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

Prior authorization rules: Yet another way the health insurance system frustrates physicians and patients

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.

For patients and physicians, many aspects of the health care and health insurance systems are frustrating and appear to be needlessly complex.

One of the most frustrating processes is prior authorization, the mother-may-I approach health insurers use to ensure that procedures, medications and even certain care processes are appropriate and worthy of coverage. Continue reading

CMS updates website with reporters’ needs in mind

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Click on image for a full-size view of the new CMS page.

Based on feedback from journalists, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated its online “Newsroom” with the goal of making it easier for reporters to find the information they need.

In a blog post, Administrator Seema Verma said the agency has “made CMS data and background, press contacts, and other information quickly accessible. We’ve also built a more robust search tool that will help serve your needs.” Continue reading

‘Short-term’ plans can now be renewed for years

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: kengo via Flickr

In my most recent post, I recapped what Georgetown University’s Sabrina Corlette, who is also a former Senate health policy aide, told us on an AHCJ webcast about association health plans. This post looks at the second part of the webinar, about short term limited duration plans. Both are options expanded by the Trump administration that may undermine the ACA markets. You can see her slides and listen to the webcast here.

It is worth nothing that health insurance remains very expensive for people who are trying to buy coverage on the individual market who do not quality for income-related subsidies in the ACA exchanges. Continue reading

New poll: More counseling, prescribing limits needed for seniors using opioids

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: Marko Javorac via Flickr

Nearly a third of older adults have received a prescription for an opioid pain medicine in the past two years, but many didn’t get enough counseling about the risks of the drug, how to reduce their use, when to switch to a non-opioid option, or what to do with leftover pills, a new poll finds.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that three-quarters of older adults surveyed said they would support prescribing limits by doctors and other efforts to limit exposure that could possibly help combat the national crisis surrounding opioid misuse, especially due to diversion. Continue reading