Author Archives: Pia Christensen

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.

Covering preparedness, hurricanes and other natural disasters

Photo: Eric Hackathorn via Flickr

Residents of Texas will be dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey for a long time to come. Journalists will remain on the scene to tell the stories of what happened and the people whose lives have been changed.

For those in other parts of the country, this is a good time to cover disaster preparedness in your community. The report “Ready or Not? 2016” from the Trust for America’s Health measured health preparedness on a state-by-state basis and found that 26 states and Washington, D.C., scored a six or lower on 10 key indicators. Continue reading

2017 AHCJ-National Library of Medicine fellows selected

Six journalists have been named to this year’s class of AHCJ-National Library of Medicine fellows. The fellowship program was created to increase reporters’ access and understanding of the considerable resources available at NLM and the National Institutes of Health.

Their visit to the NIH campus, scheduled for the week of Sept. 24, will include hands-on workshops about how to use and get the most from several government research databases, such as PubMed, MedlinePlus, ClinicalTrials.gov and ToxNet. Fellows also will meet with senior NLM and NIH researchers and officials for exclusive informational sessions.

Read more about the fellows.

Freelancers share best practices, top tools

In April, several experienced independent journalists shared their advice for having a successful freelance career during a panel at Health Journalism 2017 in Orlando. People in the audience chimed in with contributions.

“Panelists offered dozens of helpful tips and plenty of sound advice — including several ideas that were new to even the most experienced freelancers in the room,” wrote Liz Seegert, AHCJ’s core topic leader on aging and an independent journalist.

Seegert and Tara Haelle, AHCJ’s medical studies core topic leader, compiled an extensive tip sheet from the information shared at that panel especially for AHCJ’s freelance members. See the tip sheet.

Breaking down the revised BCRA and the Graham-Cassidy alternative plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the Senate’s revised Better Care Reconciliation Act on Thursday. The major change was incorporating demands from Sen. Ted Cruz to allow insurers to offer less expensive plans that have less robust coverage. It also would allow people to pay premiums using money in health savings accounts. And it allocates $45 billion to opioid addiction treatment.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsay Graham and Sen. Bill Cassidy were on CNN talking about their alternative to the plan, which would keep many of the federal taxes and send that money to the states to spend as they see fit. The plan would keep in place the essential benefits of the ACA and would continue to protect people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage. Continue reading

CBO releases score for Senate’s health care bill

The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Senate’s health care plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), on Monday afternoon.

This came hours after Senate Republicans released a revised version of the bill that adds a provision to penalize people who let their insurance coverage lapse for an extended period. People who let their health insurance lapse for longer than 63 days but then wanted to re-enroll would have to wait six months. The CBO score does take that revision into account in its analysis.

The CBO found that, if this legislation were to be enacted, it would: Continue reading