The Association of Health Care Journalists has joined the Society of Professional Journalists and 25 other journalism and open government groups in urging every member of Congress to support unimpeded communication with journalists for all federal employees.
“It is essential to public welfare and democracy that this issue is addressed. Not allowing experts to speak freely to reporters is authoritarian and keeps sources from explaining a variety of things that are the public’s business,” the groups say in a letter sent to Congress members today.
“This ‘Censorship by PIO’ works in tandem with other assaults on free speech including restrictions on public records, threats and physical assaults on reporters, prosecution of whistleblowers and threats of prosecution against reporters.”
Many groups in the coalition of organizations have been working for several years to spark changes in the restrictions put on federal employees and the lack of freedom to speak to journalists. For more than a decade, AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee has pressed federal officials to improve journalists’ access to federal experts.
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 →
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 →
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.
“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 →
Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic leader on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News 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.
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 →