requests it. Oregon and Washington already have such laws. This story looks at how this issue has split the medical community, with opponents citing the ancient Hippocratic mantra of "do no harm" and supporters voicing the modern principle of patient autonomy.

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Funding fears SFARI.org Virginia Hughes; Emily Singer; Apoorva Mandavilli 2012 Beat Reporting

Despite funders' requirements to share mouse models after publication, many researchers hoard the animals for the good of their labs -- and that could have an adverse effect on the autism field as a whole. Concerned by researchers' lack of access to a valuable mouse model of autism, a nonprofit advocacy group is dedicating a chunk of its limited resources to the creation of a freely available version of the mouse.

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Nevada Quietly Moves Forward with Key Part of Federal Health Law Capital Public Radio, National Public Radio, Kaiser Health News (print version) Pauline Elizabeth Bartolone 2012 Health Policy (large)

Nevada has one of the highest rates of people without health insurance in the nation. Although Nevada was one of the states that filed suit against the federal health law, it has quietly been implementing a key component of the Affordable Care Act.

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Diagnostic dilemma SFARI.org Emily Singer 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Contrary to previous studies, preliminary results from field trials of the new criteria for diagnosing autism suggest it will capture people on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. This story was reported from the International Meeting for Autism Research in Toronto in May 2012.

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Massachusetts Tests Model for Controlling Health Costs WBUR and WBUR.org Martha Sue Bebinger 2012 Beat Reporting

This package crowns WBUR's commitment to explain Massachusetts' model for health care cost control. The stories explain the complex law in terms anyone can understand. In 2012, WBUR investigated the hundreds of changes included in versions of a cost containment bill. To illustrate, this story reports on a new requirement that doctors offer end-of-life counseling to patients nearing death. This was an enterprising revelation that Massachusetts would move ahead with a version of the "death panels" that triggered heated national debate. And finally, this package includes a story that illustrate the gap between the goal of the law, "to give consumers transparency in health care," and the reality of trying to find useful cost and quality information. 

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Danger On Your Dinner Plate Bloomberg Markets Stephanie Armour, John Lippert and Michael Smith 2012 Public Health (small)


Place: Third Place

In some cases, private food inspectors have financial ties to executives at companies they're reviewing. AIB International, a Manhattan, Kan., inspection company that awarded top safety marks to producers who sold toxic food, has had board members who are top managers at clients including the maker of Wonder Bread, Tastykake, Entenmann's pastries and Sara Lee baked goods.

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Health Care Reform Beat Orlando Business Journal Abraham Aboraya 2012 Health Policy (small)

This story covers the impact of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on businesses in Orlando. Coverage during the first seven months of the year focused on what the insurance industry, health care providers and business community were doing in the wake of uncertainty about whether the health care reform would be upheld. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upheld the law, the coverage shifted to what that meant for area businesses and how the industry and health care providers were reacting to the decision.

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Bill Collectors in the ER Minneapolis Star Tribune Maura Lerner; Tony Kennedy 2012 Business (large)

Even before Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sued Accretive Health Inc. for violating state consumer and patient privacy laws, Star Tribune reporters Maura Lerner and Tony Kennedy had begun investigating the company in 2011 -- disclosing that it was primarily a bill collector serving Fairview Hospitals, not a health-care consultant and documenting that an Accretive employee who lost a laptop computer with private patient medical data was not authorized to have unencrypted patient information.

After the attorney general sued, in 2012, Lerner and Kennedy dug in again. They documented that two top executives of the Fairview hospital organization had personal and financial ties to Accretive even as they negotiated consulting contracts with the firm. They also found Fairview patients who had been accosted by bill collectors while awaiting medical care -- sometimes in the emergency room -- and who went on the record to describe in painful detail the abusive tactics used by Fairview and Accretive, and contradicting claims of innocence by the consulting firm. Finally, Lerner and Kennedy uncovered a cache of internal Fairview e-mails, which revealed that, contrary to the claims of Fairview management and Accretive executives, nurses and physicians had complained for months that the company's aggressive debt-collection tactics were interfering with medical care and even driving away patients who sought treatment.

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Violence in the Media: What Effects on Behavior? Psychiatric Times, a national, independent publication that goes to most clinical psychiatrists in the United States. Arline Ray Kaplan 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

In July of 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside of a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film, "The Dark Knight Rises." After setting off tear gas grenades, a gunman shot into the audience, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. Hours after the tragedy, reporters, the public and experts began speculating about causes.

This article uses statements from psychiatrists and other behavioral health experts along with conclusions from research studies to explore the impact of violence in films, TV and video games on behavior. Some significant findings: while the public's perception is that violence has increased, in reality, the number of violent crimes has been falling; most murderers know their victims; studies of violent video games indicate they are a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior; there is growing evidence that high exposure to fast-paced violent games can lead to changes in brain function when processing violent images; and some mentally ill individuals are vulnerable to dramatized violence.

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For some Oakland seniors, a meal is hard to come by Oakland North oaklandnorth.net Madeleine Townsend Thomas 2012 Public Health (small)

Oakland, California has the largest number of senior citizens living in poverty than any other city in California. Reporter Madeleine Townsend Thomas traveled to a low-income neighborhood in East Oakland to meet Jessie Mae Brown, an impoverished senior who helps to feed residents of her block with the free makeshift grocery store she keeps on her front porch.

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A Right to a Medical Interpreter, But Not a Guarantee www.PublicInsightNetwork.org Jeff Severns Guntzel 2012 Public Health (large)

Courts have held that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees interpretation services for most people receiving health care from a provider who doesn't speak their language. But providers across the U.S. are struggling to meet this standard, especially in communities experiencing rapid growth in the number of limited-English speakers. We mapped that growth and talked to professionals about the dangers of falling short of their obligation.

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Mental Breakdown The Modesto (Calif.) Bee Jocelyn Wiener, Ken Carlson and Lauren Whaley 2012 Health Policy (small)


Place: Second Place

In California's economically challenged Stanislaus County, where unemployment and poverty rates are among the state's highest, help for the mentally ill has virtually disappeared. County mental health has lost more than 200 positions, about 37 percent of staff. Hospital emergency rooms are clogged with mentally ill patients, with several reporting double the numbers of five years ago. The county jail is also suffering effects from the cuts, with a nearly 50 percent increase in mentally ill inmates in the past 6 years. ER doctors and sheriff's deputies have become de facto mental health crisis workers. Meanwhile, the mentally ill are left to cope largely on their own, with advocacy groups and a few mental health professionals trying innovative approaches to cast light in a dark tunnel of need. The team's work included up-close-and-personal photos and audio of this very sensitive subject.

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Diabetes Test Strip Resale: A Million-Dollar Grey Market KUOW Public Radio Patricia Murphy; Jim Gates 2012 Investigative (large)

Diabetes is an epidemic. It's also billion dollar industry rife with fraud, waste and abuse that disproportionately targets the elderly and under-insured. At the center is a small test strip used by diabetics to check their blood sugar levels. Patients who chose to sell their test strips for small sums of money rather then monitor their blood sugar sacrifice their health. This ultimately costs taxpayers and rate-payers millions more in often preventable healthcare costs. Conversely, this grey market is supported by under-insured diabetics who are forced to buy discounted test strips online from brokers because they can't afford to pay for high priced test strips from a legitimate pharmacy.

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Connecticut's new partner in science tracks the root causes of disease, mouse by mouse The Connecticut Mirror (www.ctmirror.org) Arielle Levin Becker 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

In late 2011, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced he had convinced a world-famous, Maine-based genomics firm, The Jackson Laboratory, to build a facility on the site of a newly upgraded University of Connecticut Health Center. It was the key, Malloy said, to creating a bioscience R&D community in the state, which has had trouble attracting new jobs and industry for the past two decades. These three stories introduce readers to the concepts and vocabulary of genomics research and to the people who will be the drivers behind the lab and its work.

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Timeline: The History of Premium Support The Medicare NewsGroup Donald Sjoerdsma 2012 Health Policy (large)

Though the GOP's plan to transform Medicare into a competitive 'premium support' system was a point of heated debate between Democrats and Republicans during the 2012 presidential campaign, the concept has a history of bipartisan collaboration. This interactive timeline provides context for the Medicare reform discussion and shows how the concept of premium support progressed from a bipartisan reform approach to a deeply partisan issue.

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Championing access to health care High Plains Journal, both Web and print. Larry Joseph Dreiling 2012 Public Health (small)

This story explains how one rural community health leader endeavors to make the Affordable Care Act work better in her area. The goal was to take a complex topic and make it understandable for a rural audience.

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DuPont retirees face big change The News Journal, Delawareonline.com/Gannett Inc. Cori Anne Natoli; Kelly April Tyrrell; 2012 Business (large)

The Wilmington, Del., based DuPont Co. informed approximately 80,000 retirees, including spouses, that they would no longer be providing company-sponsored health care benefits. Instead the firm offered an annual stipend to retirees and connected them to a third party administrator, ExtendHealth, to obtain benefits. The company had a reputation of being paternalistic and the move shocked many, not the least of which were the retirees themselves, who suddenly found themselves confronting a health care coverage landscape they had not been exposed to for many years. It caused fear, concern, confusion and disappointment.

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The Truth About Epidurals Slate.com Melinda Wenner Moyer 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This report dug into research that has been published on the effects of epidural analgesia during labor, concluding that the claims that they are dangerous are over-stated.

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The Automated External Defibrillator: Medical Marvel But Measurement Mystery The LDI Health Economist Magazine Hoag Levins 2012 Health Policy (small)


Place: First Place

Publicly accessible automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can seem near-miraculous in their ability to pull sudden cardiac arrest victims back from sure death. Not surprisingly, stories of their successes have a strong emotional appeal in a country where more than 900 people die of cardiac arrest every day. But actually measuring and analyzing the national scope and impact of this "bystander" AED emergency response model remains an elusive goal for policy makers and the nation's health care research community. The goal of this story project was to take a comprehensive look at all aspects of AEDs use and actual health impact across the country. Findings include: Even as governments, corporations and individuals purchase and install an estimated $500 million worth of AEDs each year there is a lack of central registries at the city, state and national level capable of routinely gathering data about AEDs' exact locations or battery power levels or overall operational status. Also unknown are the criteria used to place many of them, or how many times they are used by members of the public, or what the outcomes of those emergency response events are, or how the bystander AED model's overall national benefits compare to its overall costs. And even when the device malfunctions that caused those failure are identified, there is no way to contact the owners of all similar AED models or recall and repair those models. Those faulty AEDs simply remain hanging on the wall until the next cardiac arrest victim collapses nearby and dies as a result of a non-functional AED.

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Do Doctors Really Know Best? Babble.com Melinda Wenner Moyer 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story examined whether OB care is affected by malpractice fears and pressure. The evidence suggests that it is -- and not for the better.

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Death by Strep: One Family's Tragic Loss Everyday Health Allison Takeda 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Four days after falling ill, Rory Staunton died from an invasive bacterial strep infection. Everydayhealth.com was the first national outlet to share Rory's story. The article brought nationwide attention to invasive strep infections, which affect between 10,000 to 12,000 Americans a year, according to the CDC. Four months after Rory's death, NYU Langone Medical Center, the hospital where the boy was treated and discharged, announced plans to implement corrective actions" and design "additional care processes to address the delivery of care" to emergency department patients as direct result of their review of the events that led to the preventable tragedy. 

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Fouchier study reveals changes enabling airborne spread of H5N1 Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) News Robert Roos; Lisa Schnirring; Jim Wappes 2012 Public Health (large)

In late 2011, two studies involving lab-mutated versions of the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus captured global notoriety more for their potential threat than for their perceived benefit. Researchers had for the first time developed H5N1 strains that proved readily transmissible in mammals -- a worrisome scenario. In an unprecedented move, a US federal advisory board blocked publication of the studies' findings in part over bioterror concerns, but later relented. The second, more controversial study produced viruses that not only spread through the air but proved deadly to lab ferrets. CIDRAP News sought to not simply clarify study details, but to plumb the greater issues of societal benefits and risks -- as well as ramifications for similar research. A sidebar further delves into the future of policies surrounding such potentially dangerous studies, an issue that is yet evolving.

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Hospital Coaches Frequent E.R. Users to Improve Care, Reduce Costs Capital Public Radio Pauline Elizabeth Bartolone 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Studies show that a small number of frequent visitors to emergency rooms are often responsible for a disproportionate share of the cost. One hospital in Visalia, Calif., is tacking this problem through intensive "life-coaching." As a result, it's changed patients' lives, and improved finances, too.

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Glaucoma May Involve Entire Visual Pathway, Not Just Eye Medscape Daniel Keller 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Glaucoma, long held to be a disease primarily of elevated intraocular pressure, in reality may be a disease primarily of neurodegeneration. All therapies up to now have focused on lowering pressure in the eye, which often but not always helps preserve vision. An article published in the journal Ophthalmology presents a view of glaucoma focused on the degeneration of retinal ganglion cells and their axons in the optic nerve, with an eye toward potential new therapeutic mechanisms and new therapies. Toward these ends, there are myriad pathophysiologic mechanisms to explore, including glutamate excitotoxicity, reactive oxygen species, vascular effects and ischemia, defective axonal transport, glial dysfunction, loss of neurotrophic factors and cell survival, and apoptotic mechanisms. Unraveling these intertwined factors may lead to therapies that provide neuroprotection, neuroenhancement (improved functioning of neurons) and even neuroregeneration.

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A Rampant Prescription, A Hidden Peril The Boston Globe Kay Lazar and Matt Carroll 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)


Place: Third Place

This series investigated nursing homes' use of antipsychotic medications on the elderly, a practice the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration has long warned against because of potentially fatal side effects in people with dementia. The Boston Globe analyzed data from 15,600 nursing homes nationwide and found that about 185,000 residents received antipsychotics in 2010 alone, despite not having a medical condition that warranted such use. The series also revealed that Massachusetts nursing homes commonly use antipsychotics to control agitation and combative behavior in elderly residents who should not be receiving the powerful sedatives, yet state regulators seldom use their authority to reprimand or penalize facilities for this practice. Documents from the few state inspections that did result in citations highlighted instances in which residents were so over-medicated, they were unable to open their mouths to eat, or to do much of anything besides sleep.

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India Close to Eradicating Polio, But Challenges Still Remain PBS NewsHour Fred de Sam Lazaro; Nikki See; Rakesh Nagar 2012 Public Health (large)

In India, a poor and populous country long plagued by polio, health officials have now come close to wiping out the disease.

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The Vaccine Controversy: Truth and Consequences Parade Magazine Seth Mnookin 2012 Public Health (large)

The piece explained why vaccine uptake rates have been falling in many communities around the country and found that the consequences of parents choosing not to have their children vaccinated are much more serious than most people think.

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Extreme Caution Houston Press Craig Malisow 2012 Investigative (large)

Through the lens of a local wrongful death lawsuit, this story examines risks associated with a relatively new blood-thinner called Pradaxa. After the drug went to market, the FDA and drug regulators in other countries issued notices to clarify the fact that there is virtually no way to reverse a severe bleeding incident, which is something that patients who switched from the standard treatment (Coumadin) may not have realized.

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Sickle and Me WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 Bree Person; Veralyn Williams; Marianne McCune 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

WNYC's Radio Rookies works with youth across New York City to create first person documentaries about the concerns of teens. In Sickle and Me, 18-year-old Radio Rookie Bree Person gives listeners an inside look at her life with Sickle Cell Anemia. Nearly 100,000 Americans suffer from this painful blood disorder that shortens life-expectancy, yet Bree has found that most people know nothing about it. Sickle cells aren't round like normal cells-- they're shaped like a crescent moon and Bree hates looking at them. Sometimes she hates talking about them, too -- but she put together this report nevertheless. For the first time Bree has difficult conversations with her family, including talking to her mom about how long she's expected to live. Bree interviewed Dr. Suzette Oyeku, a pediatrician in the Bronx who specializes in Sickle Cell treatment and research. "Even though the disease has been described for more than a hundred years it's still pretty invisible to many people," Oyeku says. "And there are many people that are suffering in silence." Before this report, Bree would have put herself in that category. 

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Ophthalmologists' Vision for Haiti Unshaken by Earthquake Medscape Daniel Keller 2012 Public Health (large)

An earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010 devastated Haiti, including its medical infrastructure and services, which in some places had been minimal even before the earthquake. This article relates how two ophthalmologists are working to help build a workable system of medical care in the country. It also describes some of the obstacles and local mindsets that present barriers that have to be overcome to achieve the goals at the patient level and for the society as a whole.

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Lacking Regulation, Many Medical Apps Questionable at Best The Washington Post, Health and Science section The New England Center for Investigative Reporting Rochelle Phyllis Sharpe; Sarah Kuranda; Marion Halftermeyer 2012 Health Policy (large)

The story investigated 1,500 health apps sold on the iTunes and Google Play stores and uncovered hundreds of apps that claimed to cure or help disease, despite no medical evidence that these treatments would work. It disclosed that one out of five apps claimed to treat or cure medical problems -- exactly the sorts of apps that the FDA is arguing should be regulated.

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Alzheimer's Rising Storm Las Vegas Review-Journal Paul Harasim; Jennifer Robison; John Przybys 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This series outlined the scope of the public health crisis that is Alzheimer's disease, dealt with how if affects families emotionally and financially, and detailed both the medical and research response to the disease.

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Saving Face -- How to avoid the ugly results of med spa procedures Angie's List Magazine Circulation for Indianapolis magazine Staff 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

Americans received more than 5 million Botox injections and 7 million non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as laser hair removal, soft-tissue fillers, microdermabrasion and chemical peels in 2011. The explosive growth -- 123 percent in 10 years, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons -- means consumers must be more cautious than ever about who they use for a procedure. If improperly handled, many of the treatments can cause blisters, scabs and infections. In Indiana, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, physician's assistants, nurses and estheticians can perform the procedures in doctors' offices, medical spas and day spas. Providers administering treatments only have to be under a physician's direction, but the doctor doesn't need to be on-site. Directors from the Indiana Medical Licensing Board and the Indiana State Board of Cosmetology admitted to us that while they can revoke a license of a provider, they don't have the authority to shut down a spa. "It's pretty much a free-for-all here," says plastic surgeon Dr. Barry Eppley of Ology spa facilities in Carmel and Avon, Ind.

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Barbara Benson's body of work Crain's New York Business Barbara Benson 2012 Beat Reporting

This past year has been extremely challenging for financially fragile New York City community hospitals: three are bankrupt, and others are scrutinizing mergers and alliances that may help them avoid that fate. These four stories focus on two of these hospitals. Their executives blame their financial struggles on low reimbursement rates for Medicaid and Medicare and on their high volume of uninsured patients. These articles chronicle a different story line-- tales of mismanagement, ineffective boards of trustees, conflicts of interest, and exceptionally poor judgment.

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Ready to Die: The secret epidemic of African-American suicide B.L.A.C. Detroit Magazine Angela G. King; Kimberly Hayes Taylor; 2012 Public Health (small)

In May 2012, news that a 7-year-old boy had used a belt to hang himself on his bunk bed, the city was shocked. What would drive a 7-year-old to die by suicide? But upon closer examination, BLAC Detroit Magazine learned that suicide among African Americans is on the rise. One African American dies from suicide every 4.5 minutes in the United States.

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Top Doctor Awards: Are They Well Deserved? ABC News Mark Abdelmalek, MD; Gerry Wagschal; Joseph Rhee 2012 Investigative (large)

This was an in-depth, 11-month long ABC News investigation into popular "top doctor" awards. ABC learned that doctors can buy their way on to "top doctor" lists (at a cost of up to $10,000 for some) and that for some companies there is no screening process. For instance, one list included a dentist who received a top dentist plaque but never practiced a day of dentistry in his life. Even for the big players in the "top doctor" award industry, many of the awards are nothing more than a popularity contest and hospitals pay big bucks to make sure their doctors' profiles are "public." Hospital systems earn bragging rights for how many of their doctors make the "top doctor" lists.

This piece uncovered proof of a hospital system bribing their doctors (with $300 AmEx gift cards) to nominate as many of their "top doctor colleagues" as they can. ABC News also cross-referenced state disciplinary records from seven different states with one particular top-doctor database and found that 1/3 of doctors with serious state disciplinary records were also "top doctors."

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Medicare PQRS: Quality reporting or else American Medical News Charles Fiegl 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Medicare participation in 2012 was critical for physicians. The calendar year was their last to master quality reporting, electronic prescribing and other federal program requirements before performance would be used against them. In future years, a physician's performance will be used to determine whether he or she will be penalized for failing to achieve quality objectives.

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Stroke Recovery ... Later Corpus Christi Caller Times, Abilene Reporter News, Galvestion County Daily News, and Del Rio News Herald Pamela K Bond; Dr. David Niesel; Dr. Norbert Herzog 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story reports on new tests that have discovered compounds for extending the treatment window for stroke patients.

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Be Well -- Addiction WVIZ/PBS & 90.3 WCPN ideastream Mark Rosenberger; Kay Colby; Katie Baker 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Addiction is defined as the continued use of a mood-altering substance or behavior despite adverse consequences. It runs the gambit -- from alcohol and cigarettes to prescription and illegal drugs. And the word addiction is often applied to compulsions that while not substance-related can be just as consuming such as gambling, shopping, pornography, food, exercising and even texting. In September 2012, ideastream broadcast a one-hour television program that explored the mysterious and often misunderstood world of addiction through the eyes of five people affected by various types of addictions. The profile stories were augmented with on-set interview with medical experts who explained aspects of addiction ranging from brain chemistry to treatment and family support.

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Top Doctor Awards: Are They Well Deserved? ABC News Mark Abdelmalek, MD; Gerry Wagschal; Joseph Rhee 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This was an in-depth, 11-month long ABC News investigation into popular "top doctor" awards. ABC learned that doctors can buy their way on to "top doctor" lists (at a cost of up to $10,000 for some) and that for some companies there is no screening process. For instance, one list included a dentist who received a top dentist plaque but never practiced a day of dentistry in his life. Even for the big players in the "top doctor" award industry, many of the awards are nothing more than a popularity contest and hospitals pay big bucks to make sure their doctors' profiles are "public." Hospital systems earn bragging rights for how many of their doctors make the "top doctor" lists. 

This piece uncovered proof of a hospital system bribing their doctors (with $300 AmEx gift cards) to nominate as many of their "top doctor colleagues" as they can. ABC News also cross-referenced state disciplinary records from seven different states with one particular top-doctor database and found that 1/3 of doctors with serious state disciplinary records were also "top doctors."

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On the efficacy of psychiatric drugs Psychiatric Times Arline Ray Kaplan 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

In recent years, psychologists and others have argued that some psychiatric drugs, particularly antidepressants, are not better than sugar pills (placebos). My article reports on a "panoramic overview" of 127 meta-analyses that reveals psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, are as efficacious as drugs used to treat general medical conditions.

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I Can See Again Radio stations - 115 total in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, London, and Zambia. Christina Yao Lee; Dr. David Niesel; Dr. Norbert Herzog 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story reports on a study in blind mice that showed implanting photoreceptor cells restored the mice's vision -- a breakthrough in curing degenerative eye diseases.

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Michelle Andrews 2012 Body of Work Kaiser Health News/Washington Post Michelle Andrews 2012 Beat Reporting

Michelle Andrews writes the weekly Insuring Your Health consumer column about health insurance that runs on Kaiser Health News, in The Washington Post Health section and other outlets around the country. In these reported columns, she answers questions from readers or examines recent news events or explains changes in the health care market. These are several of her most influential columns in 2012. 

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The Zamboni Effect The New York Times Magazine Paul Tullis 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

A condition known as CCSVI has been hypothesized as the cause of, or a contributing factor to, the onset of multiple sclerosis. Thousands of people have paid as much as $11,000 each to undergo an invasive procedure said to alleviate the condition. But there's no evidence the procedure works, and a great deal of doubt the condition even exists. This article explores the controversy through two brothers: one, a patient with MS who has undergone the surgery, the other a neurologist who treats patients with MS and regards CCSVI as an instance of scientific medical and misconduct.

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Moving toward bundled pay Inside Health Policy Rachana Dixit Dixit; Amy Lotven 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Because of ACA, the federal government is beginning an effort to pay providers in a way that encourages more efficient and coordinated care. But those efforts are not without their setbacks. Inside Health Policy first reported the exclusive story that CMS had to abruptly suspend one of the models in its Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, dealing a setback to the demonstration that is designed to move away from the volume-driven fee-for-service system in Medicare to one that encourages care coordination. The story also highlights that hospitals, which were keen to participate in the highly anticipated demonstration and had made the necessary preparations to do so, were very displeased about CMS' sudden decision.

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The Consumer (pt. 1) The New York Times Roni Caryn Rabin 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

These three columns examined the wide variation in hospital charges and the lack of transparency in pricing that makes it difficult for consumers to shop around, hidden anesthesia charges that are tacked on to a routinely recommended cancer screening test, and how a popular TV show aimed at 20-somethings disseminated inaccurate information about the HPV virus in its storyline. The column attempts to provide clear information and set viewers straight.

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As whooping cough rebounds in U.S., infants at greatest risk PBS NEWSHOUR Betty Ann Bowser; Sarah Clune; Jason Kane 2012 Public Health (large)

These reports by the PBS Newshour health team cover the worst U.S. whooping cough outbreak in more than half a century. They include an extensive broadcast report on infant vulnerability, a feature that allowed the public to ask questions of public health officials, a feature on a family that lost a child to the disease, and several informative graphics.

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Carrier Barrier HemAware magazine and hemaware.org Sarah Aldridge 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

Female hemophiliacs bleed and bruise like their male counterparts, yet are mislabeled as mere "carriers." The story is about women's push to get their status changed from "carrier" to "mild hemophilia." It discusses the many complications women have had because their hemophilia diagnosis has not been taken seriously by the medical community, particularly physicians and surgeons. Hence, they have not received appropriate preventive treatment for bleeds or prior to childbirth or surgery.

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400 food allergen recalls since March 2009 ABCNews.com published this story. Sydney Lupkin 2012 Health Policy (large)

This story analyzed FDA data to find that more than 400 food items had been recalled because of undeclared allergens since March 2009. This is a problem because food allergies have increased significantly in this country over the last 10 years, according to the CDC. Although a 2004 law mandated clear labeling for the top eight allergens, companies aren't required to note potential cross-contamination. And those foods -- candies, cakes, etc. -- often aren't recalled until someone gets sick.

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Ramon Rodriguez: The trials of a renegade CEO Crain's New York Business Barbara Benson 2012 Business (small)


Place: First Place

This article chronicles tales of mismanagement, ineffective boards of trustees and exceptionally poor judgment. The board of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center brought in a new CEO, Ramon Rodriguez, in late 2011 to save the debt-ridden Brooklyn hospital. He immediately caused a major stir, not least because he fired nine doctors, replaced half the board and fought the Cuomo administration's efforts to merge the hospital with two other Brooklyn institutions.

Barbara Benson explains why New York hospitals are hemorrhaging money and why fixing the system is proving to be so difficult. Her Wyckoff story details the derailing of a potential merger deal that could save the hospital from financial ruin, and Rodriguez's depression and penchant for penning outrageous emails that blast his own board and top doctors. Financially troubled hospitals aren't victims of low reimbursement rates alone. Their fiscal health is equally vulnerable to human error, as this article illustrates.

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The end of a lead-laced era KBIA 91.3 FM, an NPR-affiliate station in Columbia, MO. Jacob Fenston 2012 Public Health (small)

Herculaneum, Mo., a small town on the bluffs above the Mississippi River, was always a company town. The company, Doe Run, is the largest lead producer in North America, trucking in lead from Missouri's rich mines to a 120-year-old smelter on the river. For 25 years, the smelter didn't meet federal air standards for lead, and now, after decades of battling government regulators and angry parents, Doe Run is leaving town at the end of next year. In this feature, Jacob Fenston visits the town and talks with residents, town officials and public health experts about the impact of the smelter on this rural Missouri community.

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Prognosis Profits The News & Observer (Raleigh N.C.) and The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer Joseph Charles Neff, Ames Alexander and Karen Garloch 2012 Investigative (large)


Place: Second Place

The two newspapers investigated the practices of North Carolina's nonprofit hospitals. The hospitals generated huge profit margins during the Great Recession, amassed billions in reserves and paid top executives million-dollar salaries. The hospitals made substantial profits by inflating prices for drugs and procedures. Hospitals pursued patients aggressively through collection agencies and some sued patients to put liens on their homes. Many failed to provide sufficient charity care to offset their nonprofit status. The hospital protected their positions with one of the most effective lobbies in the state. Later stories showed how hospitals made huge profits off cancer drugs, pocketing 5, 10 or even 50 times average sales price. Another showed how hospitals run up the price of routine services after acquiring doctor practices.

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On the streets Diabetes Forecast Lindsey Kristen Wahowiak 2012 Public Health (small)

This story provides an in-depth look at the difficulties of managing diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) while homeless. The author spent significant time in the shelter clinic that offers diabetes care to the homeless in Washington, D.C., and met several times with homeless diabetes patients and the clinic staff who serve them.

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Serious Illness Complicates Deportation Case The Sacramento Bee Grace Rubenstein 2012 Health Policy (large)

What should happen when the U.S. wants to deport someone with a life-threatening illness, when deportation could mean death? This story explores the complex and difficult binational questions raised through the case of Ignacio Mesa, a 50-year-old Mexican grandfather who depends on thrice-weekly dialysis treatments to survive. Mesa's two drug convictions have made the U.S. eager to deport him. Yet Mexico's public health insurance program covers 275 medical treatments and procedures -- and dialysis is not one of them.

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Chicken Jerky Pet Treat investigation msnbc.com/TODAY.com JoNel Aleccia 2012 Investigative (large)

A routine warning from FDA about odd illnesses in pet dogs prompted a year-long msnbc.com investigation into potentially contaminated chicken jerky treats made in China. At last count, more than 2,200 complaints of illness, along with the deaths of 360 dogs and 1 cat, had been reported. MSNBC.com reports, which uncovered the top brands most associated with illness and also China's refusal to allow FDA inspectors to test products in that country, have galvanized consumers and forced FDA to account for food safety practices in this vulnerable population of pets.

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Most Expensive Patient Series WBUR Radio Martha Bebinger 2012 Business (large)

Any effort to control health care spending will have to address America's most expensive patients, the 5% of patients on whom we spend 50% of health care dollars. In Massachusetts, there is a statewide effort to reduce spending by putting doctors and hospitals on a budget. So, is there any evidence that this is working for our most expensive patients?

In this series, WBUR journalist Martha Bebinger trailed Sue Beder for a year. Beder has Multiple Sclerosis, depression and a half dozen other medical conditions. In the first story, WBUR describes the massive shift to spending on prevention for Beder that is the model for care under a global budget or payment. The goal was to keep Ms. Beder out of the hospital. In the second story, WBUR found that all these efforts failed for what may seem like simple reasons, but which require lots of supervision and money to fix.

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Preparing for impact Modern Healthcare Maureen McKinney 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

The story examined hospitals' efforts to prepare for the federal government's Readmissions Reduction Program, which penalizes hospitals with higher-than-expected rates of 30-day rehospitalizations. But the program could force some community-based, stand-alone hospitals to join larger health systems. This story provided an analysis of the the nearly 300 hospitals that are set to incur the highest penalty -- 1% of Medicare payments for 2013 -- under the program.

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The Right to Give Life POZ magazine Rita Rubin 2012 Health Policy (small)

This story explored the topic of organ donation by people living with HIV. People with HIV can receive organ transplants, which they need at rates higher than their negative peers. But if a positive person wants to donate an organ, it's another story: Federal law forbids HIV-positive people from donating organs -- even to other positive people. While the HIV community and health care professionals are fighting to lift the ban, one couple shows why it is high time to change this outdated law.

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Healing the Hurt POZ Rita Rubin 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)


Place: First Place

This project explored the impact of trauma on people living with HIV. A recent epidemic of attacks on women, transgender women and people with HIV exposes a link as toxic as the virus itself: Trauma not only fuels HIV, it also makes living with it harder. But HIV-positive women and their allies in the realms of science, medicine and social justice are ready to fight back – with programs, education and lifesaving advocacy.

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CLIA Enforcement Ensnares Clinical Labs The Dark Report, a division of The Dark Group, Spicewood, Texas Joseph P. Burns; Robert L. Michel 2012 Business (small)

The Dark Report published an entire issue of the newsletter on Aug. 6 on efforts by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue severe sanctions against clinical laboratories for even minor and inadvertent errors in proficiency tests. The case CMS brought against the clinical laboratory at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was the basis for our reporting. This story explains that experts believed CMS' enforcement efforts were severe, particularly given that the OSUWMC lab PT errors were inadvertent, the lab self-reported the errors and no patients were harmed. Since then, Congress has passed and President Obama has signed the TEST Act to give CMS more latitude when enforcing PT rules, and the president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association has said reporting on this case was significant in helping members of Congress to understand the issue.

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Looming DSH Cuts Pose Threat to Hospitals in States Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion BNA's Health Care Policy Report Ralph Henry Lindeman; none; none 2012 Health Policy (small)

This story examined the potential impact of cuts in federal Disproportionate Share Hospital subsidies on safety net hospitals located in states that are not participating in the Medicaid expansion. Congress enacted the DSH cuts as part of the Affordable Care Act on the assumption that the ACA's Medicaid expansion would pick uncompensated care costs covered by the DSH subsidies. The Supreme Court's decision making the Medicaid expansion optional for states destroyed that assumption and will likely impose serious financial strains on the hospitals.

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Coming Of Age With Autism KUOW Public Radio Bryan Buckalew; Phyllis Fletcher; Serene Careaga 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Autism is typically diagnosed and treated in childhood, but it's a lifelong condition. Public health practitioners and researchers have puzzled over the dramatic rise of autism spectrum diagnoses in the last decade. In Washington State, the total student population has risen 3.7% in ten years, while the number of children with autism has increased 430%. Those students graduate each year into a society that's largely ill-equipped to accommodate and accept them. But they want acceptance and freedom just as much as anyone does at that age. This story introduces three young men -- Jordan, Rolando, and Alex -- and the professionals and loved ones who support their first steps toward independence.

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Healthcare delivery: Which way do we go? Nursing Management journal Richard Hader, PhD; Michael Trinsey; Kimberly Gasda 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story examines the changing models of healthcare reimbursement and healthcare delivery funding.

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Political Science New York Times Pam Belluck; Denise Grady; Gardiner Harris 2012 Health Policy (large)

In the United States, scientific and medical truths are often ignored in favor of political or religious beliefs. Science reporters for The New York Times documented many such cases and their harmful consequences. Denise Grady showed how the refusal by many Catholic universities to provide students with prescriptions for contraception damaged the health and well-being of women students. Gardiner Harris showed how the Food and Drug Administration was pressured by senior officials in the Obama Administration, itself under attack from conservatives, to drop, delay or weaken regulation of products from movie popcorn to emergency contraceptives -- an approach that scientists at the agency said put politics ahead of science. And Pam Belluck revealed the misreading of the science of emergency contraceptive pills, known as morning-after pills and used by millions of women.

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Heart Gadgets The Wall Street Journal and WSJ.com Amy Dockser Marcus; Christopher Weaver; 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story showed how patients have been left behind as the use of "big data" spreads throughout the health-care system and how privacy laws aren't keeping up with technologies. Data generated by heart implants and other new devices, including smart phone apps and over-the-counter monitors, are testing the definition of medical records and creating fights over who gets access to the information. In this story, The Wall Street Journal found a number of patients with heart implants who have been refused direct access to the data streaming from their bodies by the device makers, who say patients must go through a doctor. Current law gives doctors 30 days to hand over traditional medical records even as device companies are able to collect data in nearly real time, and many doctors balk at the prospect of patients accessing their records on their own. For patients without health insurance and no regular care by a doctor, this has led to potentially life-threatening situations.

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Explanations for Mass Killings Psychiatric News Aaron Levin 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Mass shooting incidents -- like the ones in Aurora or Oak Creek -- prompt demands to explain why they happen and how they can be prevented.

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How Fake Cancer Drugs Entered U.S. The Wall Street Journal Christopher Weaver and Jeanne Whalen 2012 Business (large)


Place: Honorable Mention

This story revealed the central role of a Canadian businessman at the center of the international drug distribution enterprise that channeled counterfeit versions of the cancer drug Avastin to dozens of U.S. medical practices. It shows how the Winnipeg-based international pharmacy executive – under pressure from drug makers and regulators – built a network of companies that exposed American patients to the risks of fake medicines, widely considered a third-world hazard. The executive, Kris Thorkelson, had for years sold foreign drugs channeled through this network to American customers through his websites, vexing pharmaceutical manufacturers and law enforcement officials, before turning to the even riskier business of supplying physicians with overseas versions of lifesaving treatments. The story unearthed documents and human sources close to Thorkelson's business that showed how this grey market system exposed vulnerabilities in the American drug supply, prompting what a senior law enforcement official called "a watershed moment" for American authorities that believed the U.S. was sufficiently protected against counterfeit medicines.

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Lacking regulation, many medical apps questionable at best Washington Post, Health and Science section New England Center for Investigative Reporting Rochelle Phyllis Sharpe; Sarah Kuranda; Marion Halftermeyer 2012 Business (large)

This story investigated 1,500 health apps sold on the iTunes and Google Play stores and uncovered hundreds of apps that claimed to cure or help disease, despite no medical evidence that these treatments would work. It disclosed that one out of five apps claimed to treat or cure medical problems. These are the apps the FDA hopes to regulate.

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Advocates frustrated with Obama administration over food safety law The Connecticut Mirror Ana Radelat 2012 Health Policy (small)

Food safety is a top concern among Americans as the number and severity of outbreaks of illness and deaths from tainted food rise. President Obama made it a priority when he first ran for office. But the Obama administration has been slow to implement a new law that would try to stem the outbreaks. That has upset food safety advocates and their allies in Congress.

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The Few. The Proud. The Afflicted Mother Jones Florence Williams 2012 Public Health (small)


Place: Second Place

This story looks at how a bunch of ex-Marines affiliated with Camp Lejeune may hold the key to understanding breast cancer. It describes the complicated epidemiology behind this cluster of male breast cancers and the extensive contamination of the base by solvents. This story helped support legislation to compensate victims.

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How much? Who Knows! Consumers push for transparency amid bewildering array of health prices Angie's List Magazine National Circulation: 1.1 million STAFF 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

The health care system often withholds the tools consumers need to make smart decisions before deciding who to see and what health care to buy. Insurance companies quietly negotiate various rates with health providers, with both groups resistant to divulging prices for proprietary reasons and because they aren't the same for all consumers. This story reported that one California hospital bills $182,955 for an uncomplicated appendectomy, while another bills $1,529. In Maine, one hospital charges $4,041 for a colonoscopy; another, $1,483. However, with high-deductible insurance plans gaining a stronger foothold among all plans -- increasing from 10 to 23 percent in seven years -- more consumers stuck with out-of-pocket charges are demanding to know costs of health care upfront. Through consumer anecdotes, this story explores how patients can save money, from making sure which hospital is in network prior to an emergency to using online pricing tools, fighting medical bill errors and negotiating unfair costs.

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Facing the Facts: HPV-Associated Head and Neck Cancers Get a Second Look Cure Charlotte Huff 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters


Place: Second Place

A lot has been written about human papillomavirus (HPV) status in the context of cervical cancer, but less about its impact for head and neck malignancies. A flurry of recent data, though, has highlighted two key trends. On the one hand, these malignancies are proliferating, as HPV infection becomes more common in the U.S. population. More positively, the survival rates appear better for this category of malignancies, and early findings indicate that treatment might not need to be as toxic. By interviewing current and former patients, Charlotte Huff was able to put a face on this seldom-discussed malignancy. The article was packaged with several graphics, showing the location of various head and neck cancers, the DNA mutations linked to tobacco use, as well as a chart detailing ongoing clinical trials. A sidebar describes the two available HPV vaccines.

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Chain Reaction The New York Times Kevin Sack 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)


Place: Second Place

Melding narrative and investigative technique, The Times set out to examine the country's devastating shortage of donor organs, particularly kidneys, and to explore leading-edge solutions to the inequity between supply and demand. Significant findings include the discarding of hundreds of potentially viable kidneys each year because of shortcomings in the country's organ-matching system and the emergence of kidney transplant chains that begin with a Good Samaritan donor and enable live-organ matches for otherwise incompatible recipients.

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Research Unravels New Ways to Treat HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Curetoday.com, website for CURE magazine Elizabeth Whittington 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

HER2-positive breast cancer was considered one of the more aggressive types of the disease until Herceptin was approved in 1998. While Herceptin works in about half of all patients with this subtype, research into targeting malignant cells that overexpress HER2 has accelerated over the past few years. Patients who are newly diagnosed and those who have lived with metastatic disease for several years are excited about the potential combinations and new therapies. Physicians and patients must weigh the benefits of these new therapies with their costs and side effects.

This story is reported in two parts. 1. The EMILIA study, which offered new data for T-DM1, found that the drug worked better than the existing standard of treatment, and with significantly fewer side effects -- a feat that is uncommon in oncology. 2. The FDA approved Perjeta (pertuzumab) for HER2-positive breast cancer, giving women with metastatic breast cancer another treatment option.

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KBIA's Health and Wealth Desk KBIA 91.3 FM, an NPR-affiliate station in Columbia, MO., where the work was produced, and it also aired on partner Missouri public radio stations such as St. Louis Public Radio, KCUR in Kansas City, KSMU in Springfield, MO., and Harvest Public Media. Jacob Fenston 2012 Beat Reporting

KBIA's "Health & Wealth" desk provides in-depth documentary-style stories on air and online about under-reported issues in health and rural life in the communities it serves. These four stories represent a selection of the long-form and briefer segments that have aired on KBIA in the past year as part of this beat.

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The Pharmaceutical Industry In Transition Forbes and Forbes.com Matthew Herper 2012 Beat Reporting

This beat includes four stories: A new estimate of the cost of inventing new medicines; a look at how politics got in the way of HPV vaccination; an exclusive profile of a super-expensive drug; how the failure of a niacin study will affect heart medicines.

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Cancer screening feeds overdiagnosis debate Reuters Health Frederik Joelving 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story parses the marketing campaign of a prominent New York doctor who wants everyone over 50 to have their gullets screened for cancer, though there's no evidence that doing so saves people from a deadly malignancy.

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Lacking regulation, many medical apps questionable at best Rochelle Phyllis Sharpe; Sarah Kuranda; Marion Halftermeyer 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

The story investigated 1,500 health apps sold on the iTunes and Google Play stores and uncovered hundreds of apps that claimed to cure or help disease, despite no medical evidence that these treatments would work. It disclosed that one out of five apps claimed to treat or cure medical problems -- exactly the sorts of apps that the FDA is arguing should be regulated.

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40 Years Later: The War on Cancer...Some Success...Some Cancers Remain Stubborn. PBS NEWSHOUR Betty Ann Bowser; Sarah Clune; Jason Kane 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This submission includes a series of reports on the future of cancer treatment and the strides made in the study of Cancer since "Nixon's War on Cancer" 40 years ago.

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Nevada's C-Sections Las Vegas Review-Journal Paul Harasim 2012 Health Policy (large)

C-sections have become the most common surgical procedure in the nation's hospitals. These stories deal with whether these procedures are done as a medical necessity or for the convenience and monetary gain of physicians and hospitals.

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Drug Couponing Triangle Business Journal Jason Michael deBruyn 2012 Business (small)

The story looked at how pharmaceutical companies drive up health care costs by offering drug coupons that apply only to the co-pay. This drives consumers to branded versions of drugs for which generics exist, which leaves the insurer to pick up the rest, paying sometimes tenfold or more for the drug that is equally effective as the cheaper one.

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Las Vegas Review-Journal Beat Reporting Las Vegas Review-Journal Paul Harasim 2012 Beat Reporting

The April 1 article deals with whether C-sections are done as a medical necessity or for the convenience and financial gain of doctors and hospitals. The Aug. 26 article profiles a woman who nearly lost her hands in a machete attack and is now dealing with cancer. The Dec. 10 entry on Alzheimer's explores the devastation of the disease -- both to patients and to those who care for them. The Sept. 30 article examines how a family copes with the physical and emotional problems caused by a drunk driving accident. A little boy was paralyzed in the accident.

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'Grave concerns' about baby Chicago Tribune Julie Deardorff; Healther Charles 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

In 2007, the Bumbo baby set was voluntarily recalled after a wave of reported skull fractures in babies between 3 months and 10 months old. But the company made no changes beyond a new warning label on the front. Since the recall, at least 22 infant skull fractures linked to the Bumbo were reported and many of those occurred when the chair was used as instructed -- on the floor. The product was inherently dangerous.

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Bedside Bankroll North Bay Bohemian (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Rachel Anna Dovey 2012 Business (small)


Place: Honorable Mention

With no licensing or certification, anyone can practice in-home elder care in California – and in wealthy Marin County, opportunity for fraud abounds. Dovey called every elder care agency in the county and gathered information about how much they pay, spoke with a home care agency that hired a fraudulent worker, a worker who gets paid very little and has difficulty living in such a wealthy area and an elderly disabled woman who was unable to pay high costs for her elder care.

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Cost of Dying San Jose Mercury News Lisa M. Krieger and Dai Sugano 2012 Health Policy (large)


Place: Honorable Mention

With her frail and elderly father suffering and doctors doing everything they can, reporter Lisa M. Krieger learns it is hard to reject care, even as expenses soar. Krieger's series took the lessons she learned, as well as wisdom offered by readers to write about how to start that difficult conversation to accepting the end. She explored end-of-life planning, advanced directives and POLSTs, palliative care and how our technological ability to stave off death creates dilemmas unimaginable decades ago.

Her look at caregiving finds that, while it can be immensely rewarding, it is also exhausting, expensive and poorly supported by a medical system that delivers life-prolonging miracles, but little help for loving care at home in life's fragile years. She uses data to explore the differences in how hospitals treat chronically ill patients at the end of life.

She follows the final three months in the life of a woman diagnosed with kidney failure who rejects life-prolonging dialysis for a life-affirming ending with adventures to the beach, zoo, aquarium and favorite restaurants. The year-long series concludes with eight steps we can take to make our final years of life easier, kinder and less expensive.

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Kidney disease awareness within the African American community TheRoot/DC Lottie L. Joiner 2012 Public Health (small)

African Americans are three times as likely to have kidney disease than caucasians. The District of Columbia has the highest rate of end-stage renal disease in the country. This story looks at the main causes of kidney disease and gives examples of African American patients impacted by the disease.

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Healthcare in Motion Modern Healthcare Paul Barr 2012 Public Health (small)

These three stories report that: 1) emergency medical services funding and reimbursement structures discourage improving the quality of care, but change to that structure doesn't appear likely to occur any time soon, 2) advances in emergency medicine technology can greatly improve health, but funding for technology is limited, and 3) rural regions can benefit greatly from air ambulance service, though safety remains an issue.

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Black women join Sister Circles to boost health and wellness in midlife TheRoot/DC Lottie L. Joiner 2012 Public Health (small)

Prime Time Sister Circles is a 12-week program focused on helping African American women in midlife improve their nutrition and fitness and deal with stress. The group provides culturally competent techniques and tools that help black women overcome obstacles to better health and wellness. But more importantly, participants found unintended consequences of the group including emotional and spiritual support.

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Outpatient care takes the inside track Modern Healthcare Beth Erin Kutscher 2012 Business (large)

This story highlights the growing dependence that hospitals have on revenue from outpatient care -- and what it means for M&A, capital investments and even physician staffing.

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Food Sleuth Radio KOPN Radio, Columbia, MO Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.; Dan Hemmelgarn; 2012 Public Health (small)

Consumers and dietitians are told by the biotech industry that GMO crops and foods are safe and key to "feeding the world." But we lack independent research proving GMO safety; scientists find it difficult to access seeds, fund and conduct research. Those who find safety concerns are often discredited, or may lose their jobs.

This story provides an interview with Michael Hansen, Ph.D, Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, who specializes in food safety issues, including genetically engineered foods/crops. Hansen calls attention to the need for more research, especially on potential allergens with GMO technology, and the importance of labeling.

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The Impact of Health Care Reform on Americans The Huffington Post Jeffrey Young 2012 Beat Reporting

This story explains the current state of the U.S. health care system and how major changes underway may affect them. The reporter reveals that policy and political disputes have real consequences for Americans, which he illustrates with real stories about individual people.

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Nepal sees end in sight for trachoma The Lancet Amy Yee 2012 Public Health (small)

According to a recent meeting of health experts, Nepal is on track to eliminate trachoma, a blinding eye disease, by 2014. This story reports on the country's progress against this neglected tropical disease.

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Michelle Obama's Moves The Nation and the Food and Environment Reporting Network Bridget Huber 2012 Health Policy (small)

This story takes a critical look at the Let's Move campaign -- the Obama administration's flagship anti-obesity program. It traces the evolution of the program, looks at its collaborations with large food companies and explores the question of whether the goals of public health and those of the food industry are at irreconcilable odds.

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Cost pressures take toll on independent hospitals Baltimore Business Journal Sarah Gantz 2012 Business (small)

Under financial pressure, more independent hospitals are joining large networks or consolidating with other hospitals. In Maryland, independent hospitals that want to stay independent are changing the way they do business to be able to compete.

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The $25 Million Office Visit Hospitalist News, owned and published by International Medical News Group Damian G McNamara 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

George Kikano is a family physician at a world class hospital in Cleveland (Case Western Reserve University). He noticed residents in the underserved community around his institution suffering from lack of regular health care. With little money, he started a community health outreach service that grew, expanded and made such a difference that, one day, a wealthy patient came to see Kikano and offered him $25 million on the spot to continue his great work.

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Demand for home care workers soaring, but will there be enough takers? The Connecticut Mirror Arielle Levin Becker 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)


Place: Third Place

Connecticut is in the midst of an aggressive effort to move seniors and people with disabilities out of nursing homes and into home- or community-based settings where they can receive care. This comes as the state's population of people 65 and older is projected to grow dramatically, while the working-age population shrinks. These stories were intended to explore how these changes will affect two major parts of the long-term care system – the workforce and the unpaid caregivers.

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CLIA Enforcement Ensnares Clinical Labs The Dark Report, a division of The Dark Group, Spicewood, Texas Joseph P. Burns; Robert L. Michel 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

The Dark Report published an entire issue of the newsletter on Aug. 6 on efforts by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue severe sanctions against clinical laboratories for even minor and inadvertent errors in proficiency tests. The case CMS brought against the clinical laboratory at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was the basis for our reporting. This story explains that experts believed CMS' enforcement efforts were severe, particularly given that the OSUWMC lab PT errors were inadvertent, the lab self-reported the errors and no patients were harmed. Since then, Congress has passed and President Obama has signed the TEST Act to give CMS more latitude when enforcing PT rules, and the president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association has said reporting on this case was significant in helping members of Congress to understand the issue.

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Your Medical Records May Not Be Private: ABC News Investigation ABC World News with Diane Sawyer; ABC News dot com Serena Marshall; Jim Avila; Brian Hartman 2012 Investigative (large)

Despite government rules, some medical records are not as private as the public might think. And while most hospitals have rules about who may access medical records, compliance for the most part is not strictly regulated, with breaches occurring at hospitals across the country. This ABC World News investigation found medical records for sale on the internet. The victims had no clue their information was readily available for purchase. Insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and even some hospitals use the information to help target expensive and new treatments and gain a better picture of local residents. While hospitals say patient privacy is paramount, there are no restrictions on records and any employee has access.

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Discipline Deferred Star Tribune Media Company Glenn Howatt; Richard Meryhew 2012 Investigative (large)

This investigation found that the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, which regulates 20,000 physicians in the state, has been reluctant to punish some doctors who have harmed patients, including more than 100 doctors who were disciplined by other states and even doctors who have lost privileges to practice at Minnesota hospitals. The investigation also showed that Minnesota lags behind many states in disclosing information to the public, including data on malpractice judgments or settlements. It also doesn't disclose whether doctors have been disciplined by regulators in other states or lost their privileges to work in hospitals and other facilities for surgical mistakes and other problems. Although the Minnesota board was a leader ten years ago when it posted disciplinary actions on its website, it has not followed the lead of other state boards, which are increasingly giving the public more information about doctors.

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Diagnosed with Alzheimer's, reprogramming the brain The Connecticut Mirror (www.ctmirror.org) online-only news site Arielle Levin Becker 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

The story is about Sid Yudowitch, a Connecticut man with early-onset Alzheimer's, who has been giving speeches about living with the disease. This story reports the state's Alzheimer's Association, after years of offering support groups and courses for caregivers, has decided to start similar programs for people with the disease.

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The Bypass Cure Discover Magazine Bijal Trivedi 2012 Beat Reporting

Diabetes can be reversed in the operating room. The implications for halting one of America's deadliest diseases is staggering.

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UConn researcher's focus: Could stem cells slow the aging process? The Connecticut Mirror (www.ctmirror.org) online-only news site Grace Merritt 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This story focused on a young researcher's groundbreaking and somewhat accidental discovery that embryonic stem cells secrete a substance that helps old muscle regenerate itself. The effect makes old muscle cells look better than young new ones. This has tantalizing implications for being able to repair or replace muscles some day. 

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Body Builders New York Times Henry Fountain 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

For decades, the field of regenerative medicine has been promising a future of ready-made replacement organs -- livers, kidneys, even hearts -- built in the laboratory. For the most part that future has remained a science-fiction fantasy. Now, researchers are taking a different approach, using the body's cells and letting the body itself do most of the work. They hope to build complex organs with the cells, blood vessels and nerves to become a living, functioning part of the body. Researchers are making use of advances in knowledge of stem cells. They are learning more about scaffolds, compounds that act like mortar to hold cells in their proper place and that also play a major role in how cells are recruited for tissue repair.

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Health reform's $20 billion bet on prevention: Exploring the Prevention and Public Health Fund The Washington Post Sarah Kliff 2012 Public Health (large)

The Affordable Care Act made an unprecedented $20 billion investment with the Public Health and Prevention Fund, the first-ever dedicated federal spending in this area. The fund quickly proved controversial: While Democrats celebrated the new spending, Republicans derided the spending as unnecessary. This three-part series examiens how the federal government has spent Prevention Fund dollars and whether the projects it has invested in are likely to play dividends in future health gains. Findings show some of the programs were indeed paying off quickly, such as the investment in training additional primary care doctors. Other projects, however, seemed to speak to Republicans' concerns: Extensive reporting found little research supporting the Obama administration's multi-million investment in eradicating food deserts.

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Going Beyond the Medicare Sound Bites in the 2012 Presidential Campaign: An Interactive Timeline The Medicare NewsGroup Donald Sjoerdsma 2012 Health Policy (large)

Medicare was one of the most hotly debated issues in the 2012 presidential campaign. There were at least six anti-Obama attack lines put out on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, while there were at least four anti-Romney lines released on President Obama's behalf. This story examined every Medicare-related claim of the campaign season -- from "Obama cut $716 billion from Medicare" to Romney will "end Medicare as we know it" -- and labeled each as fact or fiction. The story also used the interactive timeline format (meant to be viewed and clicked through in a web browser) to show the chronology of the claims. 

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Funding fears SFARI.org Virginia Hughes 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Despite funders' requirements to share mouse models after publication, many researchers hoard the animals for the good of their labs -- and that could have an adverse effect on the autism field as a whole.

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Pediatric MS This two-part radio documentary was produced by InvestigateWest. We are a small (three-person) nonprofit journalism organization. The text and audio appeared on our site (www.invw.org) and the radio pieces aired on public radio station KUOW on November 27 Carol Lee Smith; Jim Gates; 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

The Pacific Northwest has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world, yet the reasons why remain elusive. It's an old mystery, but one that now has a new face. Today, doctors are seeing a growing number of cases in kids. They hope these young patients will yield more clues to what causes the disease. This two-part radio documentary lets us into the life of one such young patient, as well as the doctors and researchers who are trying to solve a mystery that might save her.

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Diagnostic dilemma SFARI.org Emily Singer 2012 Beat Reporting

New guidelines for diagnosing autism have triggered controversy among both scientists and the general public. A handful of studies suggest the new criteria will exclude some people currently diagnosed with autism, an issue of great concern to families because it could limit access to services. But others say this isn't the case, and that the changes are grounded in the latest research. SFARI.org has followed the debate all year, carefully explaining the evidence, its limitations and the potential implications for both researchers and families.

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In One Family's Tragic Meningitis Story, Support for More Policing of Pharmacies PBS NEWSHOUR Betty Ann Bowser; Sarah Clune; Jason Kane 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

A broadcast story and accompanying online articles on the consequences of the fungal meningitis outbreaks in Fall 2012.

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Mindfulness Practice: Empowering Fragmented Teens to Become Whole IDEA Fitness Journal Shirley Sugimura Archer 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This article is about how teens in America -- from troubled urban youth with criminal records to normally stressed suburban upper middle income youth -- are able to benefit from learning mindfulness skills to improve their health and ability to cope. Growing evidence suggests the practice's efficacy as a complement to pharmaceuticals when indicated for mental health issues and to traditional "talk" therapy. New understanding of the neuro-development of the adolescent brain is providing additional support for the value of introducing mindfulness skills as a method of coping with stress during the teen years.

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Cardiac Arrests Modern Healthcare Joe Carlson 2012 Business (large)

Doctors say that implantable defibrillators save lives, but federal officials say the devices are overused. This story explored in the inner details of an ongoing federal investigation into the use of the lucrative devices, including how the probe has affected the practice of cardiology and the business of medicine. During a year when federal scrutiny of heart care was much in the news, this was a different take on a topic that lays squarely at the intersection of profit and human lives.

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Stalking Alzheimer's Minneapolis Star Tribune Maura Lerner 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

The Star Tribune has been writing about Karen Ashe and her "forgetful mice'' for some years -- all the while, scientists and brain researchers telling reporters she will one day win the Nobel Prize for medicine. This year the Star Tribune decided to introduce the University of Minnesota professor and her research to a wider audience. But this was no easy task: Although Professor Ashe is a charming interview and a Renaissance woman -- skilled in music, cooking and sports and well as biology -- she is also notoriously shy, even guarded, about her work. Yet now she is prepared to launch a clinical study that would recruit thousands of Minnesotans and one of the state's largest HMOs in an effort to pinpoint simple medicines that could slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease. We urged her to open up about the project and the research behind it.

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An Ounce of Prevention KXJZ 90.9 FM Sacramento KKTO 90.5 FM Tahoe/Reno KUOP 91.3 FM Stockton/Modesto KQNC 88.1 FM Quincy KGUA 88.3 FM Mendocino/Sonoma KPBS-TV (aired web videos) Pauline Elizabeth Bartolone; Catherine Stifter; Joe Barr 2012 Public Health (large)

By some estimates, every dollar spent on prevention today could yield savings of more than $5 in future health care costs. This documentary profiles community health innovators in California and Mexico who are championing strategies and technologies to help people become more resilient and require less medical care. These profiles include healthcare heroes from the Cascade Mountains to towns south of the Mexican border who connect people to the care they need to live healthier lives. 

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Doctors Struggle to Make Ends Meet The Wall Street Journal Anna Wilde Mathews 2012 Beat Reporting

These stories were part of a yearlong effort to get beneath the surface of radical but little-understood changes in the structure and financial underpinnings of health care. Articles covered important shifts in how doctors are paid -- a critical component of payers' efforts to reduce costs and improve care.

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How Drugmakers Maneuver Between Profits And Patients Pharmalot Ed Silverman 2012 Beat Reporting

The stories illustrate the extent to which drugmakers sometimes are willing to go to generate profits at the expense of patients, an issue that has haunted the pharmaceutical industry over the past several years. In two instances, stories revealed how clinical trial data, which revealed important side effect information, was never disclosed to the public, notably to the medical community. The third story reports how a drugmaker maneuvered to keep generic competition at bay by throwing up regulatory roadblocks and using delay tactics that have meant consumers will continue to pay more for a brand-name medication.

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Spray On Safety Ignored ABC News Mark P. Greenblatt, Gitika Ahuja and Mollie Riegger 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)


Place: Honorable Mention

By using the Freedom of Information Act and a considerable amount of scientific research, this ABC News investigation revealed never-before-known dangers of DHA, the main ingredient in the very popular spray-on tan. It also prompted some of the nation's top dermatologists and scientists to no longer recommend spray tans as the "safe" alternative to other forms of tanning. Through use of a concealed camera, the investigation also revealed false and misleading safety information manufacturers and salons were giving to consumers, such as claiming that the DHA in spray-tan was "food grade" and approved to eat by the FDA.

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Eat Your Way To Dementia New Scientist magazine Bijal Trivedi 2012 Beat Reporting

New research suggests that Alzheimer's is a form of diabetes. Efforts to restore insulin sensitivity in the brain, including delivering insulin directly to the brain, improved symptoms.

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Health is Wealth: The Rise of Workplace Wellness IDEA Fitness Journal Shirley Sugimura Archer 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This article is about the growth of workplace wellness programs and opportunities for fitness professionals. Through a presentation of expert opinions, factual data, political and economic forces, the case for why workplace wellness will grow and how fitness pros can best position themselves to take advantage of upcoming opportunities is made. The health of Americans is declining to the point that the cost of a chronically ill workforce is forcing executives to look at a variety of methods to manage healthcare costs. Prevention through workplace wellness programs is a positive solution to reach many Americans, improve productivity and workplace morale and impact overall population health.

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Internal PHRMA Email: WH Pledged Removal of 340B Inpatient Expansion From Final Health Bill Inside Health Policy/Inside CMS Amy l. Lotven 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This is one of several stories Inside Health Policy pursued after GOP members released internal communications between White House negotiators and stakeholders. The story confirms previously unproven speculation that PhRMA had scrambled to kill a provision in the Senate-passed version of the health law once it was clear that the House would be forced to pass that version, and reveals that the White House was also involved.

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Food Sleuth Radio KOPN Radio Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.; Dan Hemmelgarn; David Owens 2012 Beat Reporting

This submission includes the following stories:

1. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., author: "I'm Like, So Fat! Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World." Children and teens face the challenge of living in a weight-conscious world where they're encouraged to eat foods that contribute to weight gain. Neumark-Sztainer takes a compassionate view of feeding children well and warns about the harmful effects of dieting.

2. Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., Food Scientist, Microbiologist, expert in dairy probiotics and food cultures, explains the benefits of probiotics and tips for consumers when choosing the right gut bacteria to promote health and treat illness. Sanders identifies emerging research on the mechanisms behind the benefits of probiotics.

3. Maryn McKenna, of the Association of Health Care Journalists, reports on the connections between antibiotic-resistant bacteria in chicken, difficult-to-treat bladder infections, and routine antibiotic use in the livestock industry.

4. Michael Hansen, Ph.D., Consumers Union, reveals safety concerns of GMO crops and foods, including potential allergens, and increased use of pesticides. He explains why he supports national food labeling.

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Midwives grow in popularity, but baby death cases under investigation Idaho Statesman Audrey Dutton 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

These stories looked at the growing use of midwives in Idaho, which has a statewide physician shortage and remote rural areas with no nearby hospitals. It also reports on an investigation into midwives accused of malpractice in the process of delivering babies who died.

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Liter by Liter, Indians Get Cleaner Water International Herald Tribune Amy Yee 2012 Public Health (large)

In the developing world, providing safe drinking water remains a major infrastructure and public health challenge. Community water plants are one way to put a dent in the enormous problem. But there is still no ''one size fits all'' solution, especially in a country as large and diverse as India.

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Safety And Suicide: The Life And Death Of Megan Templeton KUOW-FM, www.kuow.org, Seattle John Ryan; Jim Gates 2012 Investigative (large)

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults in Washington state. Inside a psychiatric hospital like Western State Hospital, near Tacoma, patients are supposed to be safe -- even from themselves. Yet in April, twenty-year-old Megan Templeton became the latest in a string of Western patients to kill themselves.

This two-part investigation examined how the Northwest's largest mental hospital failed to save and how other patients fell through the cracks. The reporters found the hospital left known threats to patient safety unaddressed for years after other hospitals had fixed them. The hospital provided Templeton both the means (an unsafe room) and the opportunity (50 minutes, unobserved, right after she'd been released from restraints) to kill herself. We also found transparency especially lacking: unlike other Washington hospitals, state-run mental hospitals don't have to publicly report their mishaps. The series also provides a rare, intimate portrait of a mental-hospital patient.

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Executive Function SFARI.org Sarah DeWeerdt 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Some studies have suggested that people with autism have deficits in executive function -- a set of complex mental processes involved in everyday life. But these results may instead reflect their difficulties imagining what other people are thinking, according to a provocative new hypothesis.

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High-Deductible Plans a 'Quiet Revolution in Health Insurance' PBS NEWSHOUR Betty Ann Bowser; Sarah Clune; Jason Kane 2012 Health Policy (large)

As health costs rise, insurance plans characterized by lower premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs are on the rise in American workplaces. This story reports on the growing trend toward high-deductible health plans, and concerns that they may encourage delays in receiving needed medical care.

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In India, a Small Pill, With Positive Side Effects New York Times Amy Yee 2012 Public Health (large)

Intestinal worms are pervasive in the developing world and can have devastating effects. But there is growing awareness about how easy and inexpensive it is to treat worms, as well as surprising longer-term socioeconomic benefits. Research shows deworming to be extremely cost-effective. This February in Delhi, 3.7 million children took deworming pills as part of a campaign to stamp out the widespread but neglected ailment. Last year Bihar, an eastern state for years known for poverty, dewormed a staggering 17 million schoolchildren. Andhra Pradesh, in southern India, distributed deworming tablets to 2 million children in 2009.

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Why Won't Men Get Help? Pacific Standard David Freed; Betsy Bates Freed; 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

Psychologists worry about the Great Recession's toll on men who define their self worth through work. In every corner of the globe, more men commit suicide than women. Research shows that men benefit from talk therapy just as much as women. Yet most men still won't go.

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The Future of the American Hospital: Role and Relevancy in the Next Decade Becker's Hospital Review, a publication from Becker's Healthcare. Molly Gamble 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

The article discusses the changing role of the acute-care hospital in the American healthcare spectrum. It discusses the effects retail clinics, population health and preventive medicine, provider consolidation and higher consumer expectations are having on hospitals that have traditionally focused on inpatient care.

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Christie vetoes state exchange New Jersey Spotlight Andrew S. Kitchenman 2012 Health Policy (small)

This article looked at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a state-based health exchange. It examined his reasoning for the veto and the response from state exchange supporters.

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Genetic testing SFARI.org Virginia Hughes 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

A genetic panel intended to predict the risk of developing autism debuted for clinical use in April. Another is in commercial development and a third was published in Molecular Psychiatry in September. But some experts are concerned, saying the tests are based on preliminary scientific evidence.

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New Jersey health workers respond to Sandy New Jersey Spotlight Andrew S. Kitchenman 2012 Beat Reporting

These stories looked at health workers' response to Hurricane Sandy, with a focus on the mental health consequences both in the immediate aftermath of the storm and the longterm effort.

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Health Care 911 UT San Diego newspaper John Gonzales; James Gregg 2012 Health Policy (large)

The five-part series dives deep into the phenomenon of recurrent ER patients -- dubbed frequent users by professionals in the emergency medical community -- and paints a picture of broken lives, frustrated, sometimes morale-broken caregivers and government policies that employ enormous resources and substantial monies, but do little to improve the health of the population they're serving.

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Breaking It Down Houston Press John Nova Lomax 2012 Investigative (large)

Chronic, lifelong, disabling back pain might be a more grave and widespread problem facing vets of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq than PTSD or traumatic brain injuries. Also, these back injuries have spawned a serious problem in painkiller addiction among returning vets.

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Substance Abuse in the Military CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley Amy Birnbaum; Dr. Jonathan LaPook; Kevin Finnegan 2012 Public Health (large)

On the day the Institute of Medicine released a critical report on the way the military handles substance abuse issues, Reporter and physician Jon LaPook sat down with Michael Long, a wounded Iraq war veteran who developed an addiction to pain medication that led to a dishonorable discharge. Lt. David Fridovich, who struggled with a drug dependency during his long service, calls substance abuse one of the main wounds of war.

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A step toward the impossible The Morning Call Milton D. Carrero 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This story documents the journey of Kevin Oldt, a spinal injury patient who is determined to walk again with the use of a revolutionary system of bionic legs. Reporter Milton Carrero followed Oldt for about a year as he trained and prepared for the arrival of the device. His story is as much about his trials and achievements as it is about the technology that makes his dream possible. Through months of interviewing, he became comfortable enough to share his insecurities as well as his triumphs along the way.

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Alzheimer's Researcher CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley Kevin Finnegan; Dr. Jonathan LaPook; Peter Berman 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Pharmaceutical researcher Rae Lyn Burke has helped development vaccines for HIV, Herpes, and Hepatitis B. In the 1990s, she turned her attention to Alzheimer's disease and was on the team that created an experiment treatment called Bapineuzumab. One day driving to work she realized she could not do math problems in her head. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008 and then joined the clinical trial of the drug she helped create. This story profiled her, a woman who can't remember her age, who still is interested in helping the research process go forward.

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Cancer Breakthroughs that Cost Too Much and Do Too Little Newsweek/Daily Beast Laura Beil 2012 Health Policy (large)

This story examined how much a few months of life are worth. Patients will take a drug, even knowing that its effectiveness is limited, because they hope for a miracle cure. But these drugs are extremely expensive; the cost of chemotherapy drugs exceeds other categories -- largely because drug companies know demand is high for such therapies.

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Hip implant recall: a painful process The Morning Call Milton D. Carrero 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

Steve Lorenz is one of thousands who received defective metal-on-metal implants. He was living with excruciating pain when his wife contacted The Morning Call. She was concerned for his well-being and frustrated with scores of surgeons who refused to see her husband, afraid of being pulled into a lawsuit. One of those surgeons was Dr. Leo Scarpino. He had refused to see Lorenz, but changed his mind when the paper contacted him for an interview. During the conversation he said that surgeons should not shy away from helping these patients, no matter how risky or difficult. After the story ran, Scarpino was forced to live up to his words. He has become the one surgeon helping these patients in the area. Lorenz received two revision surgeries and is well now.

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Embracing life after tragedy The Morning Call Milton D. Carrero 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This story reports on a woman who lost her arm in a car accident yet perserveres in the face of her lost limb. Further, it chronicles the relationship between the woman and her son, who was behind the wheel the day of the crash -- also his sixteenth birthday.

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Super Agers CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley Heather Tesoriero; Dr. Jonathan LaPook; Michael Cesario 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story profiled Irving Kahn, 106, who's part of a group of Ashkenazi Jewish centenarians being studied for their longevity and health.

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Solving the Mystery: Investigating foodborne illnesses Blueprints (Produce industry trade journal published by Blue Book Services, Inc.) Irene Lombardo 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

The produce industry has had its share of media nightmares involving consumers sickened -- and even dying -- after eating fruits and/or vegetables tainted with E. coli, salmonella, listeria and other pathogens. This article provides a nuts-and-bolts approach to the events that transpire when two or more people fall ill from a common source. It is an educational piece that depicts the massive team effort that goes into solving the mystery from the beginning when a physician or other health care provider responds to a patient presenting with symptoms. The article describes how an investigation unfolds, including determining that an outbreak has occurred, launching the investigation, finding the source and taking corrective measures in the aftermath to prevent future contamination.

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Brain scans SFARI.org Virginia Hughes 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This story reports that head movements taint the results of many brain-imaging studies, particularly those analyzing children or individuals with developmental disorders, according to two sobering new studies.

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Voice CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley Heather Tesoriero; Dr. Jonathan LaPook; Heather Spinelli 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story profiled the work of Steven Zeitels, a surgeon who's pioneering novel techniques for vocal cord repair. We looked at the impact of his work on Noah Skole, a 13-year-old, and The Who's lead singer Roger Daltrey. The piece underscores the value of a healthy voice for children and famous people alike.

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Running Hot KMSP-TV Fox 9 News Jeff Baillon; Tyler Ryan; 2012 Public Health (large)

This story investigates crashes involving ambulances. The reporters discovered the vast majority of emergency medical calls do not warrant a lights and sirens response, yet that's the common practice and it puts public safety at risk.

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The Fight for Fair Copays PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper; Chris Hayhurst; 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Rising health care copayments (copays) are making health coverage less affordable even for those who have insurance. Exacerbating the problem, many insurers classify physical therapy as a specialized service, putting physical therapists (PTs) in the same category as orthopedic surgeons and obstetrician/gynecologists. This can result in $50-$100 copays, making treatment unaffordable for patients who may see a PT 2-3 times a week. These high copays also affect a PT's ability to provide acceptable care to patients. This article examined the problem and presented suggestions and examples of PTs who are coping with the immediate problem and addressing the longer-term issue.

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Circle of Care PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper; Chris Hayhurst; 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Effective health care does not occur only within the confines of a hospital or clinic. It also involves the continuation of treatment and interventions in a patient's home. This article explores the provision of care by non-professional caregivers -- often the patient's parent, spouse, or child. How can professional health care providers best work with these non-professionals to ensure a high level of care for patients who -- although no longer receiving treatment at a health care facility -- nevertheless need additional care to continue to progress? The article also highlighted activities of physical therapists (PTs) who help patients maneuver through the often-complex maze of overlapping and conflicting state, federal and private health care regulations and policies.

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Genetic Gamble The New York Times Gina Kolata 2012 Health Policy (large)

In a promising new front in the war on cancer, scientists are trying to use genetics to stop a disease that is expected to kill nearly 600,000 Americans this year alone. The goal is to use new tools to decode a cancer patient's own specific tumor and determine exactly what mutations are driving it. Then doctors try to find an existing or an experimental drug that attacks those alterations. This series looks in depth at several cases of different types of cancer.

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Sued Over An $1,800 Hospital Bill Kaiser Health News/NPR Jenny Gold 2012 Health Policy (large)

This story examines the common practice of nonprofit hospitals suing low-income patients who are unable to pay their hospital bills. Mount Carmel, a nonprofit Catholic hospital in Columbus, Ohio, sued nearly 1,600 people in county court between 2009-2011 -- far more than the other hospitals in the area. This story includes an investigation of Mount Carmel's billing practices, and an examination of whether nonprofit hospitals tend to provide adequate charity care for their patients. It also discusses what states and the federal government are doing to address the problem. A radio version ran on NPR, and a longer text story was published on Kaiser Health News.

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The Fight for Fair Copays PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper; Chris Hayhurst 2012 Business (small)

Rising health care copays are making health coverage less affordable even for those who have insurance. Exacerbating the problem, many insurers classify physical therapy as a specialized service, putting physical therapists (PTs) in the same category as orthopedic surgeons and obstetrician/gynecologists. This can result in $50-$100 copays, making treatment unaffordable when a patient sees a PT 2-3 times a week. Fewer patients -- and fewer visits by patients -- have a significant negative effect on a PT's practice. This article examined the problem and presented suggestions and examples of PTs who are helping patients cope, thereby reducing the financial impact on the PT and the patient.

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PTs Developing Innovative Delivery Care Models PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper; Michele Wojciechowski 2012 Health Policy (small)

The United States is experiencing tremendous changes in health care policies and practices. Many physical therapists (PTs) are responding by developing and embracing innovative delivery care models that provide enhanced care for patients and clients while sometimes offering a savings to those patients and to insurers. This article profiled some of those PTs and their new models. It also provided guidelines for readers who were interested in exploring new models to best respond to changes in health care policies and practices.

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No charge, no chance KMSP-TV Fox 9 News Jeff Baillon 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story reveals hundreds of deaths nationwide are related to problems with public automated defibrillators (AEDs).

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Sued Over An $1,800 Hospital Bill Kaiser Health News/NPR Jenny Gold 2012 Business (large)

This story examines the common practice of nonprofit hospitals suing low-income patients who are unable to pay their hospital bills. Mount Carmel, a nonprofit Catholic hospital in Columbus, Ohio, sued nearly 1,600 people in county court between 2009-2011 -- far more than the other hospitals in the area. This story includes an investigation of Mount Carmel's billing practices, and an examination of whether nonprofit hospitals tend to provide adequate charity care for their patients. It also discusses what states and the federal government are doing to address the problem. A radio version ran on NPR, and a longer text story was published on Kaiser Health News.

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Generation STEM PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper; Chris Hayhurst; Alison Barnard 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

There is a national effort to encourage more students -- especially females -- to study and enter professions dependent upon science, technology, engineering, and math (so-called STEM subjects). What roles are physical therapists playing in this effort? What additional roles can they play? And how will these programs affect the provision of physical therapy and the delivery of health care?

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In Juvenile Detention, Girls Face Health Care Designed For Boys Kaiser Health News/NPR Jenny Gold 2012 Public Health (large)

This story examines the health care provided to one of the most vulnerable and invisible populations in the U.S.: girls in the juvenile detention system. More than 600,000 girls aged 11-17 enter the system each year, and up to 90 percent of them have experienced physical, sexual and emotional abuse. For many, detention may be the only time they come into contact with the health care system. Yet almost across the board, these girls encounter a juvenile detention health system that was designed with boys in mind and fails to address the unique physical and mental health needs for girls.

Psychologist and advocate Leslie Acoca's research has found that poor physical health seems to increase risk of recidivism. Acoca is on a one-woman crusade to help solve the problem with a health-screening questionnaire specifically for girls that she hopes will identify and help address their health needs, which is already being used in Los Angeles County. Reporter Jenny Gold spent several days with her at the detention facility in Albuquerque, NM, which was piloting her Girls Health Screen at the time. The story aired on NPR, and a longer written version ran on the same day on Kaiser Health News.

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Your New Health Team . . . Half Way Around the World PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper; Chris Hayhurst; 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

A growing number of health care services are being outsourced not only to domestic companies but also to those based overseas. The process frequently is called "offshoring." These services range from coding and billing to patient lab results, documentation, eligibility determination, ICU (intensive care unit) monitoring, and front office services. What does this mean for physical therapists, their patients, and the health care system?

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Your New Health Team ... Half Way Around the World PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper and Chris Hayhurst 2012 Business (small)


Place: Honorable Mention

A growing number of health care services are being outsourced not only to domestic companies but also to those based overseas in a process called "offshoring." These range from coding and billing to patient lab results, intensive care unit monitoring, documentation, eligibility determination, and front office services. These actions are being taken largely for business purposes. What does this mean for physical therapists, their patients, and the health care system? What are the trade-offs between less expensive services and quality of patient care?

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Coping with Alzheimer's Knoxville News Sentinel / www.knoxnews.com Kristi L. Nelson; Carly Harrington 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

Because of heightened interest in Alzheimer's disease after University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt announced her own diagnosis, we wanted to provide a comprehensive series that covered both resources and research.

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Conflicts Arise As Health Insurers Diversify Kaiser Health News/Washington Post Jay Hancock 2012 Business (large)

The story recounts the numerous conflicts of interest caused by UnitedHealth's move to diversify out of the insurance business and purchase businesses whose interests are directly opposed to those of United's insurance wing. Although some of these had been reported, the story focused on one that hadn't gotten attention and which illustrated the conflicts in a striking way: The purchase by United, a health insurance company, of Executive Health Resources, a hospital consultant whose job is to fight against health insurers.

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It Was a Dark and Stormy Night . . . PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper; Stephanie Roth Stephens 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

This article examined the function of storytelling in helping shape legislation and public policy, interacting with patients and clients, marketing and obtaining referrals, educating students, mentoring new physical therapists, using social media and more. In this article, physical therapists told their stories about storytelling.

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Huge Experiment Aims To Save On Care For Poorest, Sickest Patients Kaiser Health News/USA Today Mary Agnes Carey; Sarah Varney, Senior Correspondent; 2012 Health Policy (large)

This story examined a large group of disabled Medicaid enrollees in California who were moved out of traditional fee-for-service health coverage into a managed care plan. Many of these enrollees are also expected to eventually qualify for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly and disabled. Federal officials have begun to roll out a similar, but larger effort required by the Affordable Care Act. That program will move up to 2 million of the nation's sickest and most expensive patients -- known a "dual eligibles" because they qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid -- into managed care. This story explored what the California experience could mean for the national program. It revealed many problems with the California program, including patients having difficulty staying with the doctors who had treated them for long periods of time through difficult, complex illnesses and that patients found the appeals process onerous.

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Fighting Fraud and Abuse in Physical Therapy PT in Motion Donald Edward Tepper; Chris Hayhurst 2012 Trade Publications/Newsletters

Fraud and abuse in physical therapy: Sometimes it's intentional. Sometimes it's not. What is known is that fraud and abuse throughout just the Medicaid portion of health care has been estimated to cost anywhere between $48 billion and $1.2 trillion a year. This article explored the range of fraud and abuse, explaining what it is, how it occurs, and what can be done to prevent or stop it. Various sidebars addressed definitions, the estimated cost of both fraud and abuse, and resources for physical therapists to help prevent fraud and abuse.

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Data on Healthcare Violence Remains Out of Reach The Lund Report Christen Michelle McCurdy 2012 Investigative (small)

Following the stabbing death of an in-home care provider employed by a mental health agency, this story investigated how common similar deaths are. While reporting found data on violence against nurses and other licensed healthcare providers, safety statistics for unlicensed health workers are not consistently tracked.

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Years After Its Ban, Lead Paint Exacts a Toll on Human Health The Lund Report Christen McCurdy 2012 Public Health (small)

This story focused on the ongoing effects of lead on human health, particularly lead paint in older homes. With gentrification -- and subsequent remodeling of older homes -- lead exposure is affecting different populations than those it was previously associated with. While the CDC has reduced its "action level" for blood lead contamination, it has also drastically reduced the funds available for testing and interventions.

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House Detectives Bethesda Magazine Rita Rubin 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This piece tells the story of the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program, a mecca for people with mysterious ailments that have stumped their hometown doctors.

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The Shots Felt Round the World Bethesda Magazine Rita Rubin 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

The vast majority of parents whose daughters have been immunized against HPV probably have never heard of John Schiller and Douglas Lowy, whose long-lasting collaboration, rare in science, led to the first vaccine designed specifically to prevent a type of cancer.

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Side Effects Milwaukee Journal Sentinel John Fauber; Ellen Gabler; 2012 Investigative (large)

In 2012, the ongoing "Side Effects" investigation exposed a troubling web of drug company influence over the practice of American medicine. The stories showed how drug companies funded nonprofit groups that advocate for more use of opioids and how treatment guidelines that recommend their use were written by panels stacked with doctors with financial ties to drug companies. They examined why sales of Advair boomed amid health concerns and despite warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's own doctors. Part of the answer: Asthma treatment guidelines written by a panel of financially conflicted doctors. And they examined the conflicts in treatment guidelines related to the nation's 25 top-selling drugs. The most startling finding: Of the 20 treatment guidelines examined, nine were written by panels where more than 80% of doctors had financial ties to drug companies.

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Donald G. McNeil Jr.'s 2012 Body of Work The New York Times Donald G. McNeil Jr. 2012 Beat Reporting


Place: Third Place

The series looked at a very small number of places or industries in the world that have successfully kept infections and death from AIDS to an absolute minimum, and how they did it. It also explored ways that other places – or even the whole United States – might do the same if some changes were made. One important lesson: each venue is different, but the most essential element is constant testing for HIV and aggressive follow-up of all sexual contacts of infected people. Sex education is also important.

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The New Goliaths National Journal Magazine Margot Sanger-Katz 2012 Health Policy (small)

The 2010 health reform law was designed to expand health insurance coverage and to lower the cost of health care. But a series of provisions have driven a wave of hospital mergers and hospital-physician consolidation, a phenomenon that could undermine the law's effectiveness by driving up health care prices. The story documents the trends in consolidation since the passage of the Affordable Care Act and analyzes the likely outcome of this dramatic change in the health industry landscape.

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Cost of Admission CBS Sam Hornblower and Steve Kroft 2012 Business (large)


Place: Honorable Mention

With estimates for waste, unnecessary care and fraud in health care in the hundreds of billions, 60 Minutes' investigation into hospital emergency room practices provides a window into the kind of conduct that causes health care costs to go out of control. For more than a year, reporters looked into the admission and billing practices of Health Management Associates, the fourth largest for-profit hospital chain in the country with revenues of $5.8 billion last year, finding that the company relentlessly pressured its doctors to admit more and more patients.

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Cost of Admission CBS Sam Hornblower; Steve Kroft 2012 Investigative (large)

With estimates for waste, unnecessary care and fraud in health care in the hundreds of billions, 60 Minutes' investigation into hospital emergency room practices provides a window into the kind of conduct that causes health care costs to go out of control. For more than a year, reporters looked into the admission and billing practices of Health Management Associates, the fourth largest for-profit hospital chain in the country with revenues of $5.8 billion last year, finding that the company relentlessly pressured its doctors to admit more and more patients.

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Philosophical debate, life or death consequences Contra Costa Times Hannah Dreier Dreier 2012 Consumer/Feature (small)

This Contra Costa Times series about the plight of an illegal immigrant seeking an organ transplant not only allowed the story's subject to receive a lifesaving transplant, but also spurred the largest transplant center in the West to revise its policies regarding transplantation for illegal immigrants. The stories also sparked debate from CNN to Univision about whether the medical community has a moral obligation to perform transplants on illegal immigrants, who may have trouble paying for needed medication down the road. 

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State Mental Health Dollars Bypassing Mentally Ill Associated Press Hannah Dreier 2012 Health Policy (large)

While California's budget crisis forced deep cuts in mental health treatment, "wellness" programs are flush with money. Some of those programs -- yoga, drama classes, acupuncture -- have little or nothing to do with mental health. Twenty percent of the money raised through a tax specifically aimed at funding mental health treatment instead goes to wellness programs. This story prompted editorials around California and inspired lawmakers to work to change how mental health funding is spent so it serves those who need it most. The state is now conducting a $400,000 audit into the program.

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Ghost Factories USA Today Alison Ann Young, John Hillkirk and Peter Eisler 2012 Investigative (large)


Place: First Place

More than a decade ago an article in a scientific journal warned that people living near hundreds of forgotten lead factory sites could be in danger from toxic lead fallout deposited on nearby properties. The researcher gave the U.S. Environmental Protection agency his list of 464 potential lead factory sites in 2001. But USA Today's 14-month investigation of the sites on that list found federal and state officials left thousands of families in harm's way, doing little to examine the properties or warn residents of the danger posed by lead-contaminated soil in their yards.

In addition to publishing traditional investigative stories detailing the newspaper's findings, a centerpiece of the project is a massive, multi-dimensional digital interactive that has empowered communities and government officials to explore in detail the danger USA Today has documented at each of more than 230 confirmed factory sites.

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The Care Quandary St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jim Doyle 2012 Consumer/Feature (large)

The Care Quandary story was published with a sidebar titled, "Conflicting goals complicate decisions." As three siblings disagreed over how much hospital care to give their 89-year-old mother, her medical costs skyrocketed -- and all the care she received did little to prolong her suffering. Althlee Williams' health care tab of $1.2 million for her last six months of life was hardly unique in an era of rapidly advancing medical technology. Few politicians, bureaucrats, insurers or physicians discuss the ethical and financial aspects of dying, or how to tackle soaring health costs. Physicians, trained to diagnose and treat diseases, often do not fully consider quality-of-life issues.

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The Business of Body Parts St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jim Doyle 2012 Business (large)

The Business of Body Parts was published with a sidebar titled, "Nonprofit, its CEO and board members dabble in real estate." Mid-America Transplant Services is a non-profit charitable organization that acts increasingly like a for-profit enterprise. It sells human body parts and tissue for financial gain, and harbors potential conflicts of interest. Its director and board members have investments in the same biotechnology and real estate ventures where Mid-America has poured some of its excess tax-exempt cash. For instance, Mid-America supplies cartilage from dead children to a biotech start-up that Mid-America and its executives have invested in. Mid-America's donor consent form does not disclose its financial ties to certain for-profit and non-profit firms with whom it does business.

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Business of Health Care St.Louis Post-Dispatch Jim Doyle 2012 Beat Reporting

This beat's coverage includes Missouri-based hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, insurers and phsycian groups. It focuses mainly on the nexus between cost and quality of care as well as transparency about non-profit and for-profit health systems. 

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7 Myths About Health Care Reform AARP The Magazine Beth Claire Howard; Gabrielle Redford; 2012 Health Policy (large)

Discussions about the Affordable Care Act reached a zenith this year in the lead-up to the presidential election, leaving many voters confused about the act's details and specifics. In this article, the author asked health care policy experts to weigh in on the most persistent fallacies about the act and explained the facts in a straightforward and understandable way. Responses to common myths also helped explain the genesis of the myths so that readers could make sense of the specific distortion of facts in each case.

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Suicide, Guns and Free Speech PsychCentral.com Christine Stapleton 2012 Health Policy (small)

A controversial law passed by Florida lawmakers in 2011 prohibits physicians from asking patients about ownership or access to guns. That means a doctor cannot ask an abused wife if her husband owns a gun and a psychiatrist cannot a patient with depression if he has access to firearms. Doctors have sued the state, claiming the new law - back by the National Rifle Association - infringes on their First-Amendment right to free speech.

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Doctors Going Broke CNNMoney.com Parija Kavilanz 2012 Business (large)

These three stories shed light on the financial problems that doctors are experiencing but don't like to discuss openly.

The first story ("Doctors going broke") was sparked by a reader comment to CNNMoney. The reader, responding to a story about potential cuts to Medicare reimbursements, said the cuts would be devastating to doctors, many of whom are already taking out loans just to pay their employees and keep their practices running. CNNMoney followed up and posed this question directly to readers: "Are you a doctor with a solo practice or group practice and have had to borrow money to make payroll?" The story featured three doctors -- a cardiologist, an oncologist and a family physician -- who all outlined their financial struggles. Since the story first published, CNN has learned that one of the doctors has had to shut his practice.

The second story in the series ("Doctors: Why we can't stay afloat") invited doctors to explain in their own words why becoming a doctor is no longer a surefire path to financial security that it once was. Six doctors, ranging from primary care physicians to an oncologist and a dentist, candidly spoke about their financial struggles, providing even greater insight into why many physicians are struggling to make ends meet.

The third story ("Doctors' money mistakes") looked at why doctors may not be the savviest at running a business. Interestingly, some of the doctors we interviewed admitted to shortcomings, such as not having the time to study the basics of business, or not knowing when to seek out financial advisers.

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Access Denied Tulsa World Shannon Muchmore 2011 Health Policy

The series examined the lack of access to health care across Oklahoma, and particularly in rural areas, which leads to poor health outcomes and large health disparities. Fewer doctors practice in rural areas and specialists are even harder to find. Public policies aiming to correct this problem are rare and are having little effect.

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Older dementia patients left with few options The Virginian-Pilot Elizabeth Simpson Earley 2011 Health Policy

The shutdown of a geriatric mental health unit in a local hospital could have been a 10-inch inside story, but instead this reporter took a look at the impact of the closure on the last patient on the unit, the big-picture trends that led to the shutdown, and the paucity of care for mental health patients, especially older, low-income ones. The insight of the psychiatrist who worked on the unit gave an inside view of a population that is rarely seen by the public as we followed his clientele from hospital to assisted living units.

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S.C. Gov. Haley dictated health panel finding The Post and Courier Renee Dudley 2011 Health Policy

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley dictated the conclusions of a committee charged with deciding how the state should implement federal health care reform before the group ever held its first meeting. In a March 31 email thread that included Haley, her top advisers and the committee member who eventually penned the report, Haley wrote, "The whole point of this commission should be to figure out how to opt out and how to avoid a federal takeover, NOT create a state exchange." The Health Planning Committee's report, released in November, mirrored that directive.

Documents show a first-term Republican administration focused on public perception of its handling of the Democratic health care reform law. They also reveal the tight control Haley and her top aides exercise over other state agencies, requiring media inquiries to various state departments to pass through the governor's office for inspection. News of the fixed conclusion enraged consumer advocates, who met in good faith with the committee more than 30 times over seven months. Taxpayer watchdogs were infuriated that the state used a $1 million federal "exchange planning" grant to reach a pre-determined conclusion.

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Doctor's Inc. (series) The New York Times Gardiner Harris 2011 Health Policy

The stories focused on the extraordinary changes affecting medical practice, including the decline of the solo practitioner, the disappearance of talk therapy in psychiatry, the rise of shift work, the increasing emphasis on social skills and doctors' changing politics.

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Toxic Law? PBS WNET Emily Jean Senay, MD, Laura LeBlanc, Brenda Breslauer 2011 Health Policy

The piece explores the environmental and health consequences of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Intended to protect Americans from toxic chemicals, the law is, in fact, so weak that out of the 84,000 chemicals currently in use only 5 have been regulated because of toxicity. "Toxic Law?" demonstrates how lax laws and weak policy leads to poor health outcomes.

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A Good Death Freelance, CBC Meredith Alexandra Levine, Mary C. Sheppard 2011 Health Policy

This story explores what makes a good end-of-life journey, how attitudes and practices are evolving and what changes are needed to put palliative care on the public agenda. It also exposes a lack of national policies and funding for palliative care in Canada that has resulted in a failure to meet the needs of the dying in this country.

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New Strategies for Psych Care Freelance / Trustee Charlotte Huff 2011 Health Policy

The recession and natural disasters around the country have increased the number of patients with anxiety, depression and substance abuse problems. Meanwhile, budget cuts and the longstanding split in funding for psych patients who also have medical problems mean there are fewer psychiatric beds in hospitals. As a result, psychiatric patients are crowding emergency departments and hospitals are struggling to find the best and cost-effective ways to treat these patients. Charlotte Huff sought facilities around the country that are using innovative ways to treat this population. Solutions included pooling Medicaid dollars, fast-tracking evaluations, integrating treatment, aggressive case management and offering non-medical forms of assistance.

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Variation in Heart Care CHCF Center for Health Reporting Emily Bazar 2011 Health Policy

Residents of the poor and isolated Northern California community of Clearlake undergo two common heart procedures at exorbitant rates, between five and six times more than average Californians. This was the conclusion of a data analysis that showed dramatic variation across California in the use of elective angioplasty and elective angiography. The analysis also drove home the point that where you live can help determine how likely you are to go under the knife.

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Minnesota Sex Offender Treatment Program: Treatment Without Parole Duluth News Tribune Brandon Stahl 2011 Health Policy

This story covers controversies around The Minnesota Sex Offender Program. Despite spending nearly $400 million over the last few years alone, the state of Minnesota has never successfully treated a single high-risk sex offender -- that is, they've never permanently released an offender from his or her prison-like confinement. The Minnesota Sex Offender Program, or MSOP, spends 3 1/2 times more on a "patient" than a state prison does an inmate, with costs continuing to rise. Many offenders confined to the MSOP for treatment now look at it instead as a death sentence. Indeed, many people have died there. And the number of people who are being confined the MSOP has skyrocketed in recent years.

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Asleep at the Wheel WCNC-TV Stuart Watson, John Gray, Jeremy Markovich 2011 Health Policy

The WCNC-TV Investigative Team spent months reporting this story on sleep apnea and falling asleep at the wheel. An estimated 13 to 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and that number is climbing. Studies show drivers with sleep apnea are exponentially more likely to crash. And millions of long haul truckers are more prone to sleep apnea than the general population. But hundreds of thousands of independent truckers and their professional lobbying organization, the Owner Operators and Independent Drivers Association or OOIDA, deny that fatigue and sleep apnea are major factors in trucking fatalities. The result is that proposed regulations which could save lives languish in Washington while ten people a day die on the nation's highways in large truck crashes.

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Healthcare Law Could Leave Families with High Insurance Costs The Hill Julian Pecquet 2011 Health Policy

This story was the first to uncover a major glitch in the healthcare reform law that threatens to undermine the law's promise of affordable insurance for millions of American families. In order to prevent employers from dumping their workers into federally subsidized exchanges when they go online in 2014, the law created a so-called "firewall" restricting the subsidies only to workers who can't afford their company's plan. The affordability test only applies to individual coverage, however, not family coverage - meaning workers' families will not be eligible for exchange subsidies, even if they cannot afford an employer's family plan. Fixing the glitch could cost billions of dollars a year and turn the law into a deficit buster. Meanwhile, federal regulators say their hands are tied by the statutory language even as consumer advocates continue to lobby Treasury officials to adopt more generous regulations.

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Mentally Ill Food ER as States Cut Services Reuters Julie Dee Steenhuysen, Jilian, Correspondent 2011 Health Policy

In this story, reporters Julie Steenhuysen and Jilian Mincer take a closer at how the economy is affecting mental health. They discovered that the financial crisis has boosted demand for mental health services by 400,000 patients in the past three years, just as cash-strapped states have slashed $3.4 billion in mental health services. 

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Governors Seek Medicaid Flexibility Amid Rising Concerns Over State Budgets Wiley Valerie Ann Canady, Karienne Stovell 2011 Health Policy

This story reports on the changing state of Medicaid and mental health care. The National Governors Association on Feb. 28, 2011, met on Capitol Hill to discuss struggling state budgets, rising Medicaid costs and efforts by some states to remove hundreds of thousands of people from Medicaid. National mental health field leaders support President Obama's recommendation that a bipartisan group of governors be established with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to find ways to lower costs and improve the quality of care for Medicaid beneficiaries. Meanwhile, in Arizona, officials were considering an end to Medicaid coverage for $280,000 adults beginning Oct. 1.

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A New Way to Deliver Primary Care ideastream Anne O'Brien Glausser, David Molpus 2011 Health Policy

This story examines an emerging way to deliver primary care, called a "medical home." This model is taking root in Cleveland and across the country, and it promises coordinated, preventive care for patients. A pilot "medical home" program in Cleveland shows promising year 1 results -- patients had 35% fewer hospitalizations and about 7% fewer ER visits than similar patients not enrolled.

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States Line Up for MLR Adjustments as Insurers Cut Brokerage Commissions Bloomberg BNA Sara Hansard 2011 Health Policy

This story covers a key consumer protection provision in the Affordable Care Act: the "medical loss ratio" requirement, under which individual and small business health insurance plans must spend at least 80% of premiums on medical claims or measures to improve health care quality. Insurers that do not meet the standard must refund the difference beginning Aug. 1, 2012.

But there have been unintended consequences. A year after the ACA was enacted, many states asked for waivers from the provision, fearing their individual insurance markets would be destabilized and consumers would lose coverage if insurers left their markets. In addition, insurers began cutting commissions to health insurance agents and brokers to lower administrative expenses to meet the requirement, which is threatening their livelihood. Many believe small businesses and individual consumers will need agents and brokers to help them choose health plans as coverage is increased under the health care reform law. But consumer representatives say attempts to remove brokerage commissions from the formula will weaken the provision's protections.

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Building Ambitions: The Big Money World Of Kids' Care Kaiser Health News Gilbert M. Gaul 2011 Health Policy

Children's hospitals relentlessly promote the good care they provide, but they don't like to talk about how they contribute to the escalating cost of the U.S. health system. "Building Ambitions" documented the industry's multibillion-dollar building boom as an example of government's faltering efforts to control spiraling medical spending. The series, published at a time of heightened public interest in the rising cost of care, marked the first in-depth examination of the finances of children's hospitals.

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Mentally Ill Languish In Hospital Emergency Rooms Kaiser Health News Jenny Gold 2011 Health Policy

This story reports that mentally ill patients are often boarded in hospital emergency rooms for several days due to a lack of psychiatric beds. At most, they get medicine but little or no counseling, and the environment is often harsh. The experience can be devastating for mentally ill patients and stressful for providers and hospitals. But as states have looked for ways to cut mental health spending during the recession, at the same time that many Americans have lost their private insurance, the problem has only gotten worse. We personalize the problem by talking with a patient while he was stuck in the emergency room, waiting for a psychiatric bed.

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Charity Hospitals St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jim Doyle 2011 Health Policy

This article explores charity care, taxes and the tax-exempt status of non-profit St. Louis area hospitals. This one-day package marked the first in-depth investigation in Missouri of the tax advantages of these multi-billion dollar health systems. It not only probed the tax breaks given to one of St. Louis' most powerful institutions -- BJC Healthcare, which operates Barnes-Jewish Hospital -- but also documented the apparent abuses of its nonprofit status by the Mercy healthcare system, which operates hospitals in Missouri and three other states. A sidebar also provided a detailed examination of state and local property taxes foregone on these hospital properties.

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Hydrocodone The Associated Press Chris Hawley 2011 Health Policy

These articles are part of a collection of stories about the dangers of hydrocodone, the key ingredient in Vicodin and the nation's second most-abused medicine. For years the problem of hydrocodone abuse was overshadowed by concern over oxycodone, its chemical cousin. Oxycodone came in stronger versions, like OxyContin, and so it grabbed most of the headlines.

This series of articles was prompted by a violent pharmacy robbery on Long Island. The robber took thousands of pills containing hydrocodone. Data from a DEA database show how pharmacy robberies rose 81 percent in four years. A package of two articles revealed how the DEA and FDA have been dragging their feet for 12 years on a review over whether to close a regulatory loophole that has fed hydrocodone addiction. Another story revealed that four companies are quietly developing pure hydrocodone drugs. This story alarmed drug control experts nationwide and dominated headlines.

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Hospital Merger The Courier-Journal Laura Ungar, Pat Howington 2011 Health Policy

This is a series of enterprise stories about the planned merger of three hospital systems in Louisville: University Hospital, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and St. Joseph Health System, which is owned by the Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives. The proposed merger generated intense controversy because CHI follows Catholic health directives that forbid procedures such as sterilizations, and the other merger partners agreed not to offer the banned services. This was especially concerning in the case of University Hospital, the city's public safety-net hospital for the poor. It meant poor people, who have no other options for care, wouldn't have access to certain services because of religious rules. Ultimately, after months of coverage by The Courier-Journal exposing issues and concerns, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear rejected the merger.

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Costly EMS Calls The Hartford Courant William Weir 2011 Health Policy

The article takes a look at how many of the ambulance calls in Connecticut are for genuine emergencies. By Connecticut law, a person calling 911 requesting transportation to a hospital cannot be refused, and though many calls for legitimate medical concerns, the emergency room isn't the best place to treat them, ambulance officials say. It can bog down the ambulance system, but most agree that the problem doesn't have any easy solution.

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Struggling To Find State Decision The Hartford Courant William Weir 2011 Health Policy

This article looks at the human costs of a decision to cut Connecticut's State Medical Assistance for Noncitizens Act, which provided medical benefits for about 4,700 people in Connecticut who are in the U.S. legally but have not yet obtained citizenship. A woman who needed medication for her chemotherapy, a man who needed a prosthesis for his leg and a woman billed $50,000 for a short hospital stay due to a paperwork error.

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Perkins Hospital The Baltimore Sun Andrea Kristina Walker, Meredith Cohn 2011 Health Policy

Perkins is Maryland's forensic hospital, meaning this is where they send the most dangerous of the criminally insane. After a spate of killings, this article outlined institutional troubles -- from workers' and patients' perspective and what might be done to improve care and safety in such institutions.

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Bad Medicine The Kansas City Star Alan Bavley 2011 Health Policy

Being sued successfully over and over again won't necessarily get a doctor disciplined in Kansas or Missouri, even when patients' lives are lost. "Bad Medicine" detailed the history of a Kansas City area neurosurgeon who has a long history of malpractice cases involving paralysis, disfigurement and deaths yet maintains a spotless Kansas medical license.

The story includes statistics gleaned from a federal database to show that this doctor's case isn't a fluke: he is one of 21 doctors in Kansas and Missouri who had 10 or more malpractice payments made on their behalf but had never been disciplined. While licensing boards in 17 states make information about doctors' malpractice histories available to the public, the Kansas and Missouri boards do not.

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Community Immunity The Bulletin (Bend, Ore.) Markian Hawryluk 2011 Health Policy

This story reports on childhood vaccination rates, which are generally tracked using county-wide statistics and which can hide pockets of vulnerability within the county. Several schools in Bend, Ore. had a high rate of students claiming religious exemptions to school vaccinations, leaving several schools below the threshold needed to provide herd immunity from vaccine-preventable diseases.

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Can't See Eye to Eye Angie's List magazine Michael Schroeder, Kristy Broering, Sue Wiltz 2011 Health Policy

This story explores the controversy between optometrists' scope of care and their ophthalmologist competitors. In 18 states, optometrists have been lobbying to broaden the services they offer, such as prescribing drugs, administering injections and performing laser surgery. This has exacerbated a turf war with ophthalmologists who provide the full spectrum of care and say optometrists are sidestepping necessary schooling and training. In the last three years optometrists have been successful in broadening the scope of practice in eight states, but they've failed to prevail in seven others. Three states were still considering legislation at press time. 

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Methadone and the Politics of Pain The Seattle Times Michael J Berens, Ken Armstrong 2011 Investigative (large)

This series examines the methadone industry in Washington state and analyzes the effects of the drug's availability and potency. 

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Tracking Tainted Wipes msnbc.com/TODAY.com JoNel Aleccia 2011 Investigative (large)

Starting Feb. 15, 2011, msnbc.com was the first news outlet to investigate how lax oversight by the Food and Drug Administration allowed problems with medical wipes and other products used by millions and blamed for serious illnesses and deaths nationwide. These stories were the first to reveal that FDA officials knew at least two years in advance about problems with contamination and sterilization at the Triad Group and H&P Industries of Hartland, Wis., and yet failed to enforce compliance until reports of illnesses and death surfaced. The stories also reported on the wipes' widespread distribution and human cost of contamination.

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A Presidential Experiment? Rick Perry Undergoes Controversial Stem Cell Therapy Ahead of GOP Bid The Texas Tribune Emily Ramshaw 2011 Investigative (large)

The Texas Tribune broke this series of stories on Gov. Rick Perry's controversial stem cell treatment -- injected just weeks before he launched his presidential bid -- and Perry's relationship with the doctors and business leaders working to make the largely experimental therapy commonplace in Texas. The news -- that Perry had the procedure performed secretly, that he used a doctor who had never before done it, and that he was working behind the scenes to bring the adult stem cell industry to Texas -- made national headlines.

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Dialysis care The Oregonian Nick Budnick 2011 Investigative (large)

The article examined how drug shortages affect Oregon. It quoted doctors who admitted they are rationing drugs and parceling out sub-optimal doses, as well as a cancer patient who showed up for therapy only to learn his doctors had no medicine for him and weren't sure when it would arrive.

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Quest for Justice The Oregonian Aimee Green 2011 Investigative (large)

This story covers a family's struggle to hold a nursing home accountable for grief suffered when an strange man was found shirtless without explanation in their loved one's apartment.

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Generation Meds: The Over-medication of America's Foster Children with Mind-altering Drugs ABC News Mark Abdelmalek, MD, Brinda Adhikari, Claire Weinraub 2011 Investigative (large)

ABC News spent more than a year investigating the overmedication of foster children with powerful, mind-altering psychiatric drugs including antipsychotics, the most potent class of psychotropics. The story profiled dozens of affected foster children across the country, tracked down doctors who overprescribe medications to vulnerable children -- often after very short visits and without an accurate psychiatric diagnosis -- extensively reviewed FDA documents revealing problems with drug trials some of which involved foster children, found a program in Kentucky where providers are fighting hard against over-medicating foster children and confronted government officials accountable for foster care system shortcomings. In the end, ABC News showed millions of viewers the myriad of problems that foster children face when over medicated on mind-altering drugs to the extremes of sedation, submission and defeat. 

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'Slow Poison' Chokes Indian Workers Feeding $7 Slum Roof Demand Bloomberg News Adi Narayan, Andrew MacAskill 2011 Investigative (large)

India's demand for cheap asbestos roofing sheets has made the country one of the biggest importers of the carcinogenic substance, which causes cancer and lifelong breathing disabilities in factory workers and their families. The story involved reporting from three Indian states and Canada and uncovered how tax breaks, lack of regulatory enforcement and illiteracy among the workers is responsible for the bleak state of affairs. Based on interviews with dozens of workers and their families, the story shed light on the human costs of living with asbestosis and the sharp contrast between Indian and foreign firms when it came to compensating workers.

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Chiropractor Backing Romney Expands Empire on $23,000 Patients Bloomberg News David Armstrong 2011 Investigative (large)

This story covered the booming business of pain treatment -- a market characterized in many places by high prices, aggressive marketing and bogus advances that have harmed some patients and fleeced others. In the story "Chiropractor Backing Romney" reporter David Armstrong revealed how pain clinics are profiting from treating car crash victims with a variety of expensive therapies that experts say are of limited or no help to people in pain. One clinic operator has been so successful with this model that he travels in his own private jet and recently built a 30,000-square-foot oceanfront mansion.

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Preparing Americans for Death Lets Hospices Neglect End of Life Bloomberg News Peter Joseph Waldman 2011 Investigative (large)

The article showed how allegations of patient neglect and Medicare fraud have tracked hospice care's change from a largely charitable cause into a for-profit business, dominated by large corporations. It also showed how patients who are not dying are being admitted to hospices and -- having given up their rights to curative care -- are being subjected to neglect at the most vulnerable times of their lives, sometimes to the point of death. Shares in Chemed Corp., which owns the largest U.S. hospice chain fell in the weeks after Waldman's story and were down substantially for the year.

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Why Burn Doctors Hate Instant Soup Freelance Mara Zepeda, Alex Blumberg, Uri Berliner 2011 Investigative (large)

This story reveals that instant, cup-style soups sends patients -- mostly children -- to the hospital every day, often with serious injuries. The problem seems to be the cup's design: they are tall, lightweight and top-heavy.

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Deadly Deception CBS 42/WIAT Sonya DiCarlo STAFF, Sonya DiCarlo, Scott MacDowell 2011 Investigative (large)

Deadly Deception is a one-hour documentary that revealed evidence of toxic testing at homes and schools in some North Birmingham communities. This months long investigation uncovered evidence of deception by city, county, state and federal environmental regulators as well as elected officials. 

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Monthly Column -- Diabetes Simplified Freelance / Contract William Lee Dubois 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter William Dubois' assignment is to look diabetes care -- from the day-to-day mechanics, to difficult medical concepts, to the mind-set and culture of diabetes patients -- and to provide education to readers. These four samples look at issues around sharps (i.e. needles and lancets), blood glucose meters, tips for young persons with diabetes going off to college for the first time, and the divide between the two major types of diabetes patients.

See the stories here

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Side Effects Milwaukee Journal Sentinel John Andrew Fauber 2011 Investigative (large)

"Side Effects" investigates conflicts of interest in medicine.

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Yuk-Hang Ng's 2010 Body of Work on Tobacco Control South China Morning Post Yuk Hang Ng, Zhuang Pinghui 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter Yuk-Hang Ng has covered tobacco control in Hong Kong and Asia for years. This year, the reporter exposed how tobacco companies lobbied the government just prior to the announcement of the annual budget, which violated WHO guidelines. This sparked anger among health professionals. Ng also called attention to two areas that required the government's urgent action: banning smoking outside building entrances and regulating electronic cigarettes that do not contain nicotine. In the final clip, Ng produced a one-page feature to coincide with the WHO World No Tobacco Day, which analyzed the state of tobacco control in Asia and reported on Hong Kong's performance in quit-smoking schemes. There was also an additional story filed by co-reporter Zhuang Pinghui on tobacco use in China.

See the stories here

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BJC in Context - Institutionalizing Diversity St. Louis American Sandra J Jordan 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter Sandra Jordan assesses the progress of diversity at St. Louis-based BJC Healthcare in the newspaper's annual diversity special section. In a series of three stories, she also examined diversity and inclusion efforts at two other top healthcare corporations of similar size and scope to BCJ: Partners Health in Massachusetts and Duke Health in North Carolina.

See the story here

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Booth 2011 Body of Work The Denver Post Michael Booth 2011 Beat Reporting

Michael Booth's 2011 beat reporting focused on the surpluses of Colorado nonprofit health insurers, the high cost of healthcare for chronic patients and Colorado's biggest financial swap of the year. He sought unpublished documents on a $1.45 billion deal between the largest health foundation and the largest hospital chain and forcing public hearings; under community pressure, the state attorney general crafted major new consumer protections into his approval. Finally, Booth's reporting on the largest food-borne illness outbreak in nearly 100 years culminated in this heartbreaking piece about one victim's family.

See the stories here

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The Stranger Reading Your X-Ray May Be 8,000 Miles Away SELF Magazine Katherine Eban, Sara Austin, Lucy S. Danziger 2011 Investigative (large)

In this storySelf magazine investigates the growing practice of teleradiology, in which radiologists -- working remotely and often in different time zones -- read the scans of patients thousands of miles away. While the practice has allowed small, often understaffed hospitals to provide radiology around the clock, Self found that the practice can open the door to confusion, errors and outright fraud: The person reading your scan may not be a doctor, or in the worst-case scenario, may not be any one at all.

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The Morning Call Health Beat Reporting The Morning Call Tim Darragh 2011 Beat Reporting

These four stories examine wrong-site surgeries, a fatal overdose in hospital, blood glucose meters and a breast cancer fund-raising warning.

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Manipulating Medicare iWatch News, The Center for Public Integrity Joe Eaton 2011 Investigative (large)

This series of stories

1) analyzed a six-year sample of Medicare billing records and found that the program spent about $1.9 billion on unnecessary cancer screenings during that period, which was 40% of the government agency's total spending on breast, colon, prostate and cervical cancer screenings during that period

2) documented how General Electric and other manufacturers of digital mammography technology used political influence and campaign donations to influence Congress to increase Medicare reimbursement for the new scans, despite scientific evidence that showed digital mammography is no better than traditional film mammography at detecting breast cancer in the majority of women, and may actually be worse

3) showed how a small and secretive group of doctors within the American Medical Association plays a key role in setting the prices that Medicare pays for procedures

4) and followed up on the impact of the previous stories, including four bills before Congress inspired by Center for Public Integrity reporting.

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Chicago Medical Conferences Freelance Lara Carol Pullen 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories cover a range of issues discussed at medical meetings held in Chicago in 2011: Society for Interventional Radiology (SIR), American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), American Medical Association (AMA), and Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

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The Morning Call Health Beat Entry 2 The Morning Call Milton Carrero 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter Milton Correro's stories in The Morning Call cover Blue Cross' reinstatement of mental health insurance coverage for 9,000 patients. Correro also profiles three individuals with serious medical concerns: A boy who passed away from leukemia, a man who lost and then regained his eyesight, and a 19-year-old who blogs about the lighter sides of living with a disability.

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Regulation of Alternative Health Care Questioned Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Amy Elizabeth Karon, Greg Borowski, Angela Peterson 2011 Investigative (large)

Wisconsin's rate of seriously disciplining physicians ranked third-lowest in the country in 2010. But its regulation of alternative care providers is even more lax. The state oversees 132 credential types, but not homeopaths or naturopaths. In this story, reporter Amy Elizabeth Karon illustrated oversight issues using one woman's experiences with an "intuitive healer" who took advantage of her pocketbook and injured her spinal canal. This article is the first in-depth investigation of Wisconsin's poor oversight of alternative care providers.

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Barbara Peters Smith Sarasota Herald-Tribune Barbara Peters Smith 2011 Beat Reporting

This beat includes stories about music therapy and massage replacing antipsychotic medications at a non-profit nursing home, a breaking piece about a boy's suicide following hypnosis by his school principle, an expose about a Florida nursing home choking death, and the emergency department of the Sarasota, Flo.-area's largest hospital.

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Dow Jones Newswires: The Shortage of US Cancer Drugs in 2011 Dow Jones Newswires Peter Loftus, Jennifer Corbett Dooren 2011 Investigative (large)

In these stories, Jennifer Corbett Dooren first reported on shortages of chemotherapy treatments, antibiotics and key nutritional supplements in hospitals nationwide and disclosed a shortage of a key leukemia drug that started last year has worsened. Reporter Peter Loftus also went behind the scenes and exposed that Ben Venue Laboratories outsourced manufacturing of a key cancer treatment drug -Doxil- for Johnson & Johnson. Loftus then looked at the fallout from the Doxil shortages and disclosed that a number of cancer studies had been halted or faced delays. He unearthed more undisclosed details of the problems at Ben Venue, which is a unit of German drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, tying the problem into the broader issue of big pharma companies outsourcing production of their drugs.

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Marni Jameson Beat Reporting Orlando Sentinel Marni Jameson 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter Marni Jameson covers topics from addiction after gastric bypass surgery to epigenetics to Big Pharma buyoffs in her reporting for the Orlando Sentinel.

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Patient Safety Crisis at Parkland The Dallas Morning News Staff 2011 Investigative (large)

This series revealed systemic problems in care and cases of patient harm, even death, at Parkland Memorial, one of the country's prominent public hospitals. Parkland and its academic affiliate, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, allowed doctors in training, and even students, to practice on Dallas' most vulnerable patients, often with little or no supervision. The consequences of such lapses in care were especially acute and tragic in Parkland's psychiatric ER. This series tells stories of patients and families harmed in the unit.

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Diabetes Beat by Miriam E. Tucker Elsevier/International Medical News Group Miriam E. Tucker 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter Miriam E. Tucker covers physician sensitivity to LGBT diabetes patients, athletes with type 1 diabetes, crowdsourcing in diabetes treatment development and the cost of treating diabetes.

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Noncommunicable Disease Elsevier/International Medical News Group Miriam E. Tucker 2011 Beat Reporting

These four stories chronicle the events leading up to, and including, the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Disease.

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Building Ambitions: The Big Money World Of Kids' Care Kaiser Health News Gilbert M. Gaul 2011 Investigative (large)

Children's hospitals relentlessly promote the good care they provide, but they don't like to talk about how they contribute to the escalating cost of the U.S. health system. "Building Ambitions" documented the industry's multibillion-dollar building boom as an example of government's faltering efforts to control spiraling medical spending. The series, published at a time of heightened public interest in the rising cost of care, marked the first in-depth examination of the finances of children's hospitals.

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Body of Work, JoNel Aleccia msnbc.com JoNel Aleccia 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories by JoNel Aleccia covered: FDA oversights that allowed problems with medical prep products blamed for deaths and infections nationwide; Christian Longo, an Oregon death row inmate who wants to change federal and state rules that bar inmates from donating organs after death; the impact of medical errors on the caregivers who make them, the so-called "second-victim" effect; and the FDA's little-known practice of allowing food firms to "rework" products that are imperfect, mislabled or contaminated.

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The Five Percent Rule Marketplace/NPR and BBC World Service Sally W Herships, John Haas 2011 Investigative (large)

Soldiers smoke more than civilians. An independent year-long investigation by reporter Sally Herships has uncovered the military's failure to comply with its own tobacco pricing restriction, selling millions of dollars of tobacco products for well below legal limits. This broken restriction sickens soldiers and leaves tax payers with an enormous financial burden. The Department of Defense spends more than $1.5 billion on tobacco-related expenses. This story sought to determine the depth of the military's failed tobacco pricing restrictions and to measure its impact in terms of scope and healthcare costs.

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The New Boys' Health Scare REDBOOK Brian Alexander, Jill Herzig, Sunny Sea Gold 2011 Investigative (large)

Most reporting on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) appears in short stories in daily papers or TV news and covers only one or two recent studies about bisphenol A (BPA), the most famous EDC. The goal of this story was to dig deeper, explain why EDCs can be a confusing topic and reveal that decades of animal study has linked them to health harms. Reporter Brian Alexander also uncovered that government regulation of EDCs has been lax in the past due to antiquated laws and lobbying pressures brought to bear by industry. To REDBOOK's knowledge, this is the first time a general interest magazine has covered the ubiquity of atrazine -- the world's most popular herbicide -- in water and on land and its documented effects on wildlife.

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Amy DePaul Beat Reporting VoiceofOC.org Amy DePaul 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter Amy DePaul's beat is health disparities and medical issues facing the largely immigrant, (and often underserved) low-income communities of Orange County, Calif. Stories include food truck nutrition in Santa Ana, Calif., peer health educationin Orange County, a local professor's findings that Latinos do not rely unduly on emergency rooms and a new youth obesity clinic in a city where children lack access to nutritional foods and safe open spaces.

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Medical Marijuana in New Jersey: A Crop of Problems The Star-Ledger Amy Jane Brittain 2011 Investigative (large)

This submission includes a series of investigative stories about the extensive problems plaguing New Jersey's medical marijuana program.

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Evidence Into Practice Freelance Christie Aschwanden 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories explore the intersection of evidence and medical decision-making. The pieces examine how medical research is translated into practice, and how narratives influence the way that evidence is interpreted by patients and their doctors. Breast Cancer's False Narrative explores how the stories we tell about medical research can lead us astray. Kiddie Cholesterol shows how conflicts of interest and dependence on surrogate endpoints can result in practices that may cause more harm than good. Avastin and the Power of Hope looks at what happens when evidence fails to affirm hope. The Change in Mammogram Guidelines examines how controversial breast cancer screening guidelines are being put into use in the real world.

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Fit Military: Unfit Wives KIRO-TV (CBS) Christopher J. Halsne, David Weed 2011 Investigative (large)

Soldiers' wives are taking advantage of an expanded, free medical perk -- weight loss surgery -- and it's costing tax payers dearly. This story led the Pentagon to admit it approved at least $363,000,000 in lap band, gastric bypass, and related bariatric surgeries in the past 10 years, with the Army spending 100 million of that just in the past three years. It appears some wives are also working the system to get approval for additional free tummy tucks and breast augmentation/reductions. Critics wonder if encouraging military spouses to lose weight naturally might be less costly than allowing military dependents to go under the knife.

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Patient Treatments The Oregonian Joe Rojas-Burke 2011 Beat Reporting

This beat answers practical questions relevant to ordinary people: When will a treatment become available? How much will a technology cost? And how does it compare to existing options?

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the CDC: A Long, Tangled Tale UC Berkeley/also freelance David Tuller 2011 Investigative (large)

This story is an "epidemiologic investigation" of the Centers for Disease Control's failed research program on chronic fatigue syndrome, with a major focus on the agency's flawed and harmful research approach. Non-CDC researchers, patients, and advocacy organizations have long criticized the CDC's chronic fatigue syndrome research program for multiple failings. Yet news organizations have given the agency a free ride on this issue --largely because the illness remains so poorly understood. This story was an effort to rectify that oversight. The upshot of the reporting: The agency has focused major resources on investigating purported psychiatric and trauma-reltated factors using flawed research methodologies while largely dismissing the idea that infectious agents are likely involved. As a result, progress on finding answers has been off-track for years.

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Heart Surgery The Oregonian Katy Muldoon 2011 Beat Reporting

This three-part serial narrative follows a woman who, at 29 weeks pregnant, is run over by a car in a downtown crosswalk. A broken ankle is the least of her hit-and-run-caused problems. Doctors discover a huge clot lodged in her heart's tricuspid valve, threatening her and her unborn child. They disagree about when, how and whether to remove the clot, then, given her fragile state, puzzle out the best way to deliver a healthy child. The story illustrates, among other things, how physicians work through varying opinions during difficult cases.

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Luxembourg's Silenced Victims Conseil de Presse Luxembourg S309 Delphine Reuter 2011 Investigative (small)

In Luxembourg, there is no legal requirement for companies in the private sector to provide the working conditions to prevent psychological harassment ("harcèlement moral") from taking place. The article focuses on the Luxembourg financial sector, the Grand Duchy's main economic pillar, where since the start of the financial crisis and the consequent lay-offs, employees have been subjected to increasing pressure to deliver results, while job security has been considerably lowered. The story covers the legal and psychological issues surrounding Luxembourg's workplace policies.

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Profit and Neglect in Hospice Care Bloomberg News Peter Joseph Waldman 2011 Beat Reporting

The stories describe how hospice care in America, once a charitable cause, has been dominated by businesses that maximize profits by enrolling long-stay patients who aren't dying, scrimping on care and often neglecting patients at the most vulnerable period of their lives. The stories uncovered allegations of neglect and fraudulent behavior against the nation's biggest hospice providers, who receive 90% of their revenues from Medicare.

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Prescription for Abuse Noozhawk.com Staff, Lara Cooper, Giana Magnoli 2011 Investigative (small)

The misuse and abuse of prescription drugs have become an alarming trend in Santa Barbara County. Drug- and alcohol-related deaths nearly doubled in Santa Barbara County between 2005 and 2009, and records from the Coroner's Office show that it's no longer unusual to find in decedents' bodies as many as a dozen different prescription medications, in addition to cocaine, heroin or methamphetamines, and alcohol and marijuana. This article explored the drugs' availability and controls (or lack thereof); revealed a lack of regulatory oversight; helped calculate the cost to our community -- including the challenge of funding a comprehensive response in an era of severe budget distress; and told the personal stories of some of those whose lives have been caught in the middle. 

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Work by Melissa Burden The Detroit News Melissa Burden 2011 Beat Reporting

This business of healthcare beat focused on Michigan health systems and icluded stories about changes to the state's Medicaid funding, hospital hiring policies that discriminate against tobacco users, mandatory hospital employee flu shots and a cost-management plan that helped treat high-risk hospital employees with chronic medical conditions. 

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South Dakota Counselors Cry Foul in State "˜Takeover" by Mental Health Freelance Alison Knopf 2011 Investigative (small)

State employees with long histories in the state's alcohol and drug treatment division in South Dakota were quietly demoted and fired earlier this year, and replaced by state employees from the mental health side. This happened during the first half of 2011 when South Dakota's state agencies were reorganized under an executive order from Gov. Dennis Daugaard. This story covers the evolution in access to treatment for people with substance abuse disorders.

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Hospital Mergers and Competition Albany Times Union Cathleen F. Crowley 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories explore the dynamics between hospitals in the Capital Region of New York. One story looks at how competing cardiac programs improve quality of care for patients. Another story looks at how mergers tend to increase health care costs. Two more stories look at problems that occurred in the pediatric and maternity units after the merger. The merger was a major concern for local residents.

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Numerous Factors Cited to Explain Time-Lag Bias for Negative Trials Freelance Diana Steimle, Karienne Stovell, Lawrence H. Price, M.D. 2011 Investigative (small)

This story covers a meta-analysis of SRI clinical trials in children, which showed that studies with negative findings are often published with significant delay. The researchers state that this time-lag bias, while not exclusive to child psychiatry research, has the potential to alter perceptions of antidepressants' efficacy in children. Authors and other experts cite several factors as contributing to time-lag bias, from industry influence to journal editors' preferences.

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Explaining Cuts and Changes to State Health Programs Knoxville News Sentinel Kristi L Nelson, MS 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories sought to help readers understand the effects of changes to Tennessee state policies regarding its Medicaid program (TennCare) and other government programs. The reporter hoped to give context to these changes and allow readers to see how the changes would affect people in their own communities.

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Trauma Capacity in Doubt The Roanoke Times Sarah Bruyn Jones 2011 Investigative (small)

This story covered a shortage of specialized surgeons at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Southwest Virginia's only Level 1 Trauma center and the region's largest hospital. That shortage meant the hospital didn't have the right surgeons available to meet state requirements for maintaining its Level 1 trauma status.

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Room To Run Voice of OC Tracy Wood, David Washburn, Nick Gerda 2011 Investigative (small)

North Orange County, Calif., has an acute shortage of parks, playing fields and other safe open spaces while South Orange County has an abundance of wide open public areas and school yards. In just 50 years, Orange County went from orange groves and open fields to a divided county in which those who live in the north have few places where there is room for children to run. This series tells what happened, how children cope today and what's in store for the future.

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Elizabeth Simpson's 2011 Body of Work The Virginian-Pilot Elizabeth Simpson Earley 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories put a human face on the issue of faulty metal-on-metal hip replacements, explore what a peaceful death is using the reporter's father as example, reveal the impact of stingy Medicare/Medicaid payments on the mental health care and expose the phenomenon of ever-increasing deductibles on health insurance and the impact that has on consumers.

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Searching for the Right Recipe healthycal.org Heather Gilligan 2011 Public Health

Do food deserts exist? Can more supermarkets really help remedy higher rates of obesity in the poor? Surprisingly, some prominent national experts answer "no" to those questions, a perspective that gets little to no attention in media stories about food deserts. This story supplies evidence that suggests supermarkets are not a panacea for health disparities in poor neighborhoods, despite what fresh food financing advocates -- including Michelle Obama -- suggest.

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Betsy Q. Cliff's 2011 Body of Work The (Bend, Ore.) Bulletin Betsy Q. Cliff 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories expose a price disparity between two local medical clinics, revealed a suicide at a regional psychiatric hospital, disclosed threats posed by a hospital's shortcuts in instrument sterilization, and analyzed financial information and payroll expenses at the region's largest hospital system.

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Organ Donations: Can the Growing Demand for Organs be Met? CQ Researcher Barbara Mantel 2011 Public Health

More than 110,000 Americans are on organ transplant waiting lists, with 80 percent in need of a kidney in part because of rising incidences of obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Although states and hospitals have been working to increase organ donation rates with some success, demand for donated organs far exceeds supply. Some transplant advocates are proposing controversial measures such as rewarding donors with financial compensation, reserving young organs for young recipients and changing organ donation from the current opt-in system to one in which people not wishing to donate organs at death would have to opt out. This story reports that advances in bioengineering may eventually shrink the organ gap, allowing surgeons to transplant organs engineered from a patient's own stem cells. But for complex organs such as lungs and kidneys, that goal is probably decades away.

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Miracle Worker: Saving Haitians from Tuberculosis Ti Kay, Inc. Richard Steven Street, Mr. 2011 Public Health

This story covers Megan Coffee, M.D., who directs a team of volunteer doctors and Haitian and American nurses who care for HIV-positive TB patients in a country afflicted with the highest TB infection rate in the Western hemisphere. Here, 45 patients who would normally require medical regimens running many thousands of dollars in the United States are saved with a simple regimen of inexpensive, antibiotics administered over a six to eight month period in combination with food supplements and when necessary, HIV medications.

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Beat Reporting - Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times Anna Gorman 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories cover: the issue of dual eligibles -- patients who receive both Medicaid and Medicare -- and how their care has long been costly and uncoordinated; the effort by Los Angeles County to begin implementing health reform by expanding coverage to the uninsured; a night in of the nation's busiest safety net hospitals' ERs; and one young woman's battle with cancer and the health care system.

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Three Tribes, a Dam and a Diabetes Epidemic High Country News Lisa Jones, Stephanie Paige Ogburn, Paul VanDevelder 2011 Public Health

This story outlines how a government-funded dam flooded a Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa reservation in North Dakota, obliterating the reservation's only hospital and forcing families out of traditional agricultural lifestyles. The tribes, which reported no cases of diabetes in 1954, now face high obesity rates, and diabetes had increased 16 percent.

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Carrie Teegardin Beat Coverage The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Carrie Catherine Teegardin 2011 Beat Reporting

This entry includes stories from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Danger in our hospitals" series and its "Physician in Transition" series. The first series analyzed CMS patient safety data and discovered shortcomings in some highly-regarded Atlanta hospitals. The second series looked beyond the debate of the health care law and explained in detail the changes already occuring in the health care delivery system -- especially changes in how doctors practice medicine.

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A Tale of Two Asias South China Morning Post Yuk Hang Ng 2011 Public Health

This is a one-page feature on nutrition in Asia with a sidebar on breastfeeding in Hong Kong. Although Asia is getting wealthier, a lot of children remain undernourished and require governments' immediate action. This story explores the main nutritional threats that are becoming rampant in Asia as well as possible ways to tackle them.

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Beat Reporting in Springfield, Illinois The State Journal-Register Dean Robert Olsen 2011 Beat Reporting

Hospitals and doctors are major employers in Springfield, the capital of Illinois, and health care recently surpassed state government as the largest employer. In this entry, reporter Dean Robert Olsen covers the business side of health care as well as health policy at the state level, new technology, patient safety and scientific research. 

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Deadly Listeria Outbreak The Denver Post; denverpost.com Michael Booth, Jennifer Brown 2011 Public Health

This three-part series reports on the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in the U.S. in more than 80 years. Listeria killed 30 people and resulted in one miscarriage. The reporters investigated how food safety procedures could have let contaminated Colorado cantaloupes slip through the cracks.

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Health 411 Freelance Lisa Zamosky 2011 Beat Reporting

Each column answers two consumer health care questions. The pieces cover: limits of advance care directives, the search for medical prices, financial help to pay for COBRA when HIV , storing health information, health reform's impact on the low-income and uninsured, how to change a death certificate, medical groups imposing annual fees and whether states can opt out of health reform. Each column provides solutions to real-life problems readers face in accessing and paying for care/insurance coverage or the need to correct a mistake.

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WNYC Health Coverage WNYC -- New York Public Radio Fred Mogul 2011 Beat Reporting

This series focuses on how public health is affected by individual behavior, healthcare providers, government agencies, environmental factors, insurance and drug companies and other corporations. Recurring themes include: efforts to expand and improve primary care; to reduce the costs of Medicaid and deliver better care, particularly for those with complex health needs; to stabilize struggling hospitals and preserve the public health 'safety net'; to prevent and contain chronic and communicable disease; to implement federal health care policy on the New York metropolitan area, and more.

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The Dynamics of Sexual Acceleration Playboy Chris Sweeney 2011 Public Health

This story examined the debate over what constitutes the medical condition of "premature ejaculation" -- if it even exists -- and the role of the pharmaceutical industry's interest in selling drugs designed to give men more stamina.

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California Eliminates Adult Day Coverage for Medi-Cal Benficiaries Califronia Healthline David Gorn 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories cover the California Legislature's decision to eliminate the state's adult day health care program as a Medi-Cal benefit. That decision, coupled with the governor's veto of a proposed replacement program, prompted the state to devise a new way to deliver subsidized care for about 35,000 low-income Californians, many of them frail and elderly. The state's plan was challenged in court. A new, smaller statewide program was formed as part of a settlement of the lawsuit.

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Cancer Costs Put Treatments Out of Reach for Many Reuters Debra Lynne Sherman, Debra Sherman, Debra Sherman 2011 Public Health

The story looks at some of the new treatments for cancer but shows that fewer and fewer patients, even insured patients, can afford them. It also looks at the financial hardship the disease can cause, including bankruptcy.

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South Carolina Health Beat The Post and Courier Renee Dudley 2011 Beat Reporting

This beat helps readers understand health insurance, hospital growth, Medicaid bureaucracy and more. In "Treatment Denied," the reporter identifies a legal loophole denying men Medicaid coverage under a program that provides breast cancer treatment for the uninsured. The federal law excludes men based on their gender alone. "Hospital Wars" delves into the business of hospitals, helping readers understand what's behind the explosion of health care growth in the Charleston area. "Blue Cross wins big in repeal" exposes how Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina manipulated the state Legislature to guard its power. "'Proviso' keeping docs paid" examines a 2008 state law that shields doctors from Medicaid rate cuts, even as Medicaid patients face a variety of service reductions. The reporting shows that South Carolina is among the only states in the country where the Medicaid agency could not lower provider rates.

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Designer Drugs WebMD Daniel DeNoon 2011 Beat Reporting

This series covers legal highs available on the American market. The first news story was on research on the effects of bath salts. The second news story covered the decision of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to declare "bath salts" illegal. We also learned that by the middle of 2011, U.S. poison control centers had received 4,137 calls about bath salt "exposures," up from 303 such calls in 2010. The reporter revealed a multifaceted world of drug use, and that researchers are discovering medical uses for some of these compounds, though they do not encourage lay use of illicit and/or illegal drugs. WebMD warned that the products contained unknown, unlabeled, and potentially lethal amounts of dangerous compounds.

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Missouri World Trade Center Responders Still at Risk for Health Problems St. Louis Public Radio Veronique LaCapra 2011 Public Health

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, more than 50,000 rescue and recovery workers converged at the World Trade Center. Among them were the 62 members of Missouri's FEMA Urban Search and Rescue task force. The experience at ground zero made many workers sick, with health problems ranging from asthma to post-traumatic stress disorder. Although Missouri's search and rescue team spent only ten days at the World Trade Center site, this report found that some workers are still experiencing health problems a decade after 9/11.

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Seattle Process: Neighbors Diverge on a Diversion Facility Crosscut.com Judy Lightfoot 2011 Public Health

This story reports on the "Seattle Process," which colloquially refers to the amount of time it takes for the city to dither and stall its way toward launching a project of any complexity. In this particular instance, an emergency treatment facility for psychiatric and substance abuse patients was supported by a majority of residents in one Seattle neighborhood, but a minority of dissenters stalled the process, costing taxpayers more than $19,000 per day.

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Andrea Walker The Baltimore Sun Andrea Kristina Walker 2011 Beat Reporting

This beat explores both the business of health care and ethical issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. 

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Conditions, Health Risks Sicken Residents of Texas' Colonias -- and Red Tape Stands in the Way The Texas Tribune Emily Ramshaw 2011 Public Health

The Texas Tribune spent two weeks on the Texas-Mexico border to report on the health conditions among residents of the colonias, and the bureaucracy and red tape standing in the way of public health. This story reports that, despite decades of new laws and regulations aimed at improving the colonias, nearly 45,000 people still live in neighborhoods without running water, wastewater treatment, paved roads or solid waste disposal. Kids -- and their parents -- are often sick, and have few resources to get the care they need.

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Marshall Allen Entry ProPublica Marshall Allen 2011 Beat Reporting

In his 2011 beat, Allen probes the ongoing problem of injuries, infections and errors suffered by hospital patients; he investigates a scam-based CT scanning company that went out of business after his story was published; he reveals the importance of medical autopsies in determining cause of death and misdiagnoses; and he illustrates how one patient's postmortem autopsy prevented his wife from setting his body to rest.  

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Environmental Chemicals May Be Obstacle For Infertile Couples Environmental Health News and Scientific American Lindsey Konkel 2011 Public Health

In vitro fertilization can take repeated, costly attempts. Now scientists have found another potential obstacle for would-be parents. This story reports on new research that has turned up evidence of a link between endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment and poor in vitro fertilization outcomes.

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Medical Marijuana in New Jersey: A Crop of Problems The Star-Ledger Amy Jane Brittain 2011 Beat Reporting

This submission includes a series of investigative stories about the extensive problems plaguing New Jersey's medical marijuana program.

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Healthy Hillsborough The Tampa Tribune Daniela Velazquez 2011 Public Health

This project examines the environmental factors that can affect children from becoming healthy, quantifies some assumptions about the correlation between poverty and obesity by using body-mass index data from a local school district, and mapping these BMI rates with food deserts, fast-food restaurants, grocery stores and parks.

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Ecoli food poison The Oregonian Lynne Terry 2011 Public Health

This story is an explanatory piece of journalism, showing how E. coli has mutated from causing mysterious illnesses in Oregon to killing Germans and other Europeans in 2011. It shows the causes, including industrialized agriculture, and points to solutions.

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Richard Martin, Tampa Bay Times Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg Times) Richard Martin 2011 Beat Reporting

These four stories examine how health policy has impacted consumers' access to health care: how Florida's lack of facilities for vent patients results in lengthy hospital stays that ultimately cost taxpayers millions of dollars; how efforts to lower workers' compensation premiums in the state over the years may shortchange benefits for legitimate catastrophic claims; how putting off dental care because of insurance/economic reasons is now resulting in people needing more serious, expensive procedures; and how out-of-pocket health costs, which have risen from $3,634 in 2002 to $8,008 in 2011, impact the Tampa area.

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Cryptosporidium The Oregonian Scott Learn 2011 Public Health

The story demonstrated that the risk from cryptosporidium -- a protozoa that causes diarrhea -- are minimal in Portland's water system, though EPA rules were forcing Portland to spend up to $500 million to combat it.

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Noam Levey Beat Reporting Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau Noam Levey 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter Noam Levey's beat focuses on the Affordable Care Act and its implementation. These stories examine the implications of Texas' high rate of uninsured amid Gov. Rick Perry's insistence that his state didn't need federal health reform, how budget struggles jeapordize implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Illinois, Dr. Don Berwick's path-breaking work on delivering quality care under the Affordable Care Act, and how Los Angeles faces the challenges delivering healthcare to low-income patients, a key goal of federal health reform.

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Buzz Kill: How Does Alcohol Affect the Teenage Brain? Neurology Now Amy Kathryn Paturel, Mike Smolinsky 2011 Public Health

This story reports on the risks of teenage alcohol ingestion. Binge drinking not only increases the risk of fatal car accidents, irresponsible sexual behavior and acute alcohol poisoning, but it can also have long-term -- perhaps irreversible -- effects on the teenage brain. Adolescents can drink far more than adults before they get sleepy enough to stop. They are also less sensitive to certain post-intoxication "hangover" effects, which often help curb drinking in adults. What's more, the latest research suggests that binge drinking during adolescence could lead to premature memory loss.

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Christopher Weaver Kaiser Health News Christopher Weaver 2011 Beat Reporting

Christopher Weaver covered the managed-care and health services industries, with a focus on how insurers are moving to mitigate or profit from a changing regulatory and economic landscape. Insurers, struggling with a recession that bit into enrollment and a new health law that threatened to crimp profits, adopted new strategies: acquiring and operating physician practices, deploying technology to more parts of health care, and increasing their ties to more stable government payers, even as policymakers sought to limit the sway of large insurers and curb spending in Medicare and Medicaid.

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As diabetes expands, managing it takes on urgency The Virginian-Pilot Elizabeth Simpson Earley 2011 Public Health

A look at the factors contributing to diabetes, which include poverty, race and rural areas, and an interview with a nurse who helps people manage the disease in their own home.

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Michelle Andrews - Insuring Your Health Kaiser Health News Michelle Andrews 2011 Beat Reporting

"Insuring Your Health" is a weekly column dedicated to explaining to consumers how their health care is evolving given the upheaval caused by the 2010 federal health law and the changes in the health care and insurance industries. The four selected columns cover the lack of insurance coverage for infertility treatments, the decline in autopsies performed at hospitals, the effect of a health law provision setting standards for insurance companies' expenses and profits, and a small group of pediatricians that refuses to treat children whose parents don't want them vaccinated.

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Older Dementia Patients Left with Few Options The Virginian-Pilot Elizabeth Simpson Earley 2011 Public Health

A small hospital unit for geriatric mental health patients closed down at a local hospital. This could have been a 10-inch inside story, but an exploration of the shutdown showed a national trend through the eyes of the last patient on the unit. This story showed poor, older people with mental health related issues are growing in number but having a harder time finding care. Shrinking Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements are shutting them out of traditional care, leaving families trying to cobble together care for them through assisted living facilities and emergency room care. But those resources are shrinking as well because government insurance doesn't cover the cost of care.

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Business of Health Care St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jim Doyle 2011 Beat Reporting

This series covers KV Pharmaceutical's extraordinary pricing of pre-natal drug Makena, the merger of two giant pharmacy benefit managers -- Express Scripts and Medco -- and the tax-exempt status of St. Louis area non-profit hospitals.

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Julia Belluz - 'Science-ish' The Medical Post Julia Belluz 2011 Beat Reporting

"Science-ish" is a fact-checking and myth-busting blog focused on health evidence. Each week on Science-ish, reporter Julia Belluz presents evidence behind statements in the health-related headlines with the goal of improved health reporting and quality information about health-related issues. The submitted entries include: a blog post about the evidence behind a safe-injection site in Vancouver and harm-reduction strategies in the 'war on drugs', the evidence for home care versus hospital care, a how-to for readers about appraising and understanding different types of scientific evidence and a year-in-review about the most outrageous attacks on science in 2011.

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Kids' Health USA TODAY Liz Szabo 2011 Beat Reporting

Ths Kids' Health beat in USA TODAY focuses on children and adolescent health. Stories for this submission cover obesity-based and chemical impacts on girls' puberty, children's propensity toward developing chronic diseases once seen only in middle age, the impact of shaded play areas on skin cancer and childhood obesity, and how preventable diseases are making a come-back as parents skip or delay vaccinations for their kids.

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Hips Gone Bad The New York Times Barry Meier 2011 Public Health

This story uncovered and chronicled the widespread failure of one of the most commonly-used medical implants -- the artificial hips that are used in some 250,000 Americans annually. Using data from overseas implant registries and scientific studies, the reporter showed that a generation of widely-used hips known as "metal-on-metal" implants was failing soon after implant, crippling some patients in the process.

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Athlete's Pain The New York Times Gina Kolata 2011 Public Health

The stories explore procedures that are commonly used to diagnose and treat sports injuries. They report that there is little good evidence that they are effective, yet they are widely promoted and sold, often harming patients and costing the health care system -- and individuals-- millions of dollars.

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Sarah Okeson Beat Reporting - News-Leader News-Leader Sarah Okeson 2011 Beat Reporting

Stories submitted were about a suicide at a psychiatric facility and fungal infections among victims of the Joplin tornado. This was the first cluster of fungal infections among people injured in a tornado, and the CDC was called in to investigate. The state initially would not issue a health alert about the fungal infections despite a request by county health officials to do so.

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Small Fixes (series) The New York Times Donald McNeil Jr. 2011 Public Health

This story explores the many affordable and underpublicized interventions that can be delivered cheaply throughout the developing world. 

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CommonHealth Beat Reporting: Sexual Health WBUR-FM, Boston Public Radio Carey Goldberg, Rachel 2011 Beat Reporting

These four posts represent CommonHealth reporting on sexual health. The stories cover genital herpes risks, sexual activity after cancer, contemporary intrauterine devices and a phenomenon known as "sexual anorexia" -- bingeing and abstaining from sex.

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Feeling the Effects PBS WNET Emily Jean Senay, MD, MPH, Laura LeBlanc, Tom Casciato 2011 Public Health

This piece examines how a warming climate is already affecting human health, from making allergies worse to affecting the spread of infectious diseases and pushing the extremes of killer weather. It explores ways in which public health experts and city planners are beginning to prepare for the health threats resulting from our rapidly warming climate.

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Meredith Cohn Beat Reporting The Baltimore Sun Meredith Cohn 2011 Beat Reporting

The stories in this submission cover facial reconstruction surgery, prescription drug supply shortages, inmate health in Maryland penitentiaries and a Baltimore marathon participant who "died" and was revived after suffering a heart attack during the run. 

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Sickle Cell Trait: The Silent Killer Orlando Sentinel Iliana Limon, Rachel George, Shannon J. Owens 2011 Public Health

These stories documented the extent of the sickle-cell trait problem in sports; explored the lack of sickle-cell trait education, even among those who carry the trait; showed how college football culture leads to deaths related to sickle-cell trait; and examined the opposition to sickle-cell trait testing.

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Everything Under the Sun: Florida's Health Leaders Prefer Shade The Palm Beach Post Stacey Singer DeLoye 2011 Beat Reporting

These stories cover foibles made by Florida's health policy leaders. The first makes public information that Florida Gov. Rick Scott took steps to avoid a conflict with state ethics laws before taking office with an agenda of privatizing Medicaid and public hospitals and clinics; he quietly transferred the ownership of his urgent care chain to his wife. The second piece investigates why a local health agency pays millions for a 7-acre triangle of commercial land for a public nursing home, even though free public land had been offered. It reveals that the seller was the agency's own real estate agent, a developer who had longstanding family ties to several board members. The third story presents a physician's view on Florida Gov. Rick Scott's "retail medicine" urgent care chain. And the final story covers the firing of a health care compliance officer responsible for watching for fraud, waste and abuse. At issue: The security of internal email archives.

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Employee Wellness Proves Its Worth Freelance Jan Greene 2011 Public Health

Like every other industry, hospitals' and health systems' health benefits for employees are costing more every year. Further, health care workers tend to be less healthy than those in most other fields. This article looks at the costs and benefits of providing wellness plans to hospital employees, how to measure return on investment and which programs are most effective.

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Fact-Checking the Health Care Debate FactCheck.org Lori Robertson 2011 Beat Reporting

These four articles are representative of Lori Robertson's work throughout 2011 covering Lori FactCheck.org's health care beat. She fact-checked claims made by politicians and political groups about the federal and Massachusetts health care laws. Specifically, she covered the Massachusetts health care law signed by Gov. Mitt Romney as he emerged on the national political circuit.

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Stark Realities in Zambia Cancer Today Cynthia Ryan, Jessica Gorman 2011 Public Health

This story reveals the ways in which cervical cancer, a disease that is considered highly preventable and frequently curable in the United States, threatens the lives of more than 1,800 Zambian women each year. Traveling to Lusaka, Zambia to investigate the obstacles to early detection and accessible treatment of cervical cancer in the Southern African nation, the author describes a collaborative program between U.S. and Zambian physicians and laypersons to screen women in the context of existing resources and centuries-old traditions.

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Tom Blackwell Health Reporting National Post Tom Matthew Blackwell 2011 Beat Reporting

Tom Blackwell's reporting focuses on Canadian health issues. These stories cover Purdue's marketing of OxyContin in Canada, Dr. Paolo Zamboni's controversial theories about multiple sclerosis treatment, a lack of jobs for Canada's specialized physicians and the proliferation of Adderall and ADHD drug abuse on Canadian college campuses.

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Jane E. Allen's Beat Reporting ABC News Medical Unit Jane Elizabeth Allen 2011 Beat Reporting

Each of these stories puts a face or faces on a medical issue or health phenomenon: How four people survived gunshot wounds to the head and the aftermath of those wounds; chemical suicide as a fast, highly efficient way of ending one's life but also inadvertently endangering first responders; a GI's improble recovery of flexibility and mobility after suffering severe burns in an Iraqi IED explosion; and how the macho culture of firehouses makes it hard for stressed and depressed firefighters to get the help they need, which sometimes results in suicide. 

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U.S. Cancer Drug Shortage has Doctors Scrambling Reuters Debra Lynne Sherman, Julie Dee Steenhuysen 2011 Public Health

A shortage of cancer drugs emerged as a major health story in 2011, yet the problem remained under the radar for the first half of the year. With this story, Reuters was the first to take a comprehensive and critical look at the issue, putting it at the top of the country's health agenda and finding that cheaper generic chemotherapy drugs were particularly in short supply because drug makers have little incentive to make them.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the CDC: A Long, Tangled Tale UC Berkeley/also freelance David Tuller 2011 Beat Reporting

Reporter David Tuller has covered chronic fatigue syndrome for the New York Times and also posted an investigation of the CDC's program on chronic fatigue syndrome on Virology Blog. There is an abundant body of evidence -- from Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and other major research centers -- that chronic fatigue syndrome is an organic disease, or cluster of diseases, characterized by severe immunological and neurological dysfunctions as well as the frequent presence of multiple viral infections. Researchers, patients and advocacy organizations have criticized the CDC's chronic fatigue syndrome research program for multiple failings. Yet news organizations have given the agency a free ride on this issue -- largely because the illness remains so poorly understood. The reporter found that the agency has focused major resources on investigating purported psychiatric and trauma-reltated factors using flawed research methodologies while largely dismissing the idea that infectious agents are likely involved. These stories show that, as a result, progress on finding answers has been off-track for years.

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Prescription for Tragedy The Courier-Journal Laura Ungar, R. G Dunlop, Emily Hagedorn 2011 Public Health

This series covers prescription drug abuse in Kentucky, which has one of the nation's worst problems. In three installments, they looked at the growing problem in Kentucky and the lack of funding to fight it; the pain-pill pipeline from Florida to Kentucky that supplies most of Kentucky's pills; and the failure of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure to keep some rogue doctors from inappropriately prescribing narcotics. The stories showed that prescription drug abuse is tearing apart many Appalachian communities, that efforts in Florida to curb the pipeline have not stopped the flow of pills and that more needs to be done to keep rogue doctors from operating in Kentucky.

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Hospice Overbilling Orlando Sentinel Kate Santich 2011 Business (large)

A former executive at a large, popular nonprofit hospice came to the Sentinel with allegations of Medicare fraud. For this story, reporter Kate Santich obtained emails, letters and financial documents to show that the hospice had a pattern of keeping patients for much longer than the industry average and that it had been under scrutiny by federal auditors before suddenly discharging a large percentage of patients. Although the hospice's CEO, several board members and the hospice spokesman initially refused to talk, they did issue a statement the following day, which the Orlando Sentinel subsequently published. While investigating this particular hospice, Santich identified similar allegations against other hospices and hospice chains around the country.

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Why Your Food Isn't Safe Good Housekeeping Madeline Drexler 2011 Public Health

Each year, some 48 million people--one in six Americans--get sick from something they ate. Contaminated food sends 128,000 victims to the hospital, and it kills 3,000 children and adults. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies upwards of 1,000 disease outbreaks annually. But these proven epidemics don't reveal the full scope of the problem: Put simply, our government has failed to act, despite validated interventions that could curb this largely preventable epidemic. Drawing on victims' accounts and on researchers' expertise, "Why Your Food Isn't Safe" is an examination of lapses in the government's food safety net. Immediately after the article was published, two federal agencies responsible for different aspects of food safety announced positive changes recommended in the article that will better protect the consumer. 

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Patients Talk, Hospitals Listen The Detroit News Melissa Burden 2011 Business (large)

This story reports that hospitals in the Detroit area are paying much more attention to customer service, bringing in consultants, retraining employees and sending executives out on patient rounds to hear directly from patients about service their staffs provide. The movement to improve customer experiences in hospitals comes ahead of Medicare's October 2012 change of including patient satisfaction scores as part of reimbursements to hospitals. At stake is potentially several million dollars of funding for our larger health systems.

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Death by Infection CHCF Center for Health Reporting Deborah Schoch, Anita Creamer 2011 Public Health

California passed two strong laws to assure that if patients are infected during hospital stays, those hospitals must notify state regulators. The state, in turn, must provide data on these infections in public reports. But the state's first accounting, issued in December 2010, contained serious defects. Although the Legislature intended these reports to educate consumers, this one was based on what the state itself labeled unreliable data. The format was virtually impenetrable.

To find out why, CHCF teamed up with the Sacramento Bee to probe state oversight of hospital infections. The investigation revealed surveys that started late, hospitals that never reported, data from hundreds of hospitals so incomplete that the state never made the numbers public, quietly dumping them instead. Some hospitals' records had sat untouched in storage for more than a year, even as deadlines loomed. And as of 2011, the state was only just starting to write regulations required by laws passed in 2006 and 2008. At the same time, the state was warning consumers not to make much of the information. But this advice was flat-out wrong. In fact, Deborah Schoch concluded the data contained remarkable findings about the variability of hospital infections in California. And, as she discovered, this unevenness has deadly consequences. 

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The Cure -- Fast Company and Kaiser Health News Fast Company / Kaiser Health News Russ Mitchell 2011 Business (large)

Public hospitals across the US are in serious financial trouble. It was so bad for Alameda County Medical Center in Oakland, Ca. that the hospital was in serious danger of closing. The board brought in a new CEO from the outside: Wright Lassiter III. He did was nearly a dozen former CEOs there could not -- move the budget to a surplus. This story details how he did it -- not by firing people or laying them off (although some of this occurred) but by focusing the entire management and workforce of the hospital on finding ways to save money.

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The War Over Lipitor Fortune Katherine Eban 2011 Business (large)

This article reveals the troubled pathway to the largest launch in generic-drug history -- that of Lipitor in the U.S. market. It documents how the process unraveled and explores serious questions about who will make the cheaper form of Lipitor, whether the price will really drop and whether patients will be able to trust that the medication is safe.

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Drug Theft Goes Big Fortune Katherine Eban 2011 Business (large)

In this business piece, Fortune reporter Katherine Eban investigated the rising problem of organized criminal gangs in the U.S. stealing prescription medicine in increasingly audacious heists. 

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The Man Who Had HIV and Now Does Not New York Magazine Tina Rosenberg 2011 Public Health

This feature tells the story of the only person in the world (at the time of publication) who has been cured of HIV. Timothy Brown, a 45-year old inhabitant of San Francisco, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995. In 2007 he stopped taking antiretroviral medicine and has not resumed it -- and yet the most sensitive tests have not been able to find any trace of HIV anywhere in his body. Brown's cure -- because he had leukemia, he got a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a mutation that made him immune to HIV -- is obviously not the answer for everyone else. But his story has shocked AIDS researchers into resuming their long-abandoned search for a cure. And the news is good -- several trials are showing good results with methods that use the ideas behind Brown's cure in a way that might someday be available on a wide scale.

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The Survivor Forbes David Whelan 2011 Business (large)

Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor who has studied the health care industry, experienced a heart attack, cancer and a stroke in three years. This is the story of how he survived and what he learned. The story mixes oral histories from Christensen, his doctors, family and friends. It also provides analysis of the business of health care and recommends ways hospitals might raise the quality and lower the cost of care. The story ends with a discussion of Christensen's faith and its connection to his survival.

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Vaccine Rates Raise Risk Chicago Tribune Trine Kristin Tsouderos, Deborah L. Shelton, Joseph Germuska 2011 Public Health

Analyzing state vaccination data collected from 5,500 Illinois public and private schools, the reporters identified clusters of unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated schoolchildren across the state. The team took the data a step further by building a searchable database of vaccination rates for each school in the state along with a searchable map identifying pockets of children who had not been fully vaccinated. The story revealed that the number of schools with lower rates had increased in recent years, especially among schools serving large numbers of low-income children and private schools serving the affluent. See the database here.

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Firms to Charge Smokers, Obese More for Healthcare Reuters Jilian Mincer, Van Tsui 2011 Business (large)

Frustrated by rising healthcare costs, employers are threatening higher insurance costs for employees who don't adjust their risk behaviors, such as smoking or being overweight. This story reports that most wellness programs are ineffective and penalize individuals who can least afford higher premiums. The wellness programs may be well-intentioned, but the high premiums also most adversely affect the poor, who are the least likely to have easy access to fitness programs and nutritious fresh produce.

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The Power To Save Lives Forbes Matthew James Herper 2011 Public Health

This story presents a look at Bill Gates' involvement in transforming the way vaccines are given in the developing world -- and why his understanding of economics and business allowed him to accomplish what public health advocates and drug companies wouldn't.

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The Big Business of Breast Cancer Marie Claire Lea Goldman 2011 Business (large)

Marie Claire Features Director Lea Goldman spent three months analyzing the tax returns from hundreds of breast cancer non-profits to uncover all too frequent instances of conflicts of interest, wastefulness, even malfeasance. Goldman also investigated dozens of companies marketing pink products and found that, despite claims to the contrary, many weren't donating a cent to breast cancer research or awareness.

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The Heavy Burden Of Childhood Obesity WAMU Public Radio Kavitha Cardoza, Ginger Moored, Rebecca Blatt 2011 Public Health

This five-part series explores what has become a national epidemic, through voices of children who struggle with obesity.

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Exposing the Health Care Paradox: 2011 Columns by Wendell Potter iWatch News, The Center for Public Integrity Wendell Potter 2011 Business (large)

These commentaries take readers behind the scenes of how the powerful health insurance industry influences public policy in both Washington and state capitals. Reporter Wendell Potter draws upon nearly two decades of experience as an industry insider to explain how health insurers operate and how their everyday business practices have contributed to the most expensive health care system in the world and also one of the most inequitable. 

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Be the Change: Save a Life ABC News Dr. Richard Besser, Gitika Ahuja, Teri Whitcraft 2011 Public Health

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser documented how life-saving vaccines are bringing hope to the world's poorest countries. This report focuses on pneumonia vaccines in Kibera (Africa's largest slum), meningitis A in Burkina Faso, and polio virus in India.

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Arm To Arm: Lifesaving Journey WDIV-TV Sarah Mayberry, Dr. Frank McGeorge, Rob Sumbler 2011 Public Health

It's often said one blood donation can save up to three lives. But when you actually donate blood, there's no way to know where your blood goes or who it really helps. WDIV-TV wondered if would-be donors could see how much that donation really means -- would they be inspired to donate more often or to donate for the first time? The reporting team asked the Red Cross to do something it's never done before -- to allow cameras to follow a single blood donation from the donor to each of the recipients and through every single step along the way. It took more than a year of planning, shooting and production before the story reached viewers.

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Tackling Rising Health Care Costs WBUR Martha Bebinger, Margaret Evans 2011 Business (large)

Massachusetts created the template for expanding health care coverage. Now the state hopes to "crack the code" for controlling health care costs. This submission examines three attempts to address health care spending as they affect three key players: patients, doctors and insurers.

The first story profiles a seemingly simple act: giving physicians at one hospital a list of prices for 56 common tests and procedures. The story sparked a firestone among primary care physicians and specialists about the appropriate use of tests. The second story broke the news that the state's largest insurer would, for the first time, offer insurance that ties co-pays and deductibles to hospital prices. The difference between high and low cost hospitals would be $1,000 or more. These much cheaper plans have become the fastest growing type of coverage in Massachusetts, but they raise concerns for consumers. The third story looks at the move to global payments in Massachusetts from the patient's point of view. We hear from a patient whose case managers brought over a new vacuum cleaner, curtains and cleaning products. Another patient got money for her heating bill. Providers and politicians say global payments will change the definition of health care.

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Empty Cradles Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Staff 2011 Public Health

This story provides a solutions-oriented look at Milwaukee's infant mortality rates. Milwaukee ranks seventh worst among big cities when it comes to infant mortality. Black infants die at a rate about 2.5 times that of whites. In some neighborhoods, the rate rivals that of Third World countries. The reporters examined critical issues, from the science of stress and its affect on prematurity, the way America's health care system is structured and health literacy, among other issues.

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Out in the Open Modern Healthcare Melanie Anne Evans, Ms., Joe Carlson 2011 Business (large)

For the first time in national history, not-for-profit hospitals must now disclose charitable activities to the Internal Revenue Service and that disclosure is public record. Modern Healthcare reporters Joe Carlson and Melanie Evans analyzed roughly 1,800 not-for-profit hospital disclosures. The analysis found the median nonprofit hospital spent 1.52% of total expenses on free and discounted medical care for low-income patients. This previously unknown figure drove years of inquiries and Congressional hearings on not-for-profit hospitals' charitable spending. 

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White Elephants and Yellow Rain Stratus: Journal of Arts & Writing Ellen Karen Kurek, Sudoku Hibachi 2011 Public Health

The full extent and impact of the disaster at Fukushima that began in the Spring of 2011 remain obscure. This essay pieces key details of the Fukushima disaster into a coherent picture and places them in historical context with previous nuclear disasters at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. The essay traces the personal, human and environmental impacts of the Fukushima disaster and similar disasters on regional and global populations and examines the psychological, social, financial and political effects of these disasters.

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Robert Weisman Business Reporting Boston Globe Robert Weisman 2011 Business (large)

These stories track the final stage of the eight-month saga that delivered Genzyme Corp. -- anchor of the Cambridge, Mass., biotechnology cluster -- into the hands of pharmaceutical giant Sanofi SA. They also trace the arc of a drama that resulted in pioneering biotech legend Henri Termeer first fighting to preserve but ultimately turning over the company he built to an overseas suitor. They provide a behind-the-scenes look at how a deal that would change the face of the Massachusetts life sciences industry took shape.

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Feeling the Weight: The Emotional Battle to Control Kids' Diet The Seattle Times Maureen O'Hagan 2011 Public Health

This is the story of Nathan Stoltzfus, a 14-year-old who is overweight and struggling to cope. Reporter Maureen O'Hagan provides readers a window as Nathan confronts a typical day -- the pressures, the temptations, the cruel twist of having a twin brother who can eat anything and stay thin. Detailing the disconnect between well-meaning policy and family reality, O'Hagan's reporting on childhood obesity shows how millions of dollars in the state have gone to programs with little chance of succeeding. 

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the CDC: A Long, Tangled Tale Virology.ws -- Virology blog David Tuller 2011 Public Health

This story is an examination of the Centers for Disease Control's failed research program on chronic fatigue syndrome, with a major focus on the agency's flawed case definition, harmful epidemiologic approach and financial mismanagement. Non-CDC researchers, patients and advocacy organizations have long criticized the CDC's chronic fatigue syndrome research program for multiple failings. Yet news organizations have given the agency a free ride on this issue--largely because the illness remains so poorly understood. If this kind of dereliction were occurring in other program areas, it would likely have been exposed long ago. The story's findings: The agency has focused major resources on investigating purported psychiatric and trauma-reltated factors using flawed research methodologies while largely dismissing the idea that infectious agents are likely involved. As a result, progress on finding answers has been off-track for years.

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The State of Supplements The Salt Lake Tribune Staff 2011 Business (large)

This series examines Utah's nutritional supplements industry, which typically relies on multilevel marketing to sell its therapeutic fruit juices and other products. The team found that despite widespread support for the industry from political and economic leaders in Utah, some companies' health benefit claims are dubious at best and multilevel marketing in general builds wealth for a few on the backs of thousands who lose money.

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Why testing teens for STDs matters -- even if they lie theGrio.com/NBC News Tyeese Gaines 2011 Public Health

This is a reported op-ed related to racial biases in testing and counseling adolescents for sexually transmitted infections. A study presented in April 2011 showed that black adolescents were almost three times more likely to be questioned about their sexual history than white adolescents. Even when they denied having intercourse, black adolescents were still tested more frequently for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

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Cosmetic Surgery Series USA TODAY Jayne Ellen O'Donnell, Jayne O'Donnell 2011 Business (large)

The first part of this series chronicled the increase in doctors from other medical specialties branching into cosmetic surgery as their insurance reimbursements decline. The second part took a hard look at the board-certified plastic surgeons working at high-volume cosmetic surgery clinics where safety can take a back seat to profits. This entry showed how a public increasingly fixated on being trim and youthful leaves no shortage of patients for doctors with questionable credentials. 

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Betty Crocker, Coke, and CardioSmart at ACC 2011: If CV prevention gets a boost, does it matter who theheart.org Shelley Wood 2011 Trade Publications

This story explored corporate sponsorship of a new community heart-disease and prevention program established by the American College of Cardiology and in particular, the sponsors of a 'health fair' in New Orleans. Among the backers are Coke, Subway and General Mills, the company behind Betty Crocker Decadent Supreme cake mixes and Häagen-Dazs ice cream. The story asks the question -- if an underserved community learns more about obesity, cholesterol, and high blood pressure, does it matter who pays?

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Managed Care Enters The Exam Room As Insurers Buy Doctor Groups Kaiser Health News Christopher Weaver 2011 Business (large)

This story reports that insurers, struggling with a recession that bit into enrollment and a new health law that threatened to crimp profits, are trying to curb rising costs by acquiring and operating physician practices.

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Drugs, money, glory: Is cancer beating cardiovascular disease? theheart.org Shelley Wood 2011 Trade Publications

This series of three articles looked at the two biggest disease "killers" -- cancer and heart disease -- from three vantage points: new drugs in development, funding for research, and public profile/fundraising. Cancer far outstrips heart disease in all three areas. The story attempted to look at how drugs, money, and glory are intertwined and why the gains made in treating heart disease may soon fall behind cancer.

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Makena St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jim Doyle 2011 Business (large)

This front-page story is about KV Pharmaceutical's pricing of its pre-natal drug Makena. It kicked off a national controversy about the company's pricing and FDA approval of a drug for women with high-risk pregnancies.

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Social Media Confuses, Concerns Parents International Medical News Group Doug Brunk 2011 Trade Publications

This story explores the potential long-term effects of social media on the development and behavior of today's children and adolescents. Since social media have revolutionalized the way children learn about the world and communicate with each other, it's a question worth asking as this is unchartered territory.

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Next Big Drug Against Cholesterol Takes Shape Reuters Ransdell Pierson 2011 Business (large)

This story brings covers an emerging class of cholesterol drugs that have the potential to become new treatments for preventing heart attacks and stroke. Many of the world's largest drugmakers are racing to develop the medicines, which work by blocking a protein called PCSK9 that was virtually unknown a decade ago. Researchers in Montreal, Dallas and New York describe how they, working independently but sharing their findings with one another, zoned in on the obscure gene behind PCSK9 in the late 1990's and gradually deciphered its function. Senior drug executives, seizing on the findings of these researchers, describe the protein as one of the most interesting in the body and are testing drugs that block it and thereby lower cholesterol levels by 50 percent or more. French pharmaceuticals firm Sanofi and its U.S. partner, Regeneron, expect their injectable product to be one of the biggest successes in biotechnology, if no serious safety issues emerge in ongoing late-stage trials.

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Cancer Gene Patents Upheld by Court -- At Least for Now Medscape.com Roxanne Nelson 2011 Trade Publications

The story is an update of a federal appeals court ruling that overturned a lower-court decision that invalidated 7 patents related to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The controversial court case puts a spotlight on the question -- can human genes can be patented?

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Bill Gates: The Power To Save Lives Forbes Matthew James Herper 2011 Business (large)

This story presents a look at how Bill Gates' involvement in charitable giving transformed the way vaccines are given in the developing world -- and why his understanding of economics and business allowed him to accomplish what public health advocates and drug companies wouldn't.

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Infectious disease and the evolution of AIDS: 30 years since The Wyanoke Group: Specialty Medicine Whitney McKnight 2011 Trade Publications

This story looks at how HIV impacted the infectious disease community as a whole, including how it changed the specialty; how it forced doctors to confront their fears and prejudices; how it liberated some medical personnel to "come out"; how it created questions about treating the whole person rather than the disease; and how it impacted the way drugs are tested and approved in the US. The Point/Counterpoint accompanying the story explores whether the US is allocating resources appropriately for effectively managing the disease in all affected communities.

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Rural Hospitals Face Uncertain Futures Kaiser Health News Jenny Gold 2011 Business (large)

In two stories, KHN reporter Jenny Gold probes the finances of two rural hospitals -- one on the Arizona-Mexico border and another in Amite, Louisiana -- as each tries to cope with a rapidly-changing political and marketplace landscape. 

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Better Communication With Patients May Help Avoid Medical Malpractice Suits The Wyanoke Group: Specialty Medicine Whitney McKnight 2011 Trade Publications

This story reports on a symposium that was jointly coordinated by a cardiologist and a plaintiff's attorney who wanted to air as many voices as possible in the ongoing debate about medical malpractice. This was at a time when tens of millions in federal money is being spent to tackle malpractice. There were a lot of angry participants, some of whom accused others of creating the problem. The story focuses on how good communication and transparency--even when applied in counterintuitive ways--can help arrive at workable solutions to malpractice issues, and at relatively low costs. The story also cites data that prove empathy and communication do curb malpractice suits.

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It's (Still) the Economy Dermatology Times Dermatology Times editorial staff 2011 Business (small)

This news story explores the impact of the current economy on dermatologists' practices. What are dermatologists doing to keep their businesses strong? How are patients' changing attitudes toward healthcare affecting the bottom line for dermatologists? The story also examines the current state of reimbursement and how dermatologists are interacting with insurance companies to keep their practices going.

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Drug Shortages Predicted to Reach Record Levels Medscape.com Roxanne Nelson 2011 Trade Publications

This story reports that the United States is facing an unprecedented shortage of drugs, and anticancer agents have been particularly hard hit. Although the drug shortage has been ongoing for several years it is becoming progressively more acute. And more importantly: it shows no sign of abating. Urgently, curative agents are becoming increasingly unavailable.

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Living with Hypochondria: The Real Costs of Imagined Illness WFCR Public Radio Karen Brown 2011 Business (small)

Increasing focus on health care motivates some people to eat right, exercise, and stay in good medical shape. But others grow to fear everything that could possibly go wrong with their body -- and their resulting anxiety drives up the cost of health care for everyone. The half-hour radio documentary, "Living with Hypochondria: The Real Costs of Imagined Illness", explores the psychological underpinnings of healthcare anxiety, its economic consequences and what can be done to mitigate the problem.

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A Silver Lining Pharmaceutical Executive magazine Jennifer R. Ringler 2011 Trade Publications

Each year, Pharmaceutical Executive covers the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) Woman of the Year award. A Pharm Exec journalist interviews the HBA award winner and writes a feature that discusses her background, personal and professional development, and interest in health care. This is the 2011 story. 

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Improving Advocacy by Leaps and Bounds Pharmaceutical Executive magazine Jennifer R. Ringler 2011 Trade Publications

As part of the 30th anniversary of Pharmaceutical Executive magazine, this feature takes a look at the beginning of the patient advocacy movement, rooted in the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. From there, the piece explores how the increasingly influential voice of the patient in health care has changed the landscape, highlighting the work of the National Organization of Rare Disorders, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, and The International Cancer Advocacy Network.

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New Everett Hospital Tower is a $460 Million Gamble for Providence The Herald Sharon Salyer 2011 Business (small)

Providence Health & Services, a major West Coast health care organization, opened a new $460 million medical tower in 2011, its biggest-ever construction project. It was one of several health care organizations nationally making significant building investments in 2011. This story looked at the financial risks and potential benefits of such an investment.

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Battle Over Biosimilars Pharmaceutical Executive magazine Jill Wechsler 2011 Trade Publications

There is broad public enthusiasm for the development of "similar" versions of biotech drugs, which many payers and providers expect to be less costly than many high-priced brand-name therapies. The article describes the many technical and regulatory hurdles facing biosimilar developers, which will make these products more costly to produce and to obtain. The aim is to inform executives at pharmaceutical, biotech and generic drug companies of the complexities of the new policy and issues to consider in tackling this field.

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Invasion of the Body Hackers Financial Times April Dawn Dembosky 2011 Business (small)

Invasion of the Body Hackers traces a group of powerful Silicon Valley technology executives and engineers as they attempt to introduce computer programs and electronic devices they originally built to monitor and improve their own health into the mainstream consumer market. Through the stories of tech entrepreneurs and health experts, this piece explains this "self-tracking" health technology and how it works, while exploring the corporate uses, consumer benefits, and downfalls.

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Nurses' Strikes Costly for Hospitals Healthcare Finance News/MedTech Media Stephanie Bouchard 2011 Trade Publications

Nursing strikes happened frequently in 2011. This story looks at why they were happening and what costs -- financial and otherwise -- they have for the hospitals where they happen.

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What Does an Accountable Care Facility Look Like? freelance Lauren Phillips 2011 Business (small)

Accountable care, as defined by the ACA, is having a major impact on hospital facility planning and design. This story examines how hospitals and health systems will need to accelerate the migration of patients from the hospital into the lowest cost appropriate settings and emphasize primary care.

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Why Fake It? Freelance Alla Katsnelson 2011 Trade Publications

This story investigates an invasive placebo procedure -- called sham brain surgery -- in which researchers mimic the surgical intervention they are testing as closely as possible, putting the patient under general anesthesia, drilling a hole in the skull, and in some cases penetrating the white matter of the brain without actually delivering an intervention. Some neurologists say sham surgery is imperative to eliminate research bias, but others say the procedure is theatrical and potentially dangerous. A group of patient activists is going further, claiming that sham surgery is actually killing off valuable therapies. This story aimed to examine ideas and assumptions about the value of placebo controls as well as the kinds of risks patients are willing to take in participating in clinical trials.

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Leading a Value-Based Culture Freelance John Morrissey 2011 Business (small)

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act emphasizes new models of care delivery and payment, many hospitals are focusing on the fundamentals of reform -- cost containment, physician alignment and coordinated care -- rather than its formalities, such as forming an accountable care organization. This story profiled three hospitals that are attacking these challenges.

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Nutrition Analysis Software Can Open the Door to Professional Opportunities Journal of the American Dietetic Association Karen Stein 2011 Trade Publications

HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, includes a mandate that calorie information be posted at the point of purchase for vending machine snacks and standard menu items at certain types of restaurants. The articles discuss this mandate, how registered dietitians (RDs) can provide this nutrient data in a number of contexts and the nutrient calculation software programs available to aid in this endeavor.

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Make Mine Rare Freelance Megan Scudellari 2011 Business (small)

This article examines the influx of interest and money from big pharmaceutical companies, the government and small biotechs to find treatments for rare diseases. With recent advances demonstrating that developing drugs for rare diseases can be a profitable and sustainable endeavor, business is booming.

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Clinical Management Hospitals & Health Networks Geri Aston 2011 Trade Publications

Clinical Management is a regular series in Hospitals & Health Networks that examines specific disease or treatment areas. The series delves into the critical issues facing providers that manage these services lines and how they can improve care for patients.

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Diabetes by the Numbers Freelance William Lee Dubois 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story presents target ranges for diabetes' patients blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. and also contextualizes the dangers of falling outside those ranges.

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Smart Money Management Hospitals & Health Networks Howard Larkin 2011 Trade Publications

Hospitals are under immense pressure to cut costs and reduce waste. At the same time, there is growing scrutiny on the quality of care provided at hospitals. This article looks at how some hospitals are bringing their expenses under control as they prepare for major changes to the reimbursement model.

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Women Turn to Herbalists for Help South China Morning Post Yuk Hang Ng, Dickson Lee 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

More Hong Kong women are turning to Chinese medicine for help in getting pregnant. This is largely because women get married and have babies later in life. Chinese medicine provides an alternative to western-style IVF procedures, which are invasive and costly. This story explores the pros and cons of using Chinese medicine for fertility treatments, and informs readers of things they need to be aware of.

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Drug Shortage: Maybe Worst in 30 Years Hospitals & Health Networks Howard Larkin 2011 Trade Publications

Health care providers face what many experts say is the worst drug shortage in 30 years, including many life-saving medications. This report looks at the causes of that shortage, the impact its having on hospitals and what steps they can take to mitigate the problem.

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Raising the Stakes The Tampa Tribune Mary Shedden 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story asks the community to ask questions about charities before committing to charity races, which often fund private, nonprofit interests.

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Most Wired - 2011 Hospitals & Health Networks Matthew Weinstock, Suzanna Hoppszallern 2011 Trade Publications

Health care providers are racing to deploy health information technology as they try to capture Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments. But achieving so-called meaningful use isn't necessarily an easy task. Hospitals are struggling to automate certain practices. In this report on Hospitals & Health Networks' annual Most Wired survey -- where the team assesses how hospitals are adopting IT -- H&HN found that many are making steady progress in deploying new information systems but are struggling with some key meaningful use requirements.

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Hope On A Leash KMSP-TV Jeff Baillon, Bradley Swagger 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

The Okerstrom family has 3 young children. Two of them have autism. This story documents their efforts over 3 years to help their youngest son Kadin, break the chains of severe autism. After trying numerous treatments they found their greatest hope on a leash.

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After the Storm Modern Healthcare Paul G. Barr 2011 Trade Publications

The story, published the week after St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo. was destroyed by a tornado, described the operational and financial struggles its parent is likely to face in attempting to rebuild.

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A Girl's Guide to Plumbing Ladies' Home Journal Susan Crandell, Julie Bain 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story presents a fun, illustrated guide to women's urinary tracts and provides many useful facts about -- well -- pee.

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Battling Big Tobacco: Physician Activism Vital on Smoking's New Frontiers www.theheart.org Lisa Nainggolan 2011 Trade Publications

Global leaders in the fight against smoking stress that cardiologists and other physicians must become politically active to help counteract the immense power of the tobacco industry. Big tobacco aggressively targets women and children in emerging nations as their next smokers. This story explains why doctors must use their voices -- which have clout -- to stop this from happening.

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Fit to be a Mom? Fitness Magazine (att: Lisa Haney) Kristina Grish, Betty Wong, Lisa Haney 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

After receiving advice not to exercise while trying to conceive, reporter Kristina Grish began to wonder: "When did a good workout become a bad idea?" This story examines the potential effects physical activity might have on a woman's fertility.

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Despite Setbacks, Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine Trials March On Skin and Allergy News Neil Osterweil 2011 Trade Publications

The concept of therapeutic vaccines against cancer is tantalizing: Give the patient the right antigen, delivered with a suitable adjuvant, and you can train the immune system to recognize malignant cells as foreign. This story reports that not all cancers share the same targets, and marshaling the body's defenses against melanoma in particular is a good bit trickier than getting it to raise antibodies against polio or smallpox, investigators say. A history of setbacks proves it.

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A Rare Pair Philly.com Gloria Hochman 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

In this story, 19-year-old conjoined twins from south Jersey and their parents give their first-ever interview describing how the family copes and how the boys thrive as brothers, students and best friends. It is rare that conjoined twins live to this age -- Stefan and Tyler are only two of perhaps 20 (exact numbers are not known) throughout the world.

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Pressure on to Report Cancer Care Outcomes Oncology Times Lola Butcher, Serena Stockwell 2011 Trade Publications

Health policy is driving two strong trends that affect hospitals and physicians: the need to be transparent about quality of care provided and the growing demand for quality to be measured by outcomes, rather than processes. This story documents how a few cancer care institutions are beginning to report outcomes, such as five-year survival statistics for a given cancer type. It also discusses the potential problems with reporting and relying on outcome measurements. 

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Women on the Verge of a Drinking Problem Ladies' Home Journal Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Julie Bain 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story covers women's alcohol use -- focusing on how women really drink, what truly defines healthy moderation and how to balance the two. 

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Patient Safety and Conflicting Interests in Era of High-Profit Research Oncology Times Rabiya S. Tuma, PhD, Serena Stockwell 2011 Trade Publications

Each of the three stories, though technically independent articles, is focused on a different aspect of patient safety and conflicting interests in the era of high-profit research.

The first story reports on a study that found members of internal review boards, which exist to protect patients, often feel pressure from multiple allegiances. The topic is critical for patient safety and yet receives very little attention from academic research and even less attention in the media.

The second piece describes unexpected allegations in an on-going case of researcher misconduct. One of the government researchers looking into the work of Anil Potti at Duke University revealed to an Institute of Medicine committee that a whistleblower had contacted her with concerns that Potti had corrupted patient-level data. The government scientist also made clear that the Duke institutional review board had been alerted to potential problems early on, but did not act on the information.

The third article specifically raises the issue of institutional conflict of interest in the handling of Anil Potti's case at Duke. In a situation repeated at research institutions across the country, Duke held intellectual property rights to the researcher's work and stood to earn many millions of dollars if it succeeded. Yet the scientific community has hardly dealt with issues of institutional conflict of interest, focusing instead on individual conflicts. The article explains how such conflicts can put subtle pressure on community members, including institutional review board members. It also describes some specific evidence from Duke suggesting that conflicts may have clouded individuals' better judgment and compromised patient safety.

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A Breast Cancer You May Not Need to Treat MORE magazine Nancy Faye Smith 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

The cancer of the headline -- "The Breast Cancer You May Not Need to Treat" -- is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), and the story reports on the judgment of a growing number of researchers and physicians that many DCIS lesions should not be treated because of its benign nature.

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Finding an EHR Vendor: Mistakes are Costly, and Questions about Confidentiality Linger Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly Alison Knopf 2011 Trade Publications

Substance abuse treatment providers, like all health care providers, need to have electronic health records in order to be paid by Medicaid or health insurance exchanges under health care reform in 2014. But substance abuse treatment providers have a special problem -- they must comply with federal confidentiality regulations (42 CFR Part 2) that forbid giving information about patients treated for alcohol or drug abuse without the patient's consent, which must follow a specific format and be in writing. This story includes interviews with the top federal official from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which promulgates 42 CFR Part 2, as well as one of the biggest vendors, and to an official with the company that has a SAMHSA grant to help behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) providers implement EHR. The federal official and the vendor both pointed out that there are still many unanswered questions about how substance abuse providers implementing EHR will be able to comply with 42 CFR Part 2. The federal official additionally outlined the pitfalls of buying the wrong program, noting that one state spent $6 million on the wrong one.

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The New Power Brew Fitness Magazine Jenna Bergen, Betty Wong 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Responding to the boom in energy drink popularity, Fitness reporters investigated the claims made by the marketers. A few key findings in this story: Most of the vitamins, minerals and dietary supplement ingredients listed on energy drink labels are in quantities too low to have any benefit. The drinks often result in an energy crash (after the initial lift) and in weight gain when used over time. And super-caffeinated energy products don't just stimulate the brain, they actually keep it from detecting fatigue, so you don't realize how tired you are.

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The Changing Brain - Neuroplasticity: The wave of the neuroscience future Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior of the Alpert Medical School Laurence M. Hirshberg, Ph.D., Karienne Stovell, Gregory K. Fritz, M.D. 2011 Trade Publications

One of the most important neuroscience findings of the past 15 years is the recognition that the brain is constantly reorganizing its function, re-deploying available resources to meet life's demands for adaptation. New connections among neurons are formed, new patterns or networks of neural firing develop, and in some areas of the brain, new neurons are even developing. The name for this phenomenon is neuroplasticity, and it is the wave of the near future in mental health. Those who push the envelope in psychiatric, mental and behavioral health research and practice are now working to develop and sharpen tools to focus or direct this capacity to treat symptoms and disorders and improve mental and behavioral health. This article gives an overview of this research and clinical approaches.

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The Surprising Reason You're Always Tired Woman's Day Winnie Yu, Amy Brightfield, Barbara Brody 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Nearly 13 million people in the U.S. struggle with getting properly diagnosed for a thyroid disorder, most often hypothyroidism. This story explored the challenges and complexities of diagnosis and treatment.

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MLR Debate Stayed in Focus in 2011 SNL Financial Sean P. Carr 2011 Trade Publications

This story placed the medical loss ratio debate -- which has seen more heat than light -- in the context not only of political decisions, but business realities.

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The Heart Attack You're About to Have Freelance Lisa Collier Cool 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This 22-page special report on the #1 killer of women -- heart disease -- combines the latest research on early detection and screening, surprising risk factors, treatment, heart attack symptoms women often don't recognize, and action steps if you think you're having a heart attack. These points are illustrated with the stories of six women in their 40s who had unexpected -- and potentially preventable -- heart attacks.

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Virus Hunters: Catching Bugs in the Field Freelance Gayathri Vaidyanathan 2011 Trade Publications

Densely populated areas in rural China require constant vigilance and state-of-the-art technology to stop new pandemics in their tracks. Hurdles are not only scientific in some parts of the developing world. This story reports that though China has improved since the SARS pandemic in updating its virus detection system, there is a large gap between doctors and the lab that allows viruses to go undetected.

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Tales From the Heart: Inside the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center The Plain Dealer Staff 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This eight-day narrative told the story of incredible humanity and compassion in the midst of life-saving decision making during a single day at the Cleveland Clinic Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute.

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Risk Communication Analysis in Medical Sciences Medical Journalists' Association (Resident Member) - Italian Medical Press Ass (National Councillor) Massimo Cecaro 2011 Trade Publications

This paper shows how risk communication of public health issues may dramatically affect the public's perception and attitudes. Recent examples of mass media's distortions when treating public health issues are presented. Practical solutions to face risk communication in medical sciences are discussed in the light of the "One Medicine Approach".

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Deliciously Deadly The Seattle Times Maureen O'Hagan, Benjamin Benschneider 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This Sunday magazine story looks at what has changed since a 1993 E. Coli outbreak in Washington that sickened 500 and killed three -- called the "Pearl Harbor for the food game" -- and what has remained the same. This story warns consumers that they can't expect corporations or the government to protect them; they need to understand that the bugs are out there and learn what they can do about it.

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Health Exchange Regulations Prompt BH Field to Amplify Planning Efforts Wiley Valerie Ann Canady, Karienne Stovell 2011 Trade Publications

This story shows how the behavioral health community is becoming involved in helping states implement health insurance changes to ensure that consumers with behavioral health issues can access appropriate services. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that by Jan. 1, 2014, states establish health insurance exchanges for individuals and small businesses to shop for and purchase affordable health insurance. The field is mobilizing their efforts by sitting on state insurance task force and advisory boards. Sidebar information included two states, Maryland and Kansas, making important strides in developing health exchanges.

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The Scary New Migraine Mistake MORE magazine Peg Stephanie Rosen, Nancy Stedman 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This article explores why almost 20 per cent of the narcotics and barbiturates prescribed in this country are still being dispensed to relieve the pain of migraines, despite what is known about their addictive potential. It also covers the disabling cycle of addiction, increased migraine frequency and the need for ever more medication has destroyed lives and left many to suffer in secret.

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The Silent Organizational Pathology of Insidious Intimidation Theresa Zimmerman Consultants, LLC Theresa Zimmerman, RN, JD, Geri Amori, PhD 2011 Trade Publications

This story covers the problem of insidious intimidation in the health care industry. Insidious intimidation is subtle, intimidating and disruptive behavior made by employees at any level within the system -- from executives down to clerical staff.

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Brain Surgery The Oregonian Katy Muldoon 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This two-part narrative describes a family's confusing, frustrating months after they first noticed their infant was having nearly constant seizures. Doctors diagnosed rare infantile spasms, a form of epilepsy. Treatment after treatment failed, leaving the parents with what they believed was the only humane option, frightful as it sounded: allow a surgeon to remove half their son's brain.

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Antipsychotics and Brain Volume Reductions in Schizophrenia Patients Psychopharmacology Update Diana Steimle, Karienne Stovell, Lawrence H. Price, M.D. 2011 Trade Publications

This story reports on a longitudinal study of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans carried out among antipsychotic-treated patients with schizophrenia provides additional evidence supporting the view that antipsychotics are associated with reductions in grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) and that greater brain volume reductions are associated with longer antipsychotic treatment. 

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A Doc's Sense of Duty The Oregonian Richard Read 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This submission presents the story of a doctor who dedicated himself and his staff to saving his patients after the devastating Japan tsunami.

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A Lot of Blood in Kandahar SIGNAL Magazine George I. Seffers 2011 Trade Publications

Written for a technology magazine, the article balances a report of technologies used at the hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan, with an on-the-ground account of sacrifices made and wounds received by soldiers and civilians in the war zone.

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Bipolar Comes Out The Oregonian David Stabler 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

In this story, a man who long had struggled with bipolar disorder speaks out so that others may see the mentally ill in a different light.

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Not So Repealing: GOP Vote on Health Reform Unifies Democrats Best's News Service (at the time of publication) Sean P. Carr 2011 Trade Publications

This story reports on the Affordable Care Act and its impact on political allegiance. 

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Bloodless Surgery The Oregonian Tom Hallman 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story covers Portland's Legacy Health system, which is the nation's first large-scale, hospitalwide bloodless surgery program. Jehovah's Witness officials in New York City refer patients from around the world to the Portland program even though other hospitals around the country have started similar programs. The Legacy program -- started by a Jew and a Catholic -- is so well-known and established that thousands of Witnesses (who don't believe in blood transfusions) come to Portland each year from across the country as well as from overseas to undergo treatment.

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Reprocessing Used Pacemakers? University of Michigan Group Seeks Export Clearance The Gray Sheet David Filmore 2011 Trade Publications

This story documented an effort by an academic cardiology group to start a controversial program to obtain pacemakers that had been removed from deceased patients, clean and sterilize them, test for function and send them to hospitals overseas to be re-implanted in patients who may not otherwise have access to the expensive devices.

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Connecting the Dots CURE magazine Laura Beil 2011 Trade Publications

This story takes on the complex ties between environment and cancer to help make sense of often conflicting reports. Rather than provide readers with breaking news, this story aims to provide perspective to understand and decipher contradictory news on the environmental causes of cancer. The accompanying sidebar provides readers with questions to ask to evaluate research that they read in the news. Not only does the sidebar discuss the types of studies and results readers may encounter but also how to examine biases in studies as well as how the study may fit into the larger context of medical research.

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Who's Spiking Your Supplements Freelance Laura Jane Beil 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story examined the growing problem of supplements spiked with prescription drugs, many of them banned or totally untested.

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Why Do Men Die Earlier? Freelance Bridget Murray Law, Bridget Murray Law 2011 Trade Publications

This article took the social problem of men tending to ignore care of their health and showed how psychologists' research is revealing ways to help men take better care of themselves and extend their lives. Essentially, studies find that some traditional notions of masculinity portray concern about one's health as wimpy, but suggest that tapping into aspects of masculinity related to self-reliance and responsibility can get men into the doctor's office. Capitalizing on these findings could help to turn the tide of men avoiding health care and dying younger.

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Power Failure Freelance Megan Scudellari 2011 Trade Publications

This story covers Douglas Walker, a founder of the field of mitochondrial genetics, and his controverial mission to increase research on mitochondria -- the furnace of human cells -- and its role in common, complex diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's. 

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Do I have Cancer? Freelance Shannon Brownlee, Jeanne Lenzer 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is one of the most controversial tests in medicine. This story examines the source of the controversy and the history of how the test came to be widely used before it was validated, and the acrimonious debate it has triggered within the medical and patient advocacy communities. The story explains the trade-offs involved in the test and the downstream treatments to which it commonly leads.

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Home Birth Summit Opens Dialogue on Improving Care Medscape Medical News Yael Waknine 2011 Trade Publications

For the first time in US history, a cross-section of the maternity care system met last fall to discuss the controversial topic of home birth. The goal was reaching a consensus on recommendations for improving maternal and newborn care. This story reports on the Home Birth Consensus Summit, which was held at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Va., October 20 - 22, 2011, and involved a novel conglomeration of practitioners, consumers, insurers, lawyers, ethicists, administrators and policymakers, as well as researchers with expertise in epidemiology, public health, midwifery, obstetrics, pediatrics, nursing, sociology, medical anthropology, the law and health policy research. The organizers touted an apparent reconciliation between physicians and the homebirth community but there was no real resolution of differences.

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Dying In Your Sleep The Virginian-Pilot Elizabeth Simpson Earley 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story answers the questions: What do you die of when you die in your sleep, and is it as peaceful as everyone assumes?

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Psychopaths Among Us Reader's Digest Georgie Binks 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This is a story about the prevalance of psychopaths in the workplace as well in people's daily lives. It tells people how to pick out a psychopath and how to deal with one.

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Dentist to the Stars Sued for Suppressing Bad Reviews Online Forbes.com Gergana Koleva 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story reports on a Manhattan dentist who faces a class action lawsuit after a former patient alleges the confidentiality forms she asks patients to sign before receiving medical treatment are an unlawful attempt to suppress potential criticism. This case has significant implications for the First Amendment rights of patients.

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Nurse's Suicide Highlights Twin Tragedies of Medical Errors msnbc.com and TODAY.com JoNel Aleccia 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story explores the trauma that afflicts nurses, doctors and other highly skilled health workers in the aftermath of medical mistakes. It examines the little-known "second victims" of medical errors, the highly-skilled professionals whose momentary lapses in skill, attention or vigilance can have devastating effects, not only for their patients, but for the health workers themselves. Reporter JoNel Aleccia found that 92 percent of doctors surveyed reported near-miss medical mistakes and 57 percent admitted actual serious errors.

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Post-Market Safety Data On Silicone-Gel Breast Implants May Prompt Labeling Changes The Gray Sheet Sue Darcey 2011 Trade Publications

It was previously thought that the science behind silicone-gel breast implants has been refined to the point where a woman could receive the implants in her twenties, thirties or forties and expect to safely wear them (without replacement) through her lifetime. But follow-up trials and data collection required by FDA and gathered by the two U.S. manufacturers of the implants, have clarified that this isn't actually the case, and that in fact, many women will experience enough trouble with their breast implants, that they will have to return to their docs about once every 10 years, and perhaps need to get their implants replaced. This is problematic, since life expectancy for the average woman in the U.S. is over eighty! This story also uncovers that two firms required by FDA to conduct post-market research on breast implant recipients did not do their homework and were only able to track down 21% of the recipients for one type of implant and 45% for another. 

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Milk Banks Seek More Donor Milk for Babes in Need Freelance Arian Celeste Smedley 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

The demand for donated breast milk has always increased, as has supply. Last year, the Human Milk Banking Association of North America dispensed more than 1.8 million ounces, up from 400,000 ounces 10 years ago. But the association's president says milk banks are experiencing unusually low levels. They put out a call in early 2011 asking more mothers to donate so the banks can keep up with demand. Part of the demand is coming from hospitals, the other part is from parents. This story covers reasons for donating breastmilk and also explains the risks associated with informal sharing.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the CDC: A Long, Tangled Tale Virology.ws -- Virology blog DAVID TULLER 2011 Trade Publications

This story is an examination of the Centers for Disease Control's failed research program on chronic fatigue syndrome, with a major focus on the agency's flawed case definition, harmful epidemiologic approach and financial mismanagement. Non-CDC researchers, patients and advocacy organizations have long criticized the CDC's chronic fatigue syndrome research program for multiple failings. Yet news organizations have given the agency a free ride on this issue--largely because the illness remains so poorly understood. The upshot of the reporting: The agency has focused major resources on investigating purported psychiatric and trauma-reltated factors using flawed research methodologies while largely dismissing the idea that infectious agents are likely involved. As a result, progress on finding answers has been off-track for years.

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Punched Out The New York Times John Branch 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

On May 13, 2011, Derek Boogaard was found dead of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs and alcohol. He was 28. Boogaard, in his six seasons in the National Hockey League, had scored all of 3 goals. But then his job wasn't to score, or, in truth, even to play very much. His job was to fight. Nightly, and bare fisted. He did that job well. And at great cost. For this story, Reporter John Branch spent six months exploring the life and death of Derek Boogaard -- his childhood in rural Saskatchewan; his unlikely rise to the NHL; his fights and his injuries, his broken fingers and damaged brain, and the addiction to prescription drugs that helped kill him.

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Autism Grown Up The New York Times Amy Harmon 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This pair of stories chronicle the challenges of the first sizable generation to come of age with a diagnosis of autism. While much has been written about children with autism, little has explored the lives of young adults. This cohort, diagnosed earlier and having benefitted from growing awareness of the neurological condition, is better-equipped than their predecessors to live full and independent lives. But will they succeed? 

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Animal Testing: Crucial or Cruel? Scripps Howard News Service Lee Bowman 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Despite decades of effort to reduce use of animals in medical tests, the practice is still pervasive and widespread, with experiments ongoing in every state, and as divisive as ever. This story reports proponents and foes agree only that efforts to develop alternatives to animal models need to be expedited, but most changes are happening in public, not private, science.

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Amputees Proud to Wear Artificial Limbs ABC News Lara Salahi 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Two million amputees currently live in the U.S., according to the nonprofit Amputee Coalition, an advocacy group, and 570 people lose a limb each day. But rather than hiding prosthetic limbs, many amputees now embrace their circumstances and flaunt their new limbs, even if the new looks nothing like what an original limb looked like. Reporting on this story revealed that many amputees go through a grieving process for their limb much the same as if they had lost a member of their family. There is both a psychological and physical transformation that amputees undergo while choosing a prosthetic. This is one woman's story.

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Is Sitting Shortening Your Life? freelance Martica Heaner, PhD 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story covers the negative health effects of sitting -- including cardiovascular health, diabetes and even mortality.

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Buying Health Insurance for Children Freelance Lisa Zamosky, Lisa Zamosky 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story informed readers that the California open enrollment period for child-only health plans was underway and outlined details of laws guiding the plans, how parents can go about signing children up and important considerations in making a choice.

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How Ralph Steinman Raced to Develop a Cancer Vaccine -- And Save His Life Scientific American Katherine Harmon 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story is about Ralph Steinman, who is credited with discovering immune dendritic cells. He died just three days before he was announced as a 2011 Nobel Prizes recepient. But that was not the most remarkable thing about the timing of his death -- he had already outlived his pancreatic cancer prognosis by years, likely thanks to experimental treatments based on dendritic cells.

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Fade to Darkness: The Age of Alzheimer's WBUR-FM, Boston Public Radio Iris Adler, George Hicks 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

As the country's 78 million baby boomers turn 65, the age when Alzheimer's significantly increases, cases of Alzheimer's are expected to skyrocket. According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in eight baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's. This story provides substantive reporting on the state of Alzheimer's and explores how far Alzheimer's research has come, why so little progress has been made curing or preventing the disease and what the future of research holds. It also examines the state of funding for Alzheimer's and how America might respond to the increase in diagnoses in the coming decades. 

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Special Report: With Alzheimer's in the Genes, When Do You Test? Reuters Julie Dee Steenhuysen, Shannon Stapleton, Rick Wilking 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story studied the devastating consequences for one American family with a rare form of inherited Alzheimer's that can show up as early as age 40. 

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Mystery Disease The Wall Street Journal Amy Dockser Marcus 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

When researchers in late 2009 reported a possible link between chronic fatigue syndrome and the retrovirus known as XMRV, it opened a pandora's box of issues. Scientists and public health officials raced to understand the findings and determine what, if any, threat the virus posed to the public. Reporter Amy Dockser Marcus chronicled the flurry of scientific activity and emotion that the findings unleashed and the rising awareness of this puzzling disorder. This submission includes three serial pieces: "The Puzzle of Chronic Fatigue," the "War on a Mystery Disease" and "Wave of New Disabilities" -- all focused on varying aspects of chronic fatigue syndrome.

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The Silent Organizational Pathology of Insidious Intimidation Theresa Zimmerman Consultants, LLC Theresa Zimmerman, RN, JD, Geri Amori, PhD 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story covers the problem of insidious intimidation in the health care industry. Insidious intimidation is subtle, intimidating and disruptive behavior made by employees at any level within the system -- from executives down to clerical staff.

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Palliative Care Special Coverage WebMD WebMD 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

WebMD submitted three feature stories and a related blog from the Palliative Care Center, which WebMD launched in 2011 with more than 20 articles. Partnering with the Institute for Palliative Medicine, WebMD developed resources about palliative care, which focuses on improving life and providing comfort to people in need. The stories submitted include: "What Is Palliative Care?", "Pediatric Palliative Care: Easing Your Child's Suffering," "The Palliative Caregiver" and the blog "Palliative Care and Serious Illness."

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Anatomy of a Stroke ideastream Anne O'Brien Glausser, David Molpus 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Stroke is a serious -- and seriously misunderstood -- medical condition. It is the fourth leading cause of death and can cause serious disability. This audio story aims to explain, in a clear and playful manner, what exactly a stroke is and what you can do to avoid having one. 

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The Girl's Guide to Preventing, Avoiding, Treating, and Even Beating Cancer Marie Claire Ashley Brooke Ross, Sophia Banay Moura 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

In this cancer package, Marie Claire set out to break down a frightening topic into a guide that would inform rather than intimidate readers. The simplest approach was to identify the five most common cancers in women ages 20-40 -- the cancers our demographic would be likeliest to face in the near future. That list included breast cancer, thyroid cancer, melanoma, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer. More than 70 percent of women 20-40 who received cancer diagnoses in 2011 was afflicted with one of those five diseases. 

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Cancer Stories The Dallas Morning News Melissa T. Shultz 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

The Dallas Morning News submitted two service features. "Stop. Think. Talk." is a story about what to say -- and what not to say -- to a cancer patient. "Chemobrain" is about the little-reported effects of chemotherapy on memory and brain function.

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Prescription for Cancer SELF Magazine Roxanne Patel Shepelavy, Sara Austin, Lucy S. Danziger 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Thousands of American women last year reported using tanning beds on the recommendation of a doctor, for reasons as diverse -- and unproven -- as depression, vitamin D deficiency and muscle aches. But indoor tanning is a known carcinogen, greatly increasing a woman's risk for developing melanoma. This story delved into the reasons why physicians might expose their patients to cancer in order to treat such disparate ailments. It also showed the discrepancies and biases of vitamin D research, which is behind many of the health claims of indoor tanning.

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Wide Awake and Under the Knife SELF Magazine Sabrina Rubin Erdely, Sara Austin, Lucy S. Danziger 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

"Awake" surgery is a new and aggressively marketed cosmetic surgery, performed under local anesthesia, touted as the cheaper, smarter alternative to traditional surgery -- a procedure that not only puts the patient in control but also saves money. Sounds like a great deal, right? Except in reality, as reporter Sabrina Erdely's investigative article found, Awake procedures are a way for minimally trained surgeons to profit from dangerous operations that no hospital would allow them to do. Erdely explores this new frontier of cheap liposuction and breast implants --taking readers into a seedy medical realm of unlicensed practitioners, screaming patients, and unsterile operating rooms -- and examines the surgeries' true costs to patients. 

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Beyond the Bullet The Los Angeles Times Melissa Ann Healy, Ms. 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

In the wake of the January 8, 2011 shooting in Tucson, Ariz. that claimed six lives and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords grievously wounded, early coverage brushed quickly past her survival and focused on what appeared to be her remarkable recovery. Reporter Melissa Ann Healy quickly embarked on a series of articles and profiles designed to explore both survival and recovery from penetrating brain injury in greater depth and with less breathless optimism.

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Body Imaging Business Pushes Scans Many Don't Need -- Including Me ProPublica Marshall Allen 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Reporter Marshall Allen's investigation exposed a CT scanning company that was performing thousands of unnecessary procedures in five states without a doctor's prescription and without proper licensing. Regulators in two states shut the company down immediately after his inquiries. After the story came out, one state regulator fined the company $3.2 million and the Illinois Attorney General responded with a lawsuit on behalf of consumers. The company went out of business.

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Full Nets, Empty Oceans SELF Magazine Sara Austin, Lucy S. Danziger, Patricia Singer 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This article provides an overview of how overfishing affects readers' personal health, including the ecological balance of our waters, development of drug-resistant bacteria and the amount of pollutants and nutrients in the fish we eat. 

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Vaccines: What Today's Parents Should Know WebMD Staff 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This report is a comprehensive, interactive resource for parents seeking information on the vaccines recommended for their children.

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Saving Childhood USA TODAY Liz Szabo 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

"Saving Childhood" was a week-long series looking at ways that the very nature of childhood is changing: girls are entering early puberty; kids are developing chronic diseases in elementary school that were once seen only in middle age; and, for the first time in history, childhood has moved indoors, with kids spending little to no unsupervised time in nature. This story looks at how and why childhood is changing and what families and communities can do to help kids enjoy being kids.

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Two Families, One Heart WDIV-TV Sarah Mayberry, John Pompeo, Vanessa Ogletree 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

What do you say to the strangers who saved your child's life? Or to the child who has your child's heart beating in their chest? For the past six years, WDIV-TV has followed the story of Tommy Schomaker, a little boy who was born with a condition that left one side of his heart unable to pump blood. Two years ago, Tommy received a lifesaving heart transplant from a little girl in Minnesota named Audrey. This summer, Tommy and Audrey's families agreed to meet and share the experience of two families sharing one heart.

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Insuring Your Health Series Kaiser Health News Michelle Andrews 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

These weekly Insuring Your Health columns by Michelle Andrews cover a wide array of consumer concerns about the federal health overhaul, insurance and medical access. Four columns were submitted on: the dearth of insurance coverage for infertility treatments, the decline in autopsies performed at hospitals, the effect of a health law provision setting standards for insurance companies' expenses and profits and a rebellion among a small group of pediatricians who are refusing to treat children whose parents don't want them vaccinated.

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The Bedrest Myth Chicago Tribune Julie Deardorff, Heather Charles, Kevin Casey 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Although as many as 95 percent of obstetricians report having prescribed bed rest, experts say there's very little evidence that this does any good. It can come at a great physical, mental and financial cost to women. This report found women often don't know (and many don't care) that there's no evidence bed rest does any good and may even cause harm.

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Brain Waves Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Rob Rossi 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This one-day package looked at concussion protocol and treatment options for high school athletes in Pennsylvania. It examined how the standards of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (WPIAL) compared with those of other states, specifically high-school football hot beds including Ohio, Florida and Texas. This was followed over a period of two months by multiple stories that tracked the proposal and ultimate passage of Pennsylvania's first concussion mandate legislation for high-school and youth student athletes.

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The New Toxic Threats to Women's Health Glamour Melinda Wenner Moyer, Marina Khidekel, Cindi Leive 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This article breaks down the science behind endocrine-disrupting chemicals that lurk in products and foods we come in contact with every day and explains how these chemicals might affect fertility, health and weight. It also provides simple tips from experts on how to avoid these chemicals.

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Bill Gates: The Power To Save Lives Forbes Matthew James Herper 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story presents a look at how Bill Gates' involvement in charitable giving transformed the way vaccines are given in the developing world -- and why his understanding of economics and business allowed him to accomplish what public health advocates and drug companies wouldn't.

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The Secret That Kills 4 Women A Day Editor-at-Large, Glamour Liz Brody, Wendy Naugle, Cindi Leive 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Glamour's Tell Somebody campaign is an in-depth report on dating violence based on original research and real stories; the exact words that could help a friend -- and where to take her when she's ready for help; advice from a former abuser; a joint interview with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden -- their first in print since the inauguration; informational online videos with actresses Ashley Greene and Emma Stone; and a call to raise funds for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. 

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I Had the Cancer No One Talks About Freelance, REDBOOK Darci Picoult, Jill Herzig, Sunny Sea Gold 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

In this article, playwright Darci Picoult weaves a personal, revealing, and uplifting story about her diagnosis of vulvar cancer and subsequent major surgeries. The topic of vaginal and vulvar cancer is very rarely talked about in mass media, despite the fact that more than 7,000 women will likely be diagnosed with one of the diseases in 2012, according to the American Cancer Society. These cancers also appear to be on the rise, making it even more important to bring attention to this difficult topic right now.

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The Male-Female Pain Gap MORE magazine Alice Lesch Kelly 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Women experience more pain than men. But they are less likely to receive adequate pain treatment from doctors. This story looks at the reasons women's pain is inadequately treated and gives advice on how women in pain can get the care they need.

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Would You Get a Mommy Tuck? Freelance, REDBOOK Hallie Levine, Jill Herzig, Sunny Sea Gold 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Every year, more than 100,000 women get a tummy tuck -- a number that's risen 88 percent in the last decade. And millions more dream of the procedure: In a poll conducted on redbookmag.com, more than two-thirds of readers said they'd have a tuck if money weren't an issue. This story about tummy tucks includes before-and-after pictures showed the impressive tummy-flattening results of abdominoplasty and told the truth about the grisly bruising and swelling involved. Sidebars gave readers even more information, including a pre-surgery checklist and a sharp-eyed look at the celebrity culture that's fueled the procedure's popularity. Finally, REDBOOK offered readers a viable non-surgical alternative: exercises that can get results when dieting and regular crunches fail.

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Planning for the Late Effects of Cancer Treatment WHYY Public Radio Carolyn Beeler 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story profiles a long-time survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma, who describes the secondary cancers and other late effects of her cancer treatment. The personal narrative provides an entry point to define "late effects" of cancer treatment and discuss new methods for limiting, tracking and treating them.

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Super Athletes AARP The Magazine Gretchen Reynolds, Gabrielle Redford 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

"Super Athletes" tells the story behind the growing numbers of masters athletes (those age 35-plus) who are competing at an exceptionally high level, often beating out competitors half their age. It talks about what happens to muscles, cell mitochondria and lung capacity as we age; examines new research into whether the decline in athletic ability as we get older is due to age or some other factor; and answers these questions: Are high-performing older athletes physiological freaks? Or can anyone become an uber-athlete, at any age?

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What To Do When Your Doctor Doesn't Know AARP The Magazine Mary A. Fischer, Gabrielle Redford 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Millions of Americans suffer from misdiagnosed illnesses and some find themselves going from one doctor to another in search of the correct diagnosis. This story examines why misdiagnosis is so common, from mistakes in how doctors think, to overreliance on specialists and medical testing, to the human body itself (which has limited ways to communicate that something is wrong). The story then offers ways readers can steer their doctors in the right direction. Finally, the story includes a chart of the seven most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses, their symptoms, what they mimic and the tests that can be done to definitively diagnose your ailment.

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Fractured Freelance Susan Ince 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

This story takes a hard look at how osteoporosis is treated today and finds that while younger women are vastly over-screened, overdiagnosed and overtreated, older women are dangerously neglected. 

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Homeopathy: The Placebo Effect? Chicago Tribune Julie Deardorff, Nancy Stone, William Deshazer 2011 Consumer/Feature (large)

Few things rile scientific skeptics more than homeopathy, a baffling form of alternative medicine. Though some studies have reported positive findings, the practice has no scientific basis. In this story, The Chicago Tribune explains to consumers what homeopathy is (it's often confused with herbal treatments) and why supporters say it shouldn't be discounted just because it can't be explained.

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Stalking a Silent Killer