Mergers may transform health care as insurers encourage moving patients into lower cost sites of care

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

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

Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr

For decades, those who pay for health care have urged providers to move patients out of hospitals into lower cost settings such as home care and doctors’ offices.

That trend is accelerating today as seen in recent mergers involving insurers, pharmacies and providers. Continue reading

Dental chain in spotlight after child’s death, separate settlement in fraudulent billing case

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.

In Arizona, relatives of 2-year-old Zion Jay Gastelum are trying to find out why the toddler died after a recent dental appointment.

Zion’s parents took him to a Kool Smiles dental clinic on Dec. 16 for a crown and filling, according to an uncle, who spoke to KNXV-Phoenix.

“Somehow either during or after the process, it appears Zion stopped breathing,” reporter Mike Pelton noted in his Jan. 5 story. Continue reading

Family caregivers to get help if RAISE Act is signed

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: Brian Walker via Flickr

New bipartisan legislation to support family caregivers is on its way to President Trump for his signature. The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage Family Caregivers Act (RAISE) directs the Department of Health and Human Services secretary to develop and sustain a national strategy to recognize and support more than 40 million family caregivers in the United States. Continue reading

For radio reporter, a Health Journalism 2017 panel comes to life

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo courtesy of Avery Schneider, WBFOAvery Schneider, NPR member station WBFO’s lead health reporter, found useful inspiration in a Health Journalism 2017 panel on health disparities and costs. Months later, it led him to a barber shop in Western New York to report on how one program is targeting barber shops to expand access to cardiovascular health care.

In the midst of a conference, sometimes the story is hard to see – or hear.

But for one AHCJ member, Avery Schneider of Western New York’s WBFO, a panel discussion on the social determinants of health helped ignite a story idea months later when contacted about a new health program in the area. Continue reading

Lawsuit alleges Centene’s narrow networks led to surprise medical bills

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

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

Photo: Paul Sableman via FlickrCentene’s St. Louis-area headquarters.

Policyholders of St. Louis-based Centene allege in a new lawsuit that the health insurer’s narrow network system is overly restrictive and limits access to doctors in 15 states. One policyholder who served as a plaintiff in the suit said she received surprise medical bills for treatment from out-of-network doctors.

In Harvey v. Centene Corp., filed Jan. 11 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington State, policyholders Cynthia Harvey of Spokane, Wash., and Steven Milman of Travis County, Texas, said they bought their policies from Centene subsidiary companies. Continue reading