Category Archives: Health data

Helpful info for journalists available about Society of Thoracic Surgeons database

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: stevenharman via Flickr

CNN has found itself caught up in a complicated libel case after an investigative story it ran in 2015 about the congenital cardiac surgery program at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. You can read an excellent summary and discussion of the whole mess in a CJR piece written by Trudy Lieberman a month after the original story went live. Continue reading

Tips for telling the stories of rural hospital closures

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.

Photo: Naoki Takano via Flickr

Bram Sable-Smith, who spent a year doing in-depth reporting on an endangered rural hospital in Pemiscot County, Mo., as part of an AHCJ Reporting Fellowship on Health Care Performance, did a tip sheet on how to report on the threat to rural hospitals, in the context of a wave of closures. Continue reading

New hospital inspection reports released: Database has more than 30,000 records

Jeff Porter

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.

HospitalInspections.orgFor more than five years, the Association of Health Care Journalists has been updating quarterly the website HospitalInspections.org, where the public can search and review hospital inspection reports.

With this month’s update, the database now includes 30,541 records of hospital inspection results, covering from January 2011 into June 2018. Most of the records include a detailed report on each deficiency found in hospitals. Continue reading

Report shows how hospital rating reports can meet patients’ needs more effectively

Joseph Burns

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.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched the Hospital Compare website to let consumers evaluate hospital performance based on a star-rating system. For those seeking to analyze hospitals’ overall scores, the site is useful but its one-size-fits-all approach limits how much patients can design searches to match their individual needs.

Now researchers at the Rand Corporation have built a tool called the Personalized Hospital Performance Report Card that allows users to review, customize, and compare hospitals across the United States and develop their own custom ratings based on their most important performance areas. Continue reading

Pre-existing conditions re-emerge: Find out who might be affected

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.

Photo: Ted Eytan via FlickrA sign from a 2017 rally in support of the ACA in Washington, D.C.

The latest anti-Affordable Care Act lawsuit from a score of conservative state attorneys general – partly backed by the U.S. Department of Justice – brings protections for people with pre-existing conditions squarely back into the political and policy forefront. (And you should expect this lawsuit and pre-existing condition protection to come up in the Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh in early September).

So how many people really do have pre-existing conditions who are vulnerable to losing coverage?  And where are they?

Continue reading

Checking conflicts of interest: If cutting corners, at least do it right

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: Hey Paul Studios via Flickr

Sometimes you have to learn things the hard way to get them right the next time – even when you already know better and shouldn’t have made that rookie mistake in the first place.

That’s what this post is about: My haste in covering a story I already know a lot about led me to omit a crucial piece of reporting – checking for potential conflicts of interest. I hope others will learn from my experience and use the resources I provide below to avoid the same mistake. Continue reading