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Wyoming

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As the health reform law nears its two-year anniversary, I will be using my Dennis A. Hunt Fund award to report a three-part series on the challenges and opportunities of reform law’s preventive programs, examining whether new approaches and bolstered funding are paying dividends at the ground level.

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Journalist Lisa Jones muses on covering Native American health issues and remembers her friend Stanford Addison.

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In California’s largest cities, one senses that the number of homeless people continues to grow, whatever the interventions to prevent it. But some of the more commonly cited reasons for that growth don't explain the whole story.

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Although Doctors Behaving Badly tends to focus on exactly what you would expect, its mission is to make people aware of the many ways that patients are left unprotected.

There are nearly 1 million licensed, practicing physicians nationwide. Antidote has no ability to count how many are “behaving badly,” but it is safe to say that only a slim minority are tainting the reputation of the medical community. Doctors who abuse, injure or kill patients are the surrogate markers for an illness in the physician discipline system. They are not the illness.

Picture of William Heisel

The final state in Antidote’s Doctors Behaving Badly tour of state medical boards should have been Wyoming.

Picture of William Heisel

State medical boards are Ellis Islands for doctors. Doctors licensed in another state or fresh out of medical school have to pass muster with the board before being allowed to see patients in that state. If they have a history of problems in other states, the medical board can tell them to look for work elsewhere. One of the most common reasons states cite for disciplining a doctor, in Antidote’s experience, is discipline by another state.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Here's what we're reading today:

Meridia: Sales of the weight loss drug Meridia might be about to go on a diet. New England Journal of Medicine editors are calling for it to be pulled off the market in the wake of a new study documenting its risks.

Picture of William Heisel

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.

Picture of Victor Merina

Native Americans experience higher disease rates than other Americans for problems ranging from diabetes and heart ailments to mental illness and suicides, which contribute to their lower life expectancy. Get tips from a veteran journalist for covering these health issues.

Announcements

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.

Let us support your next ambitious health reporting project through our National Fellowship program. Apply today.

Nowhere was the massive COVID wave of winter 2021 more devastating than in America’s nursing homes, where 71,000 residents died in the surge. In this webinar, we’ll hear from the lead reporter in the USA Today series "Dying for Care," who will show how an original data analysis and an exhaustive reporting effort revealed a pattern of unnecessary deaths that compounded the pandemic’s brutal toll. Sign-up here!

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