About AHCJ: General News

2018 AHCJ Reporting Fellows on Health Care Performance named Date: 11/27/17

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Association of Health Care Journalists has awarded AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance to five journalists who intend to pursue significant projects in 2018. The program, in its eighth year, is meant to help journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole.

The fellowship program, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, is intended to give experienced print, broadcast and online reporters an opportunity to concentrate on the performance of health care systems – or significant parts of those systems – locally, regionally or nationally. The fellows are able to examine policies, practices and outcomes, as well as the roles of various stakeholders.

The 2018 fellows will be:

  • Nick Budnick, reporter, Portland Tribune, Portland, Ore.
    Budnick will focus on the evolution of the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan in the age of Obamacare, including enrollment and system performance.

  • Kathleen Burge, independent journalist writing for CommonHealth/WBUR, Boston
    Burge will examine the growing specialty of palliative care and how cultural norms, provider training, treatment decisions and economics are all involved in seeking improved life in Americans’ final years, months and days.

  • Audrey Dutton, reporter, Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho
    Dutton will investigate the barriers to effective mental health treatment in rural Idaho and how lack of access is causing serious crises and deaths.

  • Benjamin Hardy, Arkansas Nonprofit News Network
    Hardy will examine Medicaid in Arkansas, with an emphasis on the costs and benefits of Arkansas Works — the state’s privatized approach to Medicaid expansion.

  • Kathleen McGrory, investigative reporter, Tampa Bay Times
    McGrory will examine Florida’s home health industry, both in terms of patient outcomes and Medicaid and Medicare fraud.

The fellows will continue in their current jobs during the coming year, but also receive customized training, mentoring and financial support for field reporting and conference and workshop attendance. With the support of the program, and their own news outlets, they are expected to complete significant and unique reporting projects by the end of 2018.

The Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing public understanding of health care issues. With about 1,500 members across the United States and around the globe, its mission is to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of health care reporting, writing and editing. The association and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism provide training, resources and a professional home for journalists. Offices are based at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable. The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. The Fund is based in New York City and has supported this fellowship program since it began.