SCOTUS ruling allows states to regulate what PBMs pay pharmacists

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.

Photo by dbking via Flickr

States seeking to regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) won an important victory on Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0, rejecting a challenge to a law the state of Arkansas passed in 2015 to put restrictions on PBMs. The ruling could allow states to regulate PBMs, as Darrel Rowland reported for The Columbus Dispatch.

Rowland is a member of an award-winning team of reporters and editors at the Dispatch who have covered PBMs in Ohio and elsewhere since January 2018, as we reported on this blog.

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Importance of home-based care programs for older adults grows during pandemic

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.

home-based funding

Photo: stirwise via Flickr

We all know the toll that COVID-19 has taken on older adults in institutional settings. It’s prompted many aging advocates and policymakers to rethink how we deliver care to the frail elderly and whether the traditional nursing home model needs to change.

Many experts agree that more care should occur in community and home settings, but we lack enough clinicians to provide it and many states lack the resources to pay for it. However, home and community-based services (HCBS) can save money in the long term, studies have shown, and this care approach can work on many levels. Continue reading

AHCJ to track access problems in real time – with your help

About Felice J. Freyer

Felice J. Freyer is AHCJ's vice president and chair of the organization's Right to Know Committee. She is a health care reporter for The Boston Globe.

trouble getting informationAHCJ’s Right to Know Committee is launching a new strategy for tracking and combating the obstacles that health care reporters confront when seeking information.

Starting today, journalists can quickly and easily report the difficulties they encounter as soon as they occur, by clicking on the “Trouble Getting Information?” link on AHCJ’s homepage (on the right side, under “Advocacy”). Continue reading

Inspection data could prompt stories about COVID-19 problems in hospitals

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.

patient on ventilator

Photo: Ninian Reid via Flickr

AHCJ has updated its public Hospital­Inspections.org website to give people a better glimpse of potential COVID-19 problems at some hospitals around the country. For reporters, the inspection reports may prompt news stories on how local hospitals are handling the pandemic.

The data covers January 2011 through the third quarter of 2020. A search for the term “covid” returns 73 records of hospital inspection reports from March 25 through Sept. 16. Continue reading

Reporter takes readers inside a nursing home’s effort to fight COVID-19

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.

mask and gloves

Photo: Scouse Smurf via Flickr

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes throughout California were preparing for a wave of cases. Older adults, particularly those who are frail or have multiple chronic conditions, are among those at the highest risk of developing COVID-19 and dying from the complications.

The New York Times reports that, as of Nov. 27, more than 101,000 nursing home residents and workers have died of COVID-19, roughly 39% of all U.S. deaths from the virus.

Sacramento Bee reporter Jason Pohl decided to look at homes with the most problems; those with violations, poor ratings and dodgy inspection reports.

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President-elect Biden announces nominations to health care team

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.

Xavier Becerra

Xavier Becerra

President-elect Joe Biden’s health care leadership team is coming into focus.

Biden announced the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a surprise as many policy experts anticipated that Biden would pick a governor or someone with a medical background to run this critical executive office, according to the New York Times. Continue reading