How are nursing homes doing when it comes to staffing? This tool helps you find out

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: Pennsylvania DMVA via Flickr

Staffing is perhaps the most important factor in a nursing home resident’s quality of care and the ability to live with dignity. Unfortunately, inadequate nursing home staffing is a widespread and persistent problem. Some nursing homes provide proper care, ensuring that their facilities have enough qualified care staff. However, many nursing homes still fail to maintain safe and sufficient staffing.

You can get staffing information from CMS’ payroll-based journal data, but there’s another tool that makes it pretty simple for reporters and consumers to find out whether nursing homes in their state meet requirements. Continue reading

Maternal deaths among black women focus attention on the need for policy and payment reform

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.

The number of pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births has risen steadily since the CDC started reporting the data in 1987 when the rate was 7.2. In its most recent report, the rate was 16.9.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe number of pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births has risen steadily since the CDC started reporting the data in 1987 when the rate was 7.2. In its most recent report, the rate was 16.9.

For the past several years, health care journalists have correctly focused on the rising rate of pregnancy-related mortality in the United States. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that over the past 40 years, the nation’s rate of pregnancy-related deaths has more than doubled.

Although the rate dropped slightly in 2016 to 16.9 per 100,000 live births (from a high of 18 in 2014), the rate was 7.2 per 100,000 in 1987 when the CDC began tracking the data. Continue reading

Year-end wrap-up: What your colleagues are reading

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.

Fireworks for the new yearWe’re closing in on the end of the year and the inevitable annual lists. We thought this would be a good time to review the blog posts written this year that got the most views. It turns out they cover a wide swath of topics in health care, from careful use of language and covering studies to vaccines and caring for our aging population.

Have a look for yourself: 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.

Please 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

Freelance journalists sue California over new AB 5 law

Carolyn Crist

About Carolyn Crist

Carolyn Crist (@cristcarolyn) helps AHCJ’s freelance members find the resources, tips and contacts they need to create and run a successful business. A freelance journalist and author, Crist covers health, medicine and science stories for national news outlets such as Reuters, Runner’s World and Parade. She also writes for trade and custom publications. Contact her at carolyn@healthjournalism.org.

california-flag-on-the-round-button-isolated-on-white_fyCzJLi_Two of the leading national journalism organizations that serve freelance writers, editors, photographers and visual journalists filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to challenge California’s new rules for independent contractors. Assembly Bill 5, or AB 5, takes effect on Jan. 1, so the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Photographers Association filed now to ask for an injunction.

The bill, which was drafted to curb unfair practices in the gig economy and signed into law in September, requires companies to take on contractors as employees if they meet certain requirements. Continue reading

Congress strikes taxes that helped pay for the ACA

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.

Money, taxes and the ACARemember all those taxes and fees meant to pay for the Affordable Care Act?

The ones that keep getting delayed, suspended, postponed – or put into effect and then halted again?

The big end-of-year spending and tax bill Congress plans to approve this week will eliminate three big taxes – the health insurance tax, the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices, and the so-called Cadillac tax on certain high-value employer plans. They were to have provided billions to cover the cost of coverage expansion. (An extra 0.9 percent Medicare tax on income above a certain threshold is still in effect.) Continue reading