Court documents are among the best sources for journalists covering the aggressive tactics tht hospitals and health systems use when seeking payment from patients who owe them money.
This advice comes from two Kaiser Health News journalists — senior correspondent Jay Hancock and data editor Elizabeth Lucas — who were Pulitzer Prize finalists this year for their reporting on predatory billing practices. Continue reading
Tracy Breton, a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative and legal affairs reporter at the Providence Journal for 40 years, and now professor of English and nonfiction writing at Brown University, finally got the opportunity to report out the elder abuse series she’s wanted to do for a decade. Continue reading
Audrey Dutton knew it was coming.
Someday, she thought, a treasure trove of documents would be unsealed. These were the letters, emails and reports that lawyers wanted to keep from public view during a big antitrust case involving a Boise hospital’s plan to acquire a nearby physician group. Continue reading
Carla K. Johnson
When Illinois awarded a $33 million contract to a high-priced PR firm to promote insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Carla Johnson began filing open records requests under the state’s Freedom of Information law.
Eventually Johnson, a medical writer for The Associated Press, filed 10 FOIA requests while reporting on how public money was spent to promote the health law.
She says the “88-page contract, obtained through a records request, contained clues about other existing documents, such as monthly detailed explanations of invoices and a ‘work plan’ required by the contract.” She continued filing requests until she had enough documentation to detect some trends.
Read more about how Johnson reported the story, what she learned and tips for other reporters.
In correspondence earlier this month, Kim Klausner, of the University of California, San Francisco Library and Center for Knowledge Management, suggested that reporters should be aware of the Drug Industry Document Archive.
Klausner, the industry documents digital library manager, sent a complete guide to what’s available, the history of DIDA and lots of examples of how reporters and others have used DIDA that is available on HealthJournalism.org.
The archive, available to anyone with access to the Internet, contains about 2,500 pharmaceutical industry documents submitted by “lawyers representing people who file law suits against drug companies and Congressional committees investigating the pharmaceutical industry,” according to Klausner.
William Heisel of the Antidote blog is doing a series of posts that show how the archive can be used to research stories. Heisel’s example uses depositions from a case against Wyeth over side effects of its hormone replacement therapy drugs.