Category Archives: Right to know

AHCJ calls for improved media access to top federal health officials

Tina Reed

About Tina Reed

Tina Reed is a health care reporter for the Washington Business Journal. She covers hospitals, biotechs, insurers and health business trends in and around Washington, D.C. She is co-chair of AHCJ’s Washington, D.C. Chapter.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has called on the nation’s top health officials to face questions about the Trump administration’s health initiatives.

In a Sept. 20 letter, AHCJ President Ivan Oransky asked Dr. Tom Price, health and human services secretary, and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to hold a press conference – something that has yet to occur seven months into their tenure.  Neither has yet responded. Continue reading

CMS withdraws proposal that would have increased access to hospital inspection reports

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the special projects director 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.

Photo: Francis Bijl via Flickr

The federal agency that provides data for AHCJ’s HospitalInspections.org has stopped an effort to increase the number of hospital inspection reports made public.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed in April to require private accrediting organizations to make hospital inspections available to the public. AHCJ submitted a statement to CMS supporting the proposed rule change.

Now, CMS has withdrawn the proposal, reported ProPublica: Continue reading

AHCJ continues to advocate for release of hospital inspection reports

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.

See the full comment at Regulations.gov.

AHCJ has submitted a statement to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services supporting the agency’s proposal to open hospital inspection reports to the public.

The proposed rule change applies to inspections by private accrediting organizations, which are often kept secret, even though they detail patient safety shortcomings of potential interest to the public.

Continue reading

Senate plans quicker action than House on its health care reform bill

Deborah Crowe

About Deborah Crowe

Deborah Crowe (@dcrowe60) is an independent journalist, longtime AHCJ member and copy editor for healthjournalism.org. She can be reached at debcrowe2@yahoo.com.

If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has his way, the Senate’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace process will be a disciplined and at-times clandestine whirlwind romance, culminating in a shotgun wedding. The goal: have the landmark legislation ready for President Trump’s signature by the time Congress breaks for the Independence Day holiday. Continue reading

Reporter’s work pushes regulators, legislators to act on opioids

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Sam Owens, Charleston Gazette-MailEric Eyre’s investigative series, Painkiller Profiteers, chronicled massive pain pill shipments to West Virginia. This shows the cremated ashes of a West Virginia woman who died from a drug overdose.

Lack of work, educational gaps, despair, overprescribing – there’s a host of reasons behind the nation’s opioid crisis. It may seem daunting to reporters who want to nail down the epidemic’s causes, but sometimes you just have to keep digging – literally.

West Virginia reporter Eric Eyre realized something was off when, during a trip to the state pharmacy board, he began digging through boxes filled with faxes from drug wholesalers reporting suspicious pharmacy activity. Continue reading