Category Archives: Government

Oops! That ‘Open Door Forum’ won’t be off the record after all

Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president and chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

Reporters were taken aback on Monday when they received an invitation to a national phone call billed as an “Open Door Forum” – with instructions that remarks made on this public call would not be on the record.

After AHCJ inquired, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated that the call would, in fact, be on the record and that the off-the-record requirement was included by mistake. Continue reading

What does the partial government shutdown mean for older adults?

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: Pete Green via Flickr

The federal government has been in partial shutdown mode since Dec. 21 – meaning it’s been nearly a full month since a quarter of government agencies, including the Departments of State, Justice, Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior furloughed a combined 800,000 workers or asked them to work without pay. What began as a minor inconvenience for some is fast becoming a major concern for many seniors who rely on government support for food, shelter and medical care.

First, the good news: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will continue operating uninterrupted, Vox reported. However, they noted “new applicants for these programs might face a wait.” The VA will also continue to operate its hospitals and clinics. Continue reading

Newspaper’s suit over food stamp data headed to Supreme Court

Irene M. Wielawski

About Irene M. Wielawski

Irene M. Wielawski (@wielawski), an independent journalist based in New York, is a founder and former board member of AHCJ and serves on the organization’s Right to Know Committee.

Photo: Christopher Reilly via Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case brought eight years ago by a South Dakota newspaper asserting the public’s right to know how much taxpayer money goes to grocers and other retailers who participate in the federal food stamp program.

The Argus Leader of Sioux Falls won at the federal appellate court level last year, but a new challenge asserting the confidentiality of business records has pushed the case to the nation’s highest court. Continue reading

How are ACA’s quality measures affecting health care?

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

On a recent What the Health podcast, where I’m a frequent guest, we took some listeners’ questions. One was about what CMS does with all the data it collects on quality from health care facilities and providers – and whether there’s any evidence that the quality reporting actually improves outcomes for patients. Continue reading

More than 80 attend D.C. chapter’s eighth annual holiday party

Kimberly Leonard

About Kimberly Leonard

Kimberly Leonard (@leonardkl) is a member of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee and co-chair of the Washington, D.C., chapter. She covers Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services as a health care reporter for the Washington Examiner.

Photo: Phil GalewitzMore than 80 people attended the AHCJ D.C. chapter holiday party. There were reporters from Kaiser Health News, The Hill, The New York Times, Politico, Stat and many independent journalists.

The eighth annual holiday party for the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists hosted reporters alongside a record number of public affairs officials from government agencies.

About 20 spokespeople were in attendance, representing the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Indian Health Service, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Administration for Community Living, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Continue reading

Former CMS leader discusses vulnerable populations, drug pricing and a health journalist he admires

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.

Donald Berwick

Don Berwick is a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under President Obama. Berwick’s long résumé includes leadership positions at the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Institute of Medicine’s Governing Council, the IOM’s Global Health Board, and on President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry. He is president emeritus of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He also teaches at Harvard Medical School and is on staff at several major Massachusetts hospitals.

Prior to his keynote address on social determinants of health at the recent Institute for Healthcare Improvement conference in Orlando, Fla., Berwick sat with me to talk about some of today’s most pressing health care issues. [This interview has been edited for clarity and length.] Continue reading