Category Archives: Core Topics

What journalists should know about
a high-profile patient advocacy group

Patients for Patient Safety US logo

Patients for Patient Safety US. Image courtesy of PFPS US

A new patient advocacy group has been aggressively pushing policymakers in Washington to focus on patient safety.

The group, Patients For Patient Safety US (PFPS US), was founded in June 2021 by 10 experienced advocates who say government and industry have dropped the ball on efforts to make care safer. 

Threats such as the pandemic, health disparities and the opioid crisis “should not be competing with safety on the federal health agenda,” one of the founders, Martin Hatlie, told an audience at Health Journalism 2023.

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Growing momentum in prenatal tech
highlighted at national ob/gyn meeting

pregnant woman looking at tablet

Image by Freepik

Since the 1930s, prenatal care for pregnant people has looked essentially the same: a series of 12 to 14 in-person obstetrician visits delivered by a doctor or other health care provider in an office. With patients and health systems becoming increasingly complex, and with more people having access to smartphones and other technologies, the time is ripe to rethink the perinatal care model, panelists said at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in May. 

One panel focused on larger issues of technology while another discussed digital startup companies created for pregnant Black people and pregnant people of color. Here is a summary of their remarks, which could tip off journalists to interesting stories to pursue.

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Investigative journalist wins Pulitzer
for Mississippi series on Medicaid fraud

Reporter Anna Wolfe

Investigative journalist Anna Wolfe. Photo courtesy of Anna Wolfe

Investigative journalist Anna Wolfe has a secret. 

During a multi-year investigation into a sprawling scandal over misspent welfare funds in Mississippi, Wolfe received dozens of text messages that helped to blow the lid off the case. Since getting those messages last year, the award-winning reporter has protected her source’s anonymity. But in an interview with AHCJ, she promised to reveal the name someday — when the time is right. 

On May 8, Wolfe won a Pulitzer Prize in the local news category for Mississippi Today, a nonprofit news organization founded in 2016, for her coverage of what’s called the biggest public corruption scandal in the state’s history.

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Medicare announces coverage of costly Alzheimer’s medication. That could mean high premiums for beneficiaries

In the Alzheimer’s affected brain, abnormal levels of the beta-amyloid protein clump together to form plaques (seen in brown) that collect between neurons and disrupt cell function. Abnormal collections of the tau protein accumulate and form tangles (seen in blue) within neurons, harming synaptic communication between nerve cells. Image by National Institute on Aging, NIH via Flickr. Public domain photo

On June 1, Medicare officials announced plans to cover new FDA-approved drugs that may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would also require patients using the drugs to register for the purpose of gathering information on treatment results.

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Medication errors are common.
Here’s how to hold the system accountable

Medication errors hurt more hospitalized patients than any other mishap, including botched surgeries and health care-acquired infections. In long-term care, they have been found to be the second largest source of harm.

Even patients taking medications at home frequently make a mistake and miss a dose or take the wrong amount or drug. Not all medication errors cause serious harm, but some are fatal and many result in the need for costly additional care.

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