Conferences can be hectic to cover, and it’s difficult sometimes to pin down the researcher or presenter you need, much less get quotes from other attendees about a particular presentation. It can be even more challenging when you’re covering a conference virtually. In either case, preparation is key, and one of the most important ways to prepare is knowing the kinds of questions you’ll be asking presenters and outside experts.
More than two years after a federal rule required all hospitals to post what they charge patients, compliance with the rule has been poor. Knowing that hospitals mostly failed to meet the requirements of the Hospital Price Transparency rule effective on Jan. 1, 2021, Mary Katherine Wildeman (@mkwildeman), a data reporter for the Associated Press, spent months last year determining how well Connecticut’s health systems were complying with the rule. At the time, Wildeman worked as a data reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media.
Recent news shows the need for health care journalists to investigate the aggressive measures hospitals use when patients can’t pay their medical bills.
On Dec. 21, Noam N. Levey, an award-winning senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News (KHN), reported that when patients can’t pay their bills, hundreds of the nation’s hospitals file lawsuits against those patients, sell patients’ bad-debt accounts to debt buyers and report patients to credit rating agencies.
Critical coverage of private equity firms — which buy companies and restructure their operations in order to quickly sell them for a profit— has been picking up.
In the last six months:
- Kaiser Health News (KHN) added eight stories and a video primer to its investigative series, “Patients for Profit: How Private Equity Hijacked Health Care.”
- STAT News and Fortune showed how private equity’s move into autism therapy short-changes kids.
As the number of hospitalized children with influenza, RSV, COVID-19 and other infections continues to soar, multiple media outlets have published stories suggesting one of the causes of the severity of illnesses is “immunity debt,” because of social distancing and masking measures taken during the height of the pandemic.