Tag Archives: Health care reform

Health reform core topic pages feature new data, links, concepts

The latest additions to AHCJ’s core curriculum pages on health reform include information about bundled payments, acute and chronic conditions, SHOP exchanges and some resources on overtreatment and screening guidelines.

The health reform data page now includes links to the latest readmission rates released by the Agency for Health Care  Research and Quality. Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News has written for AHCJ members about how to use readmission data in your reporting, including why it has become so important:

The Affordable Care Act honed in on hospital readmissions because many health policy experts believe they’re symptomatic of the broad dysfunction of the health care system where providers don’t work with each other as patients pass from one setting, like a hospital, to another, like a primary doctor’s oversight or a nursing home.

New readmissions penalties that begin in October are intended to prod hospitals to start making sure patients get the care they need after they walk out the door.

Resources can help reporters cover ACA implementation

Today I have a quick post to share a few health journalism resources, other than AHCJ’s own health reform core topic area, that may help you down the final leg of implementation of the Affordable Care Act:

Reporting on Health is a program of the USC Annenberg Center and the California Endowment. It touches on a range of health issues – including materials and examples of good work for those of you on the health reform policy beat or tracking developments in your state. It’s a bit California-centric, for obvious reasons, but still a lot of helpful material and sources.

The Columbia Journalism Review‘s Second Opinion project is spearheaded by former AHCJ president Trudy Lieberman. I’ve particularly liked the pieces on state exchanges.

Web Md has regular updates on health law implemention,  including Health Reform 101 from AHCJ member Lisa Zamosky.

And The Wall Street Journal  has a new ACA rollout page, including a primer on some of the law’s key features.

99 things on the health care reform to-do list, the otter edition

For some Friday fun … Sarah Kliff did a blog post for The Washington Post’s Wonkblog on  “99 things” that have to happen in the 99 days between her post and Oct 1. OK, she cheated a little:

2. Washington state must launch a health insurance exchange

3. Oregon must launch a health insurance exchange

4. California must launch a health insurance exchange

5. Idaho must launch a health insurance exchange

6. Hawaii must launch a health insurance exchange

7. Colorado must launch a health insurance exchange

Image by Peter Kaminski via flickr.

But she’s still got some useful information on what’s on the states’ and the feds’ to-do list which helps you understand the technical complexity of this undertaking.

And don’t forget to check out number 99.  Which, quite frankly, has nothing to do with health care but we can all learn about baby otters.

Give context, not equal time, to anecdotes in coverage of health reform

Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, in a recent Politico op-ed, shared some thoughts on challenges in covering of the roll out of the Affordable Care Act.

Three of his main points – understanding the health law is not just a Washington story, knowing what to cover and finding solid resources to get at the facts instead of contrived “balance” – are topics we try to address on Covering Health and on the AHCJ health reform core topic site. Balance is fine – fair and essential – in complex stories where there are many points of view, different ideologies, and legitimate questions about how the health law will unfold over time.

It’s not “balance” if there is clear, solid data on a specific topic, and another side gets equal time just because they don’t like it (or because your editor insists that it get equal time).  Knowing what’s in the law, what it does and what it doesn’t do, helps us report with authority and find that balance.

The aspect I want to address here, related to the “balance” question, is what Altman calls “judgment by anecdote.” Here’s what he’s worried about: Continue reading

Facing growing health care costs, Mass. tries containment #ahcj13

Massachusetts is famously ahead of other states when it comes to health insurance coverage. Ninety-eight percent of Bay State residents have insurance.

But the state is also way ahead in another area: health care costs. The cost of care is the highest per capita in the country and, consequently, the world, according to Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Insurers, providers and government regulators have been working, with some success, to curb the rate of health care costs in Massachusetts. Continue reading