Tips for finding great interview subjects on social media 

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Editors often want people with lived experience in stories. The question is, where to find them? I spoke with four freelance reporters about their experience using social media to find “real” people to interview. 

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AHCJ’s new patient safety core topic leader is veteran health care reporter

Mary Chris Jaklevic

Mary Chris Jaklevic, a Chicago-based independent health care journalist with nearly 30 years of experience, has joined AHCJ as its new patient safety core topic leader.

The former AHCJ board member will build upon the solid patient safety content produced by Kerry Dooley Young, who served in the role from May 2021-October 2022.

Jaklevic, who grew up near Detroit and moved to Chicago in 1994, has covered health care finance, clinical care and medical research for both expert and consumer audiences. She says her awareness of patient safety issues expanded when she worked at Healthnewsreview.org, where she and her team discovered that only 37% of news stories adequately addressed the harms of medical interventions such as drugs and devices. That’s when she decided to focus more of her reporting on this important topic.

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Journalists expose significant problems with Medicare Advantage plans

Majority report from US Senate Finance Committee finds seniors subject to marketing scams from health insurers.

Seniors signing up for Medicare Advantage (MA) during open enrollment (which ends Dec. 7) have more reasons to worry now that reporters at Kaiser Health News, MedPage Today and elsewhere have continued to uncover significant problems with these private managed care plans. 

During open enrollment, reporters have a responsibility to explain the problems seniors may face with MA plans and to warn them about deceptive marketing practices.

And health care journalists should ask officials at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) why it sets higher rates for health insurance brokers selling MA plans than the rates it sets for brokers to register seniors in Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap) plans that might be more appropriate for their needs.  Continue reading

6 prescription digital therapeutics story angles to explore

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The news that Highmark, a Pittsburgh-based large commercial insurer, plans to expand its coverage of several prescription digital therapeutics cleared by the FDA made headlines recently in STAT, Fierce Healthcare and other outlets. The payer is not the first to cover some prescription digital therapeutics (PDTs) but it is the first to announce it intends to pay for claims for the use of some apps and other technologies that help treat psychiatric disorders and other complex conditions.

With digital therapeutics expected to be a $56 billion global opportunity by 2025 (according to Insider Intelligence), there are multiple avenues for stories for journalists to explore (see list at end).

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Lessons learned from reporting on sex trafficking survivor stories

Sandy West

When reporter Sandy West took on an assignment to cover a Texas program that offers comprehensive mental and physical health services to survivors of sex trafficking who identify as men, she quickly delved into a topic she didn’t know much about. In a recent interview, West, an independent reporter based in Houston, talked about how she prepared for the story and things reporters should keep in mind when talking to people who share memories of difficult experiences. Her story was published in September in The Imprint.

This discussion has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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