Tag Archives: Government

Don’t be late to #AHCJ18: Program kicks off with D.C. pros revealing how they get their stories

Deborah Schoch

About Deborah Schoch

Deborah Schoch, a member of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee, is an independent health writer and investigative reporter. She was a Los Angeles Times staff writer for 18 years and helped found the CHCF Center for Health Reporting at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

One journalist’s deep-dive reporting paid off when she made it to an airport just in time to witness U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price leaving a gold-colored private jet. The ensuing stories revealed Price’s penchant for luxury travel at taxpayer expense and led to his resignation.

A pair of print and television journalists teamed up to uncover how Congressional deal-making torpedoed an opioid crackdown by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Because of their coverage, Rep. Tom Marino, who had championed the deal in Congress, withdrew his name as President Trump’s nominee for U.S. drug czar.

They are among five reporters – experts in prying news out of federal health agencies – who will share their stories and offer advice at Health Journalism 2018, the annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists in Phoenix. Continue reading

CMS threatens to bar Modern Healthcare from press calls after reporter refuses to alter story

Felice J. Freyer

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.

Virgil Dickson

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services threatened to ban a reporter from participating in the federal agency’s telephone news conferences after he refused to delete three sentences from a published story that apparently had rankled CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

The reporter — Virgil Dickson, Washington bureau chief for Modern Healthcare — believed the agency was making good on its threat on Thursday when, he said, his phone went mute during a CMS press call and a woman’s voice told him he was not allowed to participate. An editor later confirmed with CMS officials that he had been banned from press calls, Dickson said. Continue reading

As CHIP funding runs out, at least one state begins alerting parents

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.

Data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation show that when the Children’s Health Insurance Program was enacted in 1997, the uninsured rate among children (those individuals under age 18) was 14 percent and that it reached an all-time low of 5 percent last year.

Officials in 12 states may start sending letters to parents this week, alerting families that funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program is running out, according to reporting by Colby Itkowitz and Sandhya Somashekhar in The Washington Post. In Colorado, letters went out in the mail today.

“Many states have enough money to keep their individual programs afloat for at least a few months, but five could run out in late December if lawmakers do not act,” Itkowitz and Somashekhar wrote. “Others will start to exhaust resources the following month.” Continue reading

Mayors pledge to encourage age-friendly cities

Liz Seegert

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.

Photo: The B's via Flickr

Photo: The B’s via Flickr

Making cities more age-friendly means getting those in charge on board with the idea. The Milken Institute is asking mayors throughout the United States to pledge to make their cities welcoming environments for older adults to age in place.

So far, some 150 mayors of cities of all sizes have promised to support neighborhoods that promote inclusivity and are sensitive to the physical, social and economic well-being of older adults. Continue reading

AHCJ, 60 other journalism groups to ask Trump administration for meeting on government access

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.

Donald J. Trump

Donald J. Trump

The Association of Health Care Journalists and 60 other journalism organizations have requested a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence to discuss access to government.

The coalition sent a letter today to Trump and Pence, asking for a meeting or conference call.

“Journalists need to stick together in fighting for government transparency, and this letter – signed by so many journalism groups – is a heartening example of that unity,” said Felice J. Freyer, chair of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee.

Read the specific concerns in the letter.

AHCJ, HHS officials address appeal process for inadequate responses by PIOs

Irene M. Wielawski

About Irene M. Wielawski

Irene M. Wielawski (@wielawski), an independent journalist based in New York, is a founder and former board member of AHCJ and serves on the organization’s Right to Know Committee.

Reporters facing unreasonable delays or inadequate responses from media officials at an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) can bring their complaints to one of three deputy assistant secretaries for public affairs.

In a phone conference on Wednesday between top HHS media officers and AHCJ board members, these officials were named as contacts for reporters having difficulties. Their names and the agencies whose media offices they oversee are listed below.

The phone conference was one in a regular series in which leaders of AHCJ’s Right to Know (RTK) Committee work with the HHS public affairs office to improve government transparency and access to information and experts.

As chair of the RTK committee, I joined board President Karl Stark and RTK Vice Chair Felice J. Freyer in representing AHCJ. We spoke with Dori Salcido, assistant secretary for public affairs, News Division Director Bill Hall, and Deputy Assistant Secretary Mark Weber. Continue reading