Photo: Misty Williams/CQ Roll Call
The D.C. chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists kicked off the fall season with a happy hour hosting public affairs officials from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The happy hour took place on Sept. 6 on the rooftop of CQ Roll Call, which overlooks the White House and the Capitol. Reporters enjoyed cold beverages, pizza and assorted snacks.
About 60 people attended, including independent journalists and reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Fierce Healthcare, Kaiser Health News, and The Hill. Continue reading
The Department of Health and Human Services is sponsoring a seminar for reporters on covering suicide on Tuesday, in what the lead organizer described as an effort by HHS media officials to engage with journalists in new ways.
Mark Weber, the deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, said that media officials often interact with reporters in what he called “ATM transactions” – communicating only when one needs something from the other. Continue reading
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar pledged in his first on-the-record press conference Tuesday that he will have an “open and transparent” relationship with reporters, and said he does not envision a scenario in which anyone would be banned from covering the agency.
The statement, a welcome commitment to reporters, came one week after the Association of Health Care Journalists sent Azar a letter urging him to hold regular press conferences. Continue reading
When newly installed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar held one of his first meetings with the media on Feb. 8, only three reporters were invited. They got a sneak peek at drug price provisions contained in President Trump’s budget, while other reporters had to wait days to get questions answered.
The topic – tackling the cost of pharmaceuticals – was one of Azar’s signature issues, but he chose to discuss it only with the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and the Daily Caller. Continue reading
Excerpt of the letter sent to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Click here to see the full letter.
AHCJ this week called on the new secretary of health and human services to hold frequent, open press conferences, and protested recent incidents at HHS that were deeply troubling to journalists.
In a letter Monday to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, AHCJ President Ivan Oransky congratulated the secretary on his appointment and expressed hope that reports Azar intends to foster transparency would prove true. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has decided not to extend the contract of the communications consultant who threatened to bar Modern Healthcare from press calls for refusing to alter a story.
The consultant, Brett O’Donnell, had sent a Jan. 24 email to a Modern Healthcare editor saying that “we will not be able to include your outlet in further press calls with CMS” if the publication did not change three sentences about the reasons for a CMS official’s resignation. That threat followed an email exchange the day before in which Virgil Dickson, the reporter who wrote the story, declined O’Donnell’s request to alter his account. Continue reading