Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.
While measles may be the hot topic in the news at the moment for children’s health, it’s far from the only concern. Even as the historical success of vaccines has reduced child mortality and morbidity from infectious disease, chronic disease, assault and injuries have increasingly become killers of U.S. children.
One of the problems with the fee-for-service payment system is that it’s a flawed method of payment for sick patients but it may be ever more flawed as a method of payment for those who are healthy. This point is one Katy B. Kozhimannil, Ph.D., made recently in an article for the American Journal of Managed Care.
An associate professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Kozhimannil wrote that payment models should compensate teams of physicians, midwives, nurses and other providers for delivering evidence-based services during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. These payment systems also should be based on the health risks of the mother and baby, she added. Continue reading →
Giles Bruce, who covers health for the Times of Northwest Indiana, did deep reporting into infant mortality in Indiana, work that was recognized in AHCJ’s Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism this year. He started with a disturbing number – 623 babies died before their first birthday in Indiana last year.
In a new “How I Did It”essay, he explains more about his series. He looked at factors ranging from air pollution to ignorance about safe sleep practices for infants, and examined some of the potential solutions, including the role of expanded health insurance coverage, often under Medicaid expansion. Continue reading →
Photo: Amanda Mills/U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
This holiday season, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post turned away from politics to acknowledge some important recent health gains. Among them: declining poverty and violence, increasing reading among youth and life expectancy.
Rubin, a columnist who writes the conservative Post blog “Right Turn,” said those gains – all linked in some way to health – deserve to be celebrated. Continue reading →
Jeff Porter is the director of education for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.
AHCJ just updated and simplified its version of the hospital mortality and readmission data available exclusively to members.
Going back to 2008 for mortality and 2009 for readmission, journalists can download spreadsheet files to filter and find hospitals with histories of worse or better expected rates of patient outcomes within 30 days of discharge. Continue reading →
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.
First, the good news: A new National Center for Health Statistics data brief shows that Americans are living longer. Overall life expectancy rose by 0.1 percent from 2011 to 2012, to 78.8 years, and was highest for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. Women can expect to live an average of 81.2 years, and men an average of 76.4 years, based on the new analysis.
The report also shows significant decreases in age-adjusted death rates for eight of the 10 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, diabetes, stroke, influenza, pneumonia and kidney disease.
Now the bad news – a new report released by the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services found increased costs associated with critical access hospitals. Medicare beneficiaries paid nearly half of the costs for outpatient services at critical access hospitals – a higher percentage of the costs of coinsurance for services received at these facilities than they would have paid at hospitals using Outpatient Prospective Payment System rates. Continue reading →