Despite violation records, nursing homes seek liability waivers during pandemic

Joseph Burns Liz Seegert

About Joseph Burns and Liz Seegert

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. Liz Seegert (@lseegert), based in New York City, is AHCJ’s topic leader on aging.

NursingHomeLiability

Photo: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

Despite a recent GAO report detailing persistent infection control violations at nursing homes throughout the United States, many states are waiving liability for these facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, at least 20 states have issued executive orders or enacted legislation temporarily absolving long-term care and assisted living facilities unless “gross negligence” or “willful misconduct” can be proven. Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and served for nearly 20 years in daily journalism.

Please welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ.

All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves. Continue reading

Getting the most from webinars on COVID-19 and the coronavirus

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.

Audio signatureBetween social distancing guidelines and the fact that a global pandemic truly does impact the entire world, webinars and online press briefings about COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus are plentiful.

Many are incredibly helpful for veteran health/science reporters who are familiar with infectious disease reporting and for the many reporters who may not previously have reported on infectious disease or medical research and to bone up quickly. Continue reading

Good time to keep careful track of freelance payments

Carolyn Crist

About Carolyn Crist

Carolyn Crist (@cristcarolyn) helps AHCJ’s freelance members find the resources, tips and contacts they need to create and run a successful business. A freelance journalist and author, Crist covers health, medicine and science stories for national news outlets such as Reuters, Runner’s World and Parade. She also writes for trade and custom publications. Contact her at carolyn@healthjournalism.org.

Keep track of freelance payments right nowFor some of AHCJ’s freelancers, payment issues were already a hassle before 2020. Now they may be even more difficult, depending on the publication or editor. In several writer groups online, fellow freelancers have cheered for a surge in work but also bemoaned payment hiccups. Individual situations vary, of course, but a few common threads have appeared.

To start, freelancers should know that nonpayment is unacceptable. If work has been completed, it’s illegal to withhold payment. The Freelancers Union and The Freelancer have written about this and offer options, and the Freelance Isn’t Free Act may be useful for those in New York City. Continue reading

Webcast: Understanding the path to a COVID-19 vaccine

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: U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

The race to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is picking up speed with early promising results from initial studies, and President Trump predicting there will be “hundreds of millions of doses” of vaccine by the end of 2020.

Journalists have reported on these early results, as well as Trump’s comments, which may leave the public with a misunderstanding about the process of vaccine development. Continue reading

Does the study you are covering look at quality of life?

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: Steven Damron via Flickr

In reviewing an email of recently published articles at JAMA Surgery, I was pleased to see two pieces in particular. The first was a systematic review of quality-of-life outcomes in surgical versus non-surgical treatment for breast cancer. The other was a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial for appendicitis that looked at quality of life and patient satisfaction seven years after patients received either antibiotic therapy or an appendectomy.

I was glad to see these because the entire focus of both studies is on quality of life, an outcome neglected for far too long in medical research. More studies are focusing on quality of life, but still not enough. In fact, I would argue that every single study done on interventions for a medical issue should include at least some sort of secondary endpoint related to quality of life that is separate from cataloging adverse events. Continue reading