#AHCJ2010 early coverage roundup

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Apart from the announcement of the FDA’s infusion pump regulation push, the biggest appearances out of Health Journalism 2010 in Chicago this week have been U.S. Department of of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Landon Hall, of The Orange County Register, covered the Sebelius and Frieden appearances for AHCJ.

sebelius2010At Health Journalism 2010, Kathleen Sebelius talked about implementing health care reform. (Photo: Pia Christensen)

Reuters’ Debra Sherman also covered both presentations.

Sebelius focused on insurers, especially those who deny coverage to those with a legal write to it, Sherman wrote. According to Sherman, “Sebelius… said to expect ‘hand-to-hand combat’ if insurers try to ‘drive patients out of plans.'”

Working from a broader perspective, New America Foundation’s Joanne Kenen wrote about how insurance fit into Sebelius’ larger task of implementing recently passed health care reform measures.

In his presentation, Frieden focused on smoking, which he called the leading preventable cause of death. Reuter’s Sherman again:

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that after years of steady declines in the nation’s smoking rates, progress has stalled over the last few years and that the agency was renewing its focus.

He said government stimulus funds would be used to increase anti-smoking efforts. He said the CDC would encourage states to implement anti-smoking strategies, such as education and media campaigns, smoke-free laws and higher cigarette prices.

In other AHCJ 2010 news, Dallas Morning News reporter Robert Garrett wrote that a “siege mentality was very much on display when a trio of hospital executives spoke this morning at an Association of Health Care Journalists conflab in Chicago.”

“We’re all scared to death by health care reform,” said Advocate Health Care president and CEO Jim Skogsbergh, who runs 13 hospitals in Illinois. “We know we’re going to get paid less.”

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