A look into dentists under pressure to overtreat by their chains

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.

DentalChainTroubles

Photo: Anthony via Flickr

A reporting team’s in-depth investigation into a growing dental chain offers a troubling chronicle of dentists under pressure to meet revenue targets and patient allegations of overtreatment.

Reporters from USA Today and Newsy, the investigative unit owned by E. W. Scripps Company, spent more than a year examining the inner workings of North American Dental Group. The Pittsburg-based chain represents “a new trend of dental offices bought by private-equity investors and turned into revenue-generating machines,” their project explained. Continue reading

Emergency grants available to freelance journalists during COVID-19

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.

Photo: BigOakFlickr via Flickrv

During the current coronavirus outbreak, freelancers have reported a mixed bag — some work is on pause, but other work is booming. Whatever your situation, several journalism organizations have stepped up to offer emergency relief and reporting grants.

While reviewing the list below, the most important factors to keep in mind are the eligibility requirements for each application. In some cases, the grant is meant only to support those who have contracted COVID-19 and lost work because they were sick. In other cases, the grant is designated for particular types of reporting work. Continue reading

Webcast to explore the high cost of failing to cover the uninsured during pandemic

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.

Clinical lab scientist Nancy Leonard prepares samples to be tested for COVID-19. She wears a face shield and gloves for protection because she is handling material that may contain the virus and will transfer patient samples into smaller tubes for testing.

Photo: Sarah Pack, Medical University of South Carolina

Leaving anyone uninsured during this viral pandemic increases the risk of spreading the disease.  A warning report on Monday from the Urban Institute projects that an estimated 25 million to 43 million Americans may lose their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage in the coming months due to the economic effects of the new coronavirus.

In “How the COVID-19 Recession Could Affect Health Insurance Coverage,” UI senior fellow Bowen Garrett and research associate Anuj Gangopadhyaya base their estimate on the possibility that the unemployment rate could reach as high as 20%. The report was produced with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Continue reading

Tip sheet can aid your reporting on COVID-19 serology/antibody testing

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: NIAID via FlickrColorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (blue) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (red), isolated from a patient sample.

For the first six weeks of the pandemic, problems with PCR testing for the COVID-19 viral infection dominated headlines. Now that serology testing — testing for antibodies to COVID-19 — is picking up steam, there is important context and uncertainty that readers may not be getting.

A new AHCJ tip sheet addresses some of the most important questions to address in reporting on serology testing, as well as recommended reading on the topic. For example, this Lifehacker article does a great job of laying out some of the significant issues with antibody testing. Continue reading

Reporters suddenly thrown into health beat need veterans’ support

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.

In an op-ed for the Columbia Journalism Review, Ivan Oransky, M.D., draws on an apt metaphor for reporters from other beats who are being assigned health-related stories during this pandemic.

“I imagine that the dread a newly transferred coronavirus reporter feels when faced with a PDF filled with statistics is the same as I would feel if —as a career-long doctor turned medical journalist — I was suddenly assigned to cover the statehouse.”

Continue reading

New data resource offers the lowdown in cancer terms, acronyms and concepts

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.

National Cancer Institute

Photo: National Cancer Institute

When I first began writing in health and science journalism, my biggest “micro-beat” was vaccines (and still is). I had spent more than a year in graduate school reading up on vaccines and interviewing dozens of folks in the field or tangential to it (such as parents and advocates) before I published any substantive articles about vaccines for a publication.

I was fortunate to be able to spend that time diving so deep into a single area, but it also gave me a deep appreciation for the areas I would not want to cover without being able to spend a similar amount of time studying up on them first. For years after I began working as a full-time journalist, that included anything in oncology. Continue reading