Anthrax, Drumming Circles and Nonprofit Profits: The ReportingonHealth Daily Briefing

Published on
July 22, 2010

Here's what we're reading (and listening to) today:

Rural Health: KQED's Health Dialogues program focuses on rural health issues including long distances to health care, lack of specialists and poverty.

Anthrax: Who knew you could contract anthrax by pounding on an animal-skin skin drum? Some folks at a New Hampshire drumming circle found out the hard way.

"Poison by design":  New media venture InvestigateWest's excellent examination of "secondhand chemo's" risks to health workers is being picked up by a number of media outlets. A must-read.

Insurer Profits: The Washington Post reports on a consumer advocacy study that contends some  nonprofit health insurers are hoarding far larger surpluses than they need to stay solvent even as they raising premiums. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, for example, had a surplus of $717 billion, more than seven times the regulatory minimum. Nice.

Tainted heparin: FDA officials have been "severely hampered" by China's foot-dragging in tracing tainted heparin linked to 81 deaths to its source, say federal lawmakers investigating the investigation. (Check out the New York Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on the heparin investigation and related cases.)