Journalist explains the importance of covering the financial toxicity Medicare members face

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

Photo by Derek K. Miller via Flickr

Photo: Derek K. Miller via Flickr

To the uninitiated, Medicare, Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare supplement plans can seem simple enough: Medicare covers 80% of hospital and physician costs and MA and supplement plans cover the rest.

But in reality, Medicare and its associated additional plans can be incredibly complex to navigate. This is one of many lessons that Kate Yandell has learned since 2018, when she began reporting on Medicare beneficiaries’ financial challenges after a cancer diagnosis. Continue reading

IHI’s Patient Safety Congress examines virtual care, racism and workplace violence

About Kerry Dooley Young

Kerry Dooley Young (@kdooleyyoung) is AHCJ's core topic leader on patient safety. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about the Food and Drug Administration, medical research, health policy and quality measurements. Her work has appeared in Medscape Medical News, Congressional Quarterly/CQ Roll Call and Bloomberg News.

Donald Berwick

Donald Berwick speaks at Health Journalism 2011 as CMS administrator.

Leaders in efforts to prevent accidental harm to patients will meet this week to consider challenges presented by the expansion of virtual care as well as the need to address racism and workplace violence in medicine. These are among the topics planned at the Patient Safety Congress held by the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). 

The conference will also delve into efforts to put into effect an initiative known as the “Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety” unveiled last year. The plan was the work of 27 organizations including federal agencies, safety groups and experts and patient and family advocates. It builds on the Institute of Medicine’s seminal 1999 report, “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” which triggered major efforts to reduce cases of preventable harm, particularly in areas such as healthcare-acquired conditions. Continue reading

AHCJ’s new patient safety core topic leader to bring resources to colleagues

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the director of education 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.

Kerry Dooley Young

Kerry Dooley Young

Kerry Dooley Young, an independent journalist based in Washington, D.C., will lead AHCJ’s core topic on patient safety.

She will be guiding AHCJ members to the resources they need to cover the many aspects of patient safety through blog posts, tip sheets, articles and other material. The core topic area of features a glossary, a more lengthy explanation of key concepts, shared wisdom from other reporters, story ideas and more.

She will write tip sheets and background briefs, ask other journalists to share their experiences, host webcasts and curate lists of resources for journalists. Her blog posts for Covering Health will recognize important reporting on patient safety topics, including overtreatment. Continue reading

Run for a spot on AHCJ’s board of directors

About Andrew Smiley

Andrew Smiley is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He is an assistant professor of professional practice at the Missouri School of Journalism. Smiley comes to AHCJ from a sports broadcasting background, including nearly a decade at the Golf Channel/NBC Sports and a decade at ESPN, where he won an Emmy.

Candidacy statements for AHCJ’s annual board elections will be accepted starting June 1.

Each year, members in AHCJ’s professional category elect members for the association board of directors. (Associate and allied members cannot run for election or cast ballots.)

Six of the 12 director positions come up for election each year for two-year terms, although incumbent board members are allowed to run for re-election.

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AHCJ’s new Freelance Center leader to expand services, resources

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the director of education 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.

Barbara Mantel

Barbara Mantel

Barbara Mantel, an independent, award-winning journalist based in New York, will lead AHCJ’s efforts to expand its resources and services for freelance journalists.

As AHCJ’s freelance community correspondent, Mantel will be writing about issues of concern to independent journalists, such as finding assignments, running a business, ethical guidelines, negotiating contracts and much more.

She will work with our freelance members to build out the existing Freelance Center at That will include updated and new market guides, tip sheets and “How I Did It” stories from other freelancers. The effort is being supported through a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Continue reading