Category Archives: Patient safety

Geriatric EDs save money, improve outcomes — so why aren’t there more of them?

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.

Geriatric nurse takes care of an older woman as part of nursing follow-up in a geriatric center.

Photo: Banc d’Imatges Infermeres via Flickr

Millions of Medicare beneficiaries are admitted to the hospital each year because they cannot be safely discharged to go home. Such hospitalizations come with an increased risk of infection, falls, delirium, functional decline and death. They also come with increased costs to the patient, provider and payer. A recent study found a significant reduction in the total cost of care when these older adults were treated in a geriatric emergency care department instead of a more traditional ED.

According to the study published Marh 1 on JAMA Network Open, this specialized geriatric emergency care can lower Medicare expenditures by up to $3,200 per beneficiary. Yet, there are only about 200 specialized geriatric emergency departments in the U.S., according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which accredits geriatric EDs. So, if patients fare better and it costs less, why aren’t more hospitals establishing geriatric EDs? Continue reading

Journalism partners unveil National Science-Health-Environment Reporting Fellowships program for 2021-22

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.

National Science-Health-Environment Reporting FellowshipsJournalists interested in building careers reporting on science, health and the environment are eligible to apply for new cross-cutting fellowships designed to provide training, networking, mentoring, new sources and story ideas, while allowing them to stay at their jobs.

The National Science-Health-Environment Reporting Fellowships are a first-ever collaboration of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW), the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), and the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). The year-long fellowships are open to early-career journalists interested in covering any or all of the three fields.

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AHCJ’s annual conference rescheduled for October

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the director of education for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.

With safety as a top consideration, AHCJ has changed the dates for the world’s premier health journalism conference.

Health Journalism 2021 is scheduled for Oct. 28-31 in Austin, Texas. The downtown Hilton Austin will serve as the main conference site.

“We have been working closely with the hotel in Austin to secure these new dates for Health Journalism 2021,” said AHCJ Executive Director Andrew Smiley. Continue reading

Major COVID-19 vaccine ad campaign to roll out next week

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.

Dr. Anthony Fauci getting his vaccination.

Photo: NIAID via FlickrDr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, received his COVID-19 vaccination.

Journalists covering the COVID-19 vaccine rollout should watch out on Jan. 21 for the Ad Council’s unveiling of an advertising campaign to increase the public confidence getting vaccinated.

The nonprofit group, which led the advertising campaign to garner public support for the polio vaccine in the 1950s, plans to focus especially on communities of color, which polls show are skeptical of the vaccine. Continue reading

Series focuses on stressed rural hospitals that may need to close

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

empty-hospital

Photo: Naoki Takano via Flickr

Given all the concern about the failure of rural hospitals, it may seem counterintuitive that some hospitals in rural America may need to close. In multipart series for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, investigative news reporter Yamil Berard found last year that some rural hospitals in Georgia had serious deficiencies.

Those deficiencies included significantly low occupancy rates, stiff competition from other hospitals, dwindling populations in their service areas, poor management and faulty decision-making, she reported. Continue reading

New resources for covering the virus that’s changed our world

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.

COVID-backgrounder

Photo: Babette Plana via Flickr

What a year it’s been for health care journalism to shine.

On Jan. 5, 2020, the World Health Organization issued a press release announcing a pneumonia of “unknown-cause” was circulating in Wuhan, China. By mid-January, Chinese scientists identified the cause as a coronavirus, eventually dubbed SARS-CoV-2, and publicly shared the virus’s genetic sequence. The disease caused by the virus was named COVID-19. Continue reading