Use caution when reporting on pandemic potential of Wuhan coronavirus

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: Let Ideas Compete via Flickr Wearing medical masks to help prevent disease is common throughout China and the rest of Asia.

The novel coronavirus from China that had infected at least 634 people as of early today has led some media to report about the potential of a pandemic.

Reporters localizing the story for their audiences should be able to answer these questions: When does an infectious disease outbreak become a pandemic, and is it likely with this virus? How worried should Americans be? Continue reading

Robot power can improve mobility in seniors

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: UTHealthUTHealth’s Shuo-Hsiu (James) Chang, PT, Ph.D., center, and CCNY’s Hao Su, Ph.D., are testing a mobility device for seniors.

A new line of wearable robotics could keep seniors on their feet a lot longer.

Think of it as a lightweight version of the armor that comic book hero Tony Stark dons as Iron Man when he fights villains. What we’re talking about are exoskeletons.

A prototype developed at City University of New York (CCNY) and tested at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) fared well in a pilot study of people with walking difficulties. Continue reading

Reporter looks at how diseases of poverty flourish in the U.S.

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: Bill Rix via Flickr

Neglected tropical diseases, a group of parasitic, bacterial and viral infectious diseases that primarily affect the poorest countries in the world, also can spread in some of the most impoverished communities in the United States.

Vice News reporter Arielle Duhaime-Ross brought attention to this little known fact in “Scientists think Alabama’s sewage problem has caused a tropical parasite. The state has done little about it,” which won the National Association of Science Writers’ 2019 Science in Society Journalism Award. Continue reading

Report shows health insurers are failing to comply with mental health parity laws

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.

Source: “Addiction and Mental Health vs. Physical Health: Widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement,” Milliman, November 2019.In a recent report on the level of parity between care for patients with mental health versus physical health conditions, actuaries from Milliman reported which states (shown in white and light blue) have the highest rates of parity and which states have the lowest rates (darker and deep blue). One of the strengths of the report is that it has data on parity for each state.

A recent report indicates that health insurers are failing to comply with mental health parity laws for people with employer-sponsored health coverage and their families.

In the report, “Addiction and Mental Health vs. Physical Health: Widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement,” actuaries from the consulting firm Milliman document wide disparities in access to behavioral health care services for employees, family members and retirees with health insurance through an employer.

The report shows that disparities between physical and behavioral health care for both in-network access and provider reimbursement rates are making it harder for Americans to find affordable and available mental health care and addiction treatment. Continue reading

Reporter uncovers ‘painful mistakes’ in one state’s handling of dentist errors

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.

Arthur Kane

Arthur Kane

Over five months, Arthur Kane, an investigative reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, immersed himself in the workings of the Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners.

Kane combed through state audits and internal documents and delved into the stories of patients who were left suffering by dentists who were allowed to keep practicing. He weighed troubling allegations raised by a local dental society. In October, he emerged with a six-part series, “Painful Mistakes.” Continue reading

Welcome the newest members of AHCJ

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