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Consumers Union

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The use of air ambulances is on the rise and so are the sky-high surprise bills that often follow. So far states have been stymied in their efforts to regulate the industry. It's a story worth exploring in your community.
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The health insurance marketplaces offer consumers a multitude of options, but sorting out which plan bests suit their needs can be a slog. That’s especially true when it comes to figuring out whether a particular doctor is part of a plan’s network, since the directories are famously unreliable.

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Hospitals across Orange County and around the country are making mistakes that can be harmful, even deadly, to patients, but the public rarely finds out about them. Details of conditions inside Mission Hospital were hidden by the federal government for six months.

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As the law stands now, doctors on probation have to tell hospitals and insurance companies about the fact that they are on probation. But they don’t have to tell their patients. Consumer groups argue that should change and momentum is building in support of the idea.

Picture of Kellie  Schmitt

Health insurance premium hikes have been modest in recent years, but out-of-pockets costs are another story. Our Thursday webinar on "Out of Pocket: Surprise Costs After Health Reform" offered a primer on the trends and a host of story ideas for reporting on these topics.

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State medical boards should transform themselves from boards composed mainly of doctors to a model where members of the general public occupy most of the board seats, according to consumer advocates. The push for change follows on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Picture of William Heisel

Unlike hip and knee replacements, pacemakers generally come with warranties. While this might relieve you if you have device problems, companies can still argue about what a warranty covers and patients can end up in court.

Picture of William Heisel

The Consumers Union is making a push for warranties on hip and knee replacements. Is there a reasonable expectation that a certain percentage of any product will fail and do consumers have a right to get a new one as a result?

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FDA advisory committee members berated the low numbers of fish used in salmon studies, the inclusion of irrelevant fish in studies which “diluted out the power of the study,” and the generally bad science.

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What's wrong with creating a secret system for physicians to undergo addiction treatment without any impact on their licenses?

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Announcements

“Racism in medicine is a national emergency.” That’s how journalist Nicholas St. Fleur characterized the crisis facing American health care this spring, as his team at STAT embarked on “Color Code,” an eight-episode series exploring medical mistrust in communities of color across the country. In this webinar, we’ll take inspiration from their work to discuss strategies and examples for telling stories about inequities, disparities and racism in health care systems. Sign-up here!

The USC Center for Health Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is seeking two Engagement Editors to serve as thought leaders in one of the most innovative and rewarding arenas in journalism today – “engaged reporting” that puts the community at the center of the reporting process. Learn more about the positions and apply to join our team.

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