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Minnesota,United States

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It sometimes seems like it takes a high-profile case like Terri Schiavo to get people to think about end-of-life issues – or editors to agree to stories on the topic.

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Felice Freyer, veteran medical writer at the Providence Journal and Association of Health Care Journalists board member, is surveying reporters about how state and local agencies are releasing, or refusing to release, basic demographic information (not names) about people who have died from H1N1/swine flu.

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Even in his infamy, Dr. Daniel Carlat, founder of The Carlat Psychiatry Report, is popular with drug companies. Carlat was invited recently by Schering-Plough to help promote a new drug.

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If Congress and President Barack Obama decide the responsibility for health insurance falls on the shoulders of individual Americans, all of us might want to pay more attention to what's going on now in the individual insurance market and to what's promised in the legislation. If having no insurance is considered rock-bottom, having individual insurance is the next floor up. Some call it "house insurance," thinking that by having it they won't lose their homes to pay for a catastrophic illness.

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Public Citizen put together an important report in May that was mostly missed by the press (including me).

It's a comprehensive and critical investigation of The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), created by the Health Care Quality Improvement Act 19 years ago, ostensibly to protect patients from rogue doctors.

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This story attempts to bust through the stereotypes about uninsured people in Minnesota, which has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation.

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Gary Schwitzer is the professor that health reporters fear. With the creation of HealthNewsReview, he has brought back nightmares of having your work marked up in red and posted on a corkboard for everyone to see.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Journalists - particularly those in rural areas - will definitely want to follow the epidemiological investigation of swine flu that struck a nine-year-old Imperial County girl and a 10-year-old boy in adjacent San Diego County.The kids are fine now, but public health officials have never before seen this strain of swine flu in the United States. Here is the AP story.

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