Category Archives: Public records

Reporter shares tips on how to get good data despite privacy laws

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.

Annie Waldman

Privacy laws, such as HIPAA, are the bane of health journalism. No matter how fervently you wish to preserve patient privacy, the legal protections often stand between you and a great story.

Unless you know the ways around them.

ProPublica’s Annie Waldman is an expert in overcoming or sidestepping privacy barriers. Continue reading

On the health beat, public records can be a lifeline

Michael Morisy

About Michael Morisy

Michael Morisy is the founder of MuckRock, a non-profit that works for a more informed democracy. He was previously an editor at the Boston Globe and contributed to the New York Daily News' Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the deadly health conditions of Ground Zero workers.

In honor of Sunshine Week, AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters. Here is the last of four.

MuckRock, a nonprofit that assists journalists, newsrooms, and others requesting public information, has helped thousands of reporters file public records requests all across America, digging out information from federal agencies and local inspection boards alike.

Time and again, public records break essential stories and shine light on dangerous lapses — but only if someone knows to ask.

Here are some tips on using freedom of information laws to get great stories while juggling everything else you need to get done. Continue reading

New tools aim to help journalists track removal of information from federal websites

Rachel Bergman

About Rachel Bergman

Rachel Bergman is co-founder and director of programs of the Sunlight Foundation's Web Integrity Project where she leads the research and monitoring of federal agency websites.

In honor of Sunshine Week, AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters. Here is the third of four.

Government websites are changing the information they supply related to topics such as sexual orientation and women’s health, and the Web Integrity Project (WIP) at The Sunlight Foundation, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., has been on a mission to track those changes. Continue reading

A week of instruction and inspiration on getting all the facts

Sabriya Rice

About Sabriya Rice

Sabriya Rice (@sabriyarice) is the business of health care reporter for the Dallas Morning News. She’s an AHCJ board member and vice chair of the association’s Right to Know committee.

It’s Sunshine Week!

This annual celebration of access to public information offers seven days packed with panel discussions, workshops and special reporting efforts, organized by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee, which also advocates for transparency and access to information, is joining this year’s celebration with a weeklong series of blog posts to bolster your efforts to get the facts. Continue reading

CMS threatens to bar Modern Healthcare from press calls after reporter refuses to alter story

Felice J. Freyer

About Felice J. Freyer

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

Virgil Dickson

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services threatened to ban a reporter from participating in the federal agency’s telephone news conferences after he refused to delete three sentences from a published story that apparently had rankled CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

The reporter — Virgil Dickson, Washington bureau chief for Modern Healthcare — believed the agency was making good on its threat on Thursday when, he said, his phone went mute during a CMS press call and a woman’s voice told him he was not allowed to participate. An editor later confirmed with CMS officials that he had been banned from press calls, Dickson said. Continue reading

Tussle over CMS data shows the importance of getting all the facts, without delay

Sabriya Rice

About Sabriya Rice

Sabriya Rice (@sabriyarice) is the business of health care reporter for the Dallas Morning News. She’s an AHCJ board member and vice chair of the association’s Right to Know committee.

When the federal government in June began to post a series of maps that showed how many health insurers would participate in the marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act, reporters quickly noted that one key element was missing from the posts: the data.

Health care journalists across the country sent inquiries to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requesting the numbers behind the weekly health insurance coverage maps, which projected how many insurers would make options available, county-by-county, for 2018. Continue reading