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.

welcome-matPlease 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

Friday’s webcast focuses on older adults and COVID-19

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: Senior Guidance via Flickr

The COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe has been particularly fatal to older adults. Outbreaks in long-term care facilities like the one in Kirkland, Wash., drive home the extreme vulnerability of our nation’s elders.

The CDC’s March 28 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) looked specifically at severe outcomes in older adults from COVID-19. The first preliminary reports from China found fatality rate was highest among patients over 60, particularly among those with underlying conditions; the rate was as high as 27% for those 85 and older. Continue reading

Trump administration will pay to treat uninsured coronavirus patients

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: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

Recognizing that the potentially high cost of COVID-19-related hospital and physician care may cause the uninsured to forego care, the Trump administration announced Friday that it would use funds from a federal stimulus law to pay hospitals and physicians for treating those patients. In return for accepting Medicare rates in these cases, the hospitals and doctors would need to agree not to bill those patients, Stephanie Armour reported for The Wall Street Journal.

President Trump announced the plan during a daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the White House. The administration had been criticized when it said earlier that it would not open a special enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act for those who are uninsured or who lose their employer-sponsored coverage when they lose their jobs. Continue reading

AHCJ creates introductory membership for non-health journalists

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has announced a special, limited-time membership offer for non-health journalists suddenly thrust on the pandemic beat.

The six-month, half-priced membership will allow reporters, editors and news directors access to essential resources for covering the COVID-19 virus and understanding the medical science behind it. Continue reading

Officials ramp up warnings to delay most dental procedures

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.

Photo: Marco Verch via Flickr

In carefully worded directives intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 and conserve protective equipment, government health officials are urging U.S. dental clinics to postpone most procedures.

Without personal protective equipment (PPE), even routine oral health services can easily expose workers and patients to transmission of a variety disease. Providers and patients are face-to-face; instruments used in the procedures generate droplets containing water, saliva, blood and microorganisms, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes in new infection control guidelines for providing dental care during the COVID-19 emergency. But patients who have or may have COVID-19 present additional risks, according to the agency. Continue reading

Uncovering fresh angles for your COVID-19 coverage

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.

clinic closed

Photo: Deborah Crowe

The long-term ripple effects on Americans’ health from the nation’s focus on COVID-19 and strategies for eventually ending social distancing are among several under-covered stories that deserve attention.

For example, reporters looking for fresh angles could talk to local physicians about surgeries and regular health screenings — such as colonoscopies and cardiac stress tests — that aren’t being performed for safety reasons or because resources have been diverted to fighting the pandemic. What will this mean for the nation’s health care system in the long term? Continue reading