Twelve journalists to attend AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowship

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.

The Association of Health Care Journalists has announced the selection of a new class of AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellows. The 12 journalists – supported through a grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust – will spend four days studying public health issues with experts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The AHCJ-directed fellowship program will include virtual presentations and discussions on COVID-19 issues, epidemiology, global disease prevention efforts, chronic diseases, vaccines, influenza, opioids and other topics.

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Help your audience by explaining the nuances in Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans

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.

In 2015, 25% of people with Medicare had a Medigap supplemental policy.

Source: Medigap Enrollment and Consumer Protections Vary Across States, KFF report, July 11, 2018.In 2015, 25% of people with Medicare had a Medigap supplemental policy.

Reading the news about COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts in recent weeks, I learned that my home county of Barnstable (better known as Cape Cod) is the oldest in Massachusetts by residents’ age. The average age of the county’s 213,000 residents is 53.3 years — among the highest in the nation.

That fact helps explain why we see so many television advertisements for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans all day every day during certain times of the year.

Regardless of where these ads run, the problem for senior citizens is that the spots do not tell the whole story about MA. Like most advertisements, they highlight the good news and leave out the bad. Health care journalists have an essential role to play during enrollment season in reporting on how each eligible individual can choose the most appropriate Medicare coverage, despite the advice from aging celebrities on TV. Continue reading

AHCJ announces 11th class of Health Performance Reporting Fellows

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.

AHCJ announces 11th class of Health Performance Reporting FellowsThe Association of Health Care Journalists has awarded AHCJ Reporting Fellowships on Health Care Performance to five journalists who intend to pursue significant projects in 2021. The program, in its 11th year, is meant to help journalists understand and report on the performance of local health care markets and the U.S. health system as a whole.

The fellowship program, supported by The Commonwealth Fund, is intended to give experienced print, broadcast and online reporters an opportunity to concentrate on the performance of health care systems – or significant parts of those systems – locally, regionally or nationally. The fellows are able to examine policies, practices and outcomes, as well as the roles of various stakeholders.

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Reporting on global urgency for COVID-19 vaccine rollout

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.

South African officials inspect a shipment of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Photo: GovernmentZA via FlickrSouth African officials inspect a shipment of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently estimates that ending the COVID-19 pandemic will require at least 70% of the world’s 7.8 billion population to have immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which may take until 2023 or longer given the logistical challenges of getting a vaccine from manufacturing plants into people’s arms around the world.

Wealthier nations have contracted with vaccine makers to buy more than half of the world’s COVID-19 vaccine supply of 8.2 billion doses as of mid-February, while less affluent countries have purchased only about 16 percent of the supply, according to Duke University’s Global Health Innovation Center. Just 10 countries had administered 75 percent of all vaccine doses, and 130 countries hadn’t administered any doses, the WHO said. Continue reading

Journalists can help shed light on COVID-19 vaccine schemes

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.

stock art for Flu Shot Risk

Photo: NIH Image Gallery via Flickr

It’s still difficult for many eligible older adults in parts of the U.S. to get COVID-19 vaccination appointments. And that’s exactly what con artists are counting on.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) are warning the public — especially elders — about several fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.

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Study shows racial differences in COVID-19 nursing home deaths

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.

Racial-NH-Deaths_Blog_Aging

Photo: Prachatai via Flickr

Racial disparities are glaringly obvious when examining COVID-19 caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths. A new study in JAMA Open looks at how these inequalities in the general population may also be associated with differences in mortality among nursing home residents with a COVID-19 infection.

In a cross-sectional study of 13,312 U.S. nursing homes, University of Chicago researchers found that COVID-19 death counts were 3.3-fold higher in facilities with the highest proportions of non-white residents than in facilities with mostly white residents. This difference in mortality was associated with a combination of differences in facility characteristics and location. Continue reading