Excerpt of the letter sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Click here to see the full letter.
AHCJ this week called on the new secretary of health and human services to hold frequent, open press conferences, and protested recent incidents at HHS that were deeply troubling to journalists.
In a letter Monday to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, AHCJ President Ivan Oransky congratulated the secretary on his appointment and expressed hope that reports Azar intends to foster transparency would prove true. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has decided not to extend the contract of the communications consultant who threatened to bar Modern Healthcare from press calls for refusing to alter a story.
The consultant, Brett O’Donnell, had sent a Jan. 24 email to a Modern Healthcare editor saying that “we will not be able to include your outlet in further press calls with CMS” if the publication did not change three sentences about the reasons for a CMS official’s resignation. That threat followed an email exchange the day before in which Virgil Dickson, the reporter who wrote the story, declined O’Donnell’s request to alter his account. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has promised Modern Healthcare that all of its reporters will have access to the agency’s telephone press conferences in the future, according to editor-in-chief Aurora Aguilar.
Aguilar said she received that assurance in a phone call from CMS on Monday, the day after Covering Health reported that a communications contractor with CMS had threatened to bar Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare’s Washington bureau chief, from press calls if he didn’t delete three sentences from a published story. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services threatened to ban a reporter from participating in the federal agency’s telephone news conferences after he refused to delete three sentences from a published story that apparently had rankled CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
The reporter — Virgil Dickson, Washington bureau chief for Modern Healthcare — believed the agency was making good on its threat on Thursday when, he said, his phone went mute during a CMS press call and a woman’s voice told him he was not allowed to participate. An editor later confirmed with CMS officials that he had been banned from press calls, Dickson said. Continue reading