Author Archives: Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark

About Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark (@CherClarHealth) is AHCJ's core topic leader for patient safety, a MedPage Today contributor and inewsource.org investigative journalist. For most of 27 years, she covered medicine and science for the San Diego Union-Tribune. After taking a buyout in 2008, she became senior quality editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Reporter discusses search for ‘vent farm’ patient’s identity

Joanne Faryon

Joanne Faryon

It’s not a good idea to try to do anything else while listening to Joanne Faryon’s podcast about “Sixty-Six Garage,” a man who went unidentified in a San Diego “vent farm,” aka skilled nursing facility, for 15 years. Her gripping oral recount of how she quit her job in 2015 and spent her own money and resources to find out who he was and how he ended up this way, attached to ventilators and unable to speak or move, is chilling.

The story of “Garage” represents also another angle on the story of immigration, and how the vehicle accident just north of the California/Mexico border resulted, possibly, because he was being chased by a border agent’s helicopter. Continue reading

New rule allows Medicare reimbursement to ambulatory surgery centers for knee replacements, stents

Knee replacement surgeries and stenting procedures will now be reimbursed in free-standing ambulatory surgery centers for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries as of Jan. 1 under a new rule finalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Friday.

The controversial policy shift will mean hundreds, if not tens of thousands, of older patients will now have these complex procedures in a facility not attached to a hospital, and will go home the same day. Continue reading

Veteran reporter offers tips to keep yourself safe covering wildfires

Photo: Lance Cheung/USDA via Flickr

So you’re working away — perhaps at home — on a story about vaping or high prescription costs or results from a new clinical trial, not paying much attention to the news. All of a sudden your editor calls to tell you that winds have stoked a grass fire that’s now raging and headed your way. Your editor wants you to jump on it. All the other reporters are out covering other blazes or emergencies.

But you’re a health reporter, not a fire reporter! What do you know about covering this stuff? And oh, by the way, an hour later, you learn you’re going to have to evacuate your family and precious belongings from your own home as well. Continue reading

Advocate talks about progress on patient safety, offers story ideas

Lisa McGiffert

Lisa McGiffert is best known by journalist, health provider organizations and regulatory agencies, as the former director of the Consumers Union Safe Patient Project, an effort sponsored by Consumer Reports magazine.

In my years of reporting on health, she always seemed to know exactly what was going on in my state regarding quality of care improvement efforts.  If she didn’t, she knew who I should call. Continue reading

CMS proposal would make knee replacements, stents reimbursable at ambulatory surgery centers

Who reads Medicare rules?

Nobody, right?

They’re long, boring, hard to read because of the small type in narrow columns and they’re full of repetition and jargon.

But just in case you have a sleepless night, I recommend pulling up proposed or final rules for an IPPS, (inpatient prospective payment system) or an OPPS (outpatient prospective payment system) or a PFS (physician fee schedule), for starters. Continue reading

Quality data on ambulatory surgery centers and hospital outpatient services available

As my colleague Joyce Frieden reported for MedPage Today on Tuesday, in 2020, reporters will be able to compare the quality of some hospital outpatient departments and some ambulatory surgical centers for the first time, using metrics that are somewhat similar to those used to check up on hospital quality.

After all, some 60% of surgical procedures today are performed in an outpatient setting, so patients have a right to know what policies and procedures the facility uses to safeguard against errors and complications. Continue reading