Primary care physicians find value-based payments fail to cover their costs

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

It’s hard to imagine any physician starting an online fundraising effort to keep her practice open. But for Michelle Mitchell, M.D., a solo physician who runs Hawaii Family Health, the business model for primary care in her state is unsustainable otherwise.

She wants to raise $250,000 via a GoFundMe page that explains many of the financial problems she and her 15-member staff face running a practice that serves 2,500 patients in Hilo, the capital of the Big Island.   Continue reading

Dive into a treasure trove of articles at The Open Notebook

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Writing about health and medical studies is part of the larger genre of writing about science. Perhaps the best science journalism site/blog out there is The Open Notebook, chock full of advice, tips, guides and inspiration.

We’ve highlighted their work here before, and now they’ve gone above and beyond with a special section aimed at new science journalists — though there’s plenty of gold there for veterans as well. Continue reading

Community supports may significantly lower hospital admissions and length of stay

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Steven Martin via Flickr

Investing in affordable housing that offers supportive social services to older adults on Medicare may help reduce hospital admissions and length of stay for inpatient hospital care, according to a recent study in Health Affairs.

When comparing a group of older Medicare beneficiaries in a Queens, N.Y. neighborhood who received community-based supportive services with a similar group who did not, researchers found that hospital discharge rates were 32 percent lower, hospital lengths of stay were reduced by one day and ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (ACSC) were 30 percent lower in the first “intervention” group. Continue reading

Are nutrition studies doomed, needing an overhaul — or doing just fine?

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Marco Verch via Flickr

Nutrition studies can be as frustrating to cover as they can be fascinating. That’s because of the maddening coffee-chocolate-wine quandary: One day a study says one of these treats is good for you and the next day another study says it isn’t.

Part of the problem is the incredible complexity and diversity of human bodies, genetics, environments, diets and even disease. Red wine might be great for one condition, but increase risks for another at the same time. Continue reading

Influenza virus in China remains potential pandemic threat

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Connie via Flickr

A strain of an influenza virus now circulating in China remains a potential pandemic threat while many gaps remain in preparing for such an event, a group of global health experts at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) warned last month.

The virus spreading in China, called H7N9 (flu virus names reflect their protein makeup) first emerged among poultry workers in 2013 and has sickened 1,567 people and killed 615. Continue reading

Passage of Dental Health Act a rare act of bipartisanship

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

The Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 has been described as a modest piece of legislation.

But supporters have also hailed the measure as a heartening acknowledgment by federal legislators of the need to respond to the long-unmet dental needs of millions of Americans. In a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress last week passed the legislation, which is headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. Continue reading