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

Congress watch: Why Medicare coverage of unmet needs is so vital

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: John Spade via Flickr

Congress returns from its summer recess with a full agenda. It’s probably not high on its to-do list, but many advocates of older Americans hope it will address several pieces of legislation introduced this year that could help many seniors better afford and access dental care, eyeglasses and hearing aids.

These are items that traditional Medicare doesn’t pay for but would make a world of difference in the health and well-being of older adults. Continue reading

New tip sheet, resources on effect sizes help quantify clinical significance

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: Esther Dyson via Flickr

To effectively report on medical research, you should understand how big a difference that an intervention or an exposure makes.

Absolute risk can be the best for this, but many studies report other comparisons as well. Sometimes a study reports this effect size — the magnitude of difference between two groups — in terms that literally are Greek to me: Continue reading

Studies suggest elder abuse in Chinese American communities needs deeper exploration

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: Koles via Flickr

Not enough is being done to prevent elder abuse in the Chinese American community, according to several recent Rutgers University studies.

Child abuse, intimate partner violence, negative social support, and isolation from family can be potential predictors of elder abuse, including psychological and physical mistreatment, caregiver neglect, and financial exploitation. Continue reading

Older adults have special preparation needs when disaster strikes

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: Georgia State Defense Force via Flickr

Hurricanes. Wildfires. Floods. Blackouts. We all like to think we would know what to do when a disaster or emergency strikes, but a new national poll shows that many adults over 50 haven’t taken key steps to protect their health and well-being in case of severe weather, long-term power outages or other situations.

Less than half have signed up for emergency warning systems offered by their community, which can give crucial information in case of storms, natural disasters, lockdowns, evacuation orders, public health emergencies and more. Continue reading