Kaiser Health News and NPR have been collaborating on a series called Bill of the Month. This piece by KHN’s Chad Terhune was one of the most memorable. Like many of these articles, it got results – the story got a ton of attention, outrage was generated and voila, the bill was lowered. It was cited by a bipartisan group of senators who introduced legislation curbing the practice of “surprise billing.”
Like many journalists in Washington, D.C., Arthur Allen knows his jargon.
As the editor for Politico’s eHealth, Allen is all too familiar with the trappings of Congress and the resulting litany of regulations and rules that follow any major health-related legislation, including a 2009 bill that aimed to encourage doctors and hospitals to invest in information technology. Continue reading
Health reporters should be asking the hospitals they cover plenty of in-depth questions about their star ratings and other collected quality measures. But they should not assume that those measures reflect the hospital’s true performance.
How often has this happened to you? Over the transom comes a report you believe will be the basis for a section-front story or maybe warrant page one. Many times, you’re right. You read the report, collect the highlights, conduct a few interviews, and fire off the story on deadline.
However, occasionally what you thought might be a solid report leaves important questions unanswered. Continue reading
For many years, health insurers have worked to keep patients out of hospitals, the costliest care setting. At the same time, hospital administrators have worked to keep heads in the beds, as they say.
In this long tug-of-war, Chicago area hospitals appear to be losing at an alarming rate, according to a comprehensive analysis of data from the Illinois Department of Health, and other sources, conducted by reporter Kristen Schorsch of Crain’s Chicago Business. For a special report published earlier this year, she learned what hospital administrators had already known: that Illinois hospitals were over bedded and operating at about 40 percent of capacity. Schorsch’s special project is impressive, not only for the depth of her reporting but also for the excellent presentation that Crain’s made with the data she collected. Continue reading
In January 2012, EMTs took Ignacio Alaniz by helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital, one of the largest nonprofit medical centers in Texas. Alaniz had been working underneath his Buick Century, trying to get it started. When it rolled over him, he suffered a punctured lung, nine fractured ribs and a broken arm.
“By the time the helicopter landed, he was already $12,196.37 in debt,” wrote Dianna Wray, a staff writer for the Houston Press. Her article about Alaniz, “Getting Stuck: Uninsured Patients Slammed with Lawsuits by Not-for-Profit Hospital,” was recognized as one of the best examples of health journalism in the business (small) category in AHCJ’s Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. In a new “How I did it” article, Wray explains how her reporting led her to many more cases of patients being sued for medical debt and some of the reaction the story generated. Continue reading