Category Archives: Patient safety

Hefty issue of HealthBeat headed for mailboxes

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.

HealthBeatThe latest issue of HealthBeat is expected to be delivered to members of the Association of Health Care Journalists any day now.

In this issue, we highlight some of our best advice and resources for covering the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, from keeping nursing home residents safe to debunking conspiracy theories (and doesn’t it seem as if there’s a new one each week?)

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Community transmission rate key to K-12 school reopening

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

school busAs school leaders and parents grapple with questions about school reopening this fall, a key measure to consider is the community transmission rate of COVID-19, say two educators and an infectious disease specialist.

When states and cities are reporting that more than 5% of COVID-19 tests are positive, the transmission rate is high enough that schools could become hot spots for community outbreaks, they said. Continue reading

In writing about whether schools will open for in-person classes, check case counts in kids

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.

Photo: BES Photos via Flickr

As you write about the continuing back and forth over the how and when — and if — it will be safe to reopen schools for on-site classes next month, journalists might ask these questions:

  • What do case counts in children and teens look like in your area?
  • Are they growing every day?
  • If so, how fast?
  • Are the children symptomatic?
  • And are their teachers, administrators, family members and friends getting sick?

In California, for example, case counts among those 17 and younger have been climbing, from 1.3% of the state’s case counts on April 7 (222) to 3.4% on May 7 (2,181) to 8.3% as of Saturday (July 11), (26,652). Continue reading

Problems found in initial federal data on COVID-19 in nursing homes

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.

Photo: The National Guard via Flickr

When Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, announced June 4 that she and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were unveiling COVID-19 data for all the nation’s nursing homes that get federal payment, I thought, “Wow!”

These days, how states are reporting their nursing home COVID cases is varied and random. So this new “unprecedented” federal dataset, “constitutes the backbone of a national COVID-19 virus surveillance system,” Verma said. Continue reading

Despite violation records, nursing homes seek liability waivers during pandemic

Joseph Burns Liz Seegert

About Joseph Burns and Liz Seegert

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. Liz Seegert (@lseegert), based in New York City, is AHCJ’s topic leader on aging.

NursingHomeLiability

Photo: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

Despite a recent GAO report detailing persistent infection control violations at nursing homes throughout the United States, many states are waiving liability for these facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, at least 20 states have issued executive orders or enacted legislation temporarily absolving long-term care and assisted living facilities unless “gross negligence” or “willful misconduct” can be proven. Continue reading

Freelance reporter reveals challenges in Georgia’s inmate health care

Carolyn Crist

About Carolyn Crist

Carolyn Crist (@cristcarolyn) helps AHCJ’s freelance members find the resources, tips and contacts they need to create and run a successful business. A freelance journalist and author, Crist covers health, medicine and science stories for national news outlets such as Reuters, Runner’s World and Parade. She also writes for trade and custom publications. Contact her at carolyn@healthjournalism.org.

Max Blau

Max Blau

For more than a year, Atlanta-based freelance journalist and AHCJ member Max Blau investigated the troublesome health care delivery in jails across his state.

He filed records requests, conducted tough interviews and weaved together a series about his findings — all while reporting and writing other stories at the same time to pay his bills. Continue reading