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Medicare

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Some interesting new data over at Medicare’s Hospital Compare database released Wed. is worth mining for enterprise stories about how people receive treatments for heart attacks and other medical conditions at hospitals in your community.

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After a 30-year career writing about health, Susan Brinks found herself in the throes of her own medical story.

She has been a freelancer since being laid off from the Los Angeles Times in October 2008, and her COBRA -- the post-employment extension of her health insurance -- runs out on July 20.

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Here’s what we’re reading today at ReportingonHealth: 

"You could nominate Gandhi to be head of CMS and that would be controversial right now." That gem of a quote, from a CBS News story on Donald Berwick’s recess appointment to run Medicaid and Medicare,  comes courtesy of Tom Scully, who held that job under President George W. Bush.

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It’s a dismal day for diabetes drugs, with new research showing that Avandia raises the risks for heart disease and stroke and problematic side effects reported for taspoglutide, an experimental diabetes drug from Roche that was expected to be a huge seller.  

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So it’s been three months already since health reform passed, and journalists around the country are still looking for ways to keep this story fresh. Earlier, I wrote about lessons you can learn from some top  Washington DC health reporters, with an eye on Sept. 23, when the next set of new provisions takes effect.

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Welcome to the inaugural post of Career GPS, ReportingonHealth's new blog about pursuing your passions while looking out for your pocketbook. Here, we will discuss career opportunities, growth and development for journalists and media professionals working on health topics. We'll talk about new kinds of media jobs and have Q&As with people who have taken interesting turns in their careers. Please do join in the discussion by commenting and posting your own entries about your experiences.

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The Medical Board of California told Orange County Register health reporter Courtney Perkes that it was rare for a doctor to be disciplined, allowed to return to practice and then disciplined again. She wanted to see if that was actually true, and so she asked the board for every record of a doctor who had petitioned for a license reinstatement.

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Last night, a group of San Francisco Bay Area health journalists got some intriguing health reform story ideas from one of California’s better-known health policy experts, Marian Mulkey of the California HealthCare Foundation.  

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It can be a slog, covering health reform’s intricacies day in and day out. Fortunately, four top health journalists gathered today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to brief reporters on how they continue to find new angles, stay ahead of the curve and – perhaps most importantly – keep their editors interested. The briefing was geared toward Beltway reporters, but there was plenty of advice for regional journalists on localizing the rollout of federal health reform legislation.

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During its six-month pilot project, the California HealthCare Foundation Center for Reporting on Health at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism quietly produced in-depth journalism with California newspapers. Now, the Center has gone public with a new website and high-profile hires, including editor-in-chief David Westphal.

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Our California Fellowship supports reporters in the Golden State pursuing ambitious projects on overlooked health and health equity issues.

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