Category Archives: Core Topics

Wealth care or concierge medicine? Two-tiered medical care is a growing trend

Emily Willingham

About Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) is AHCJ's core topic leader on the social determinants of health. She is a science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and Forbes, among others, and co-author of "The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Guide to Your Child's First Four Years."

Hilton Head, N.C., might not be the first place that comes to mind when someone asks about social determinants of health. But obviously, behind the scenes of every rich sunset are the people who make the resorts run. And they need health care.

In Hilton Head, though, trouble is on the horizon in the form of concierge medicine, which threatens care access for people who can’t afford to pony up. Continue reading

Vox provides access to ER billing database for reporters

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.

Photo: Micheal J via Flickr

Over the past year, Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) at Vox has been collecting emergency department bills from around the country and has reported a number of stories based on them.

Her stories included a patient who went to an in-network ER and was still billed nearly $8,000 and a major ER that – at the time – didn’t participate in the networks of any private health insurers, resulting in unexpected bills.

Continue reading

Older women in New York City: Is a crisis coming?

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: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Older adults are New York City’s fastest growing population. There has been a 20 percent jump in the 65-and-over population since 2005 and the majority (60 percent) of New York’s 1.3 million older adults are women. And many of those women are struggling.

The New York City Council addressed this ongoing but, often unseen, crisis facing women as they age in a Jan. 23 hearing. Testimony by activists, experts and representatives from the NYC Department for the Aging and the Commission on Gender Equity, painted a vivid and disturbing picture of the many economic challenges facing older women in New York City. [A video of the hearing is here]. Continue reading

VA surgery database explanation available for medical research reporting

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

Surgery research can become complex very quickly: Not only are there the underlying conditions and demographics of each patient to consider, but also different characteristics particular to the procedure itself, the circumstances of the procedure, the institution and the providers doing the procedure.

If you frequently report on surgery studies, you may have covered a study that used data from the Veterans Affairs Surgical Quality Improvement Program (VASQIP).

Continue reading

Texas prisoners denied dentures; 3D printing might change that

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: Gary Thomson via Flickr

Over the course of the past year, more than two dozen Texas inmates contacted the Houston Chronicle with grim stories of their life behind bars —without teeth.

Some choked on their food. Others subsisted on pureed meals. They shared their medical records and their grievances. They told the newspaper that their pleas for dentures had gone unanswered by prison officials. Continue reading

Roxane Gay’s ‘Hunger’ a worthy, perhaps necessary, read for medical journalists

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Content note: This blog post mentions sexual assault.

I read (and write) nonfiction all day long, so most of my me-time pleasure reading is limited to fiction. I recently made an exception on a friend’s recommendation and listened to the audiobook of Roxane Gay’s “Hunger,” as read by the author (which was important and relevant given its content).

It was not an easy book to listen to, but I’m so glad that I did — both personally and for my work as a journalist. I think it’s a book every health journalist ought to consider reading if they are able. (My reason for saying “if they are able” will become apparent shortly.) Continue reading