Older Americans Act expires Sept. 30 – will Congress act in time?

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: Bodo Tasche via Flickr

The Older Americans Act (OAA) expires on Sept. 30, 2019, and there’s still no bill ready for either a House or Senate vote. Traditionally, this legislation receives wide bipartisan support, but legislators are still attempting to work out some differences between what the Trump administration wants and provisions Democrats and advocacy groups would like to add.

The Senate is at an impasse regarding funding authorization levels and the funding formula, including “hold harmless” provisions. The House Education and Labor Committee announced on Friday that their OAA bill will be introduced on Monday and the committee will mark it up and likely pass it on Wednesday. Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and served for nearly 20 years in daily journalism.

welcome-matPlease welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ.

All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves. Continue reading

Spin happens: How we cover medical studies affects readers’ attitude toward results

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.

How much does the way you cover a study matter? If we judge that question on the basis of how your coverage might influence a reader’s opinion about a treatment’s benefit, it matters quite a bit, suggest the results of a recent study in BMC Medicine that examined spin in news stories about clinical studies.

In short, news articles that included spin in their coverage of a study about a particular treatment were more likely to leave readers with a positive impression of the treatment’s benefit.

Continue reading

EHRs aren’t entirely to blame for physician burnout: Study

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are inextricably linked to physician burnout. But reporters should be careful about placing all the blame on EHRs for the widespread problem that affects as many as half of clinicians and costs the industry billions per year.

A new study published in JAMA Open Network indicated that EHR systems create “information overload.“ But other workplace factors may contribute even more to burnout, the study of 280 clinicians at three medical centers concluded.

Other drivers of clinician burnout cited in the study were: Continue reading

Poll results support adding dental coverage to Medicare

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Though about 60 million retired and disabled Americans depend upon Medicare for their health care coverage, the federal program has never included routine dental benefits.

A sizeable percentage of likely voters believe that should change, according to the results of a new poll. Continue reading

Are state bans on vaccine exemptions the right approach?

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

PHOTO: SELF MAGAZINE VIA FLICKR

Is eliminating the religious or philosophical exemption from vaccinations the right public policy tool to stop and prevent measles outbreaks? This is a public policy debate that hasn’t been widely covered, but is an important conflict within the public health world and worth the attention of journalists.

Earlier this year, Daniel Salmon, Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Vaccine Safety, raised concerns that state efforts to pass laws banning the religious exemption could backfire by increasing mistrust of public health officials and harden parents’ objections to vaccinating their children. Continue reading