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Health Matters Webinar Series

Previous Webinars

September 29, 2016

Our health care system commits tremendous resources to extending life but comparatively little to end-of-life planning and care that honors patients’ wishes. As a result, many people find themselves subjected to unnecessary treatments and spend their final moments in hospitals rather than at home. But a rising chorus of experts and authors say this needs to change. This webinar will give an overview of the problem, discuss how changes to our health care system might help, and offer insights on how journalists might spur more conversations on how we approach death in America.

September 12, 2016

In 1990, New York State started publicly reporting mortality rates for cardiac surgery. Since then, mortality rates dropped and some of the poorest performing surgeons stopped practicing or left the state. Health policy experts often point to transparency as one of the most promising answers to improving health care outcomes. Yet initiatives such as Hospital Compare haven’t always delivered on their promise, and broader efforts to foster more transparency in the nation’s health system have been met with fierce resistance by hospitals, doctors and lobbyists. This webinar will explore the potential of transparency to improve health care outcomes, while also asking why such efforts haven’t always met expectations.

June 28, 2016

The idea that we should pay health care providers for the quality or value of their care has emerged as a key tenet of health reform in recent years, as Obamacare seeks to pivot from a payment system based on the quantity of services (“fee for service”) to one based on health outcomes or “value.” This webinar will tour the existing evidence on pay for performance and take a hard look at claims that it’s the answer to boosting health care quality and curbing spending. Reporters and policy makers will leave with a better understanding of the tough questions we should be asking of such programs.

April 19, 2016

While Flint has become a byword for poisoned children and government neglect, the threat posed by lead poisoning is far broader. Whether from leaching water systems, contaminated soil, or outdated housing stock, exposure to lead can inflict irreversible damage on children’s brains, leading to lower IQs, learning deficits and behavioral disorders. This webinar will provide essential context, resources and ideas for chronicling the threat posed by lead in communities nationwide. Panelists also will identify potential policy solutions and highlight forward-thinking leaders who are ahead of the curve when it comes to minimizing exposure.

February 18, 2016

When it comes to understanding how much we spend on health care across the country, journalists and policy makers have long had to rely on Medicare spending patterns. Data from private insurance plans wasn’t available. But thanks to groundbreaking new research, we can now see how much private insurance plans are paying for common procedures and per person in communities across the U.S. This webinar will help journalists and policy makers contextualize the private-payer data, discuss possible policy responses, and offer suggestions for how reporters can use this resource to bolster their reporting. 

December 17, 2015

Medicare marked its 50th anniversary earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to celebrate for the popular public program. The youngest Baby Boomers will turn 65 in 2030, capping off a demographic tsunami that will also see seniors living longer and with more disabilities and chronic illnesses. These forces are driving projections that Medicare will become insolvent in 2030, barring substantial reforms. This webinar will look at the health, demographic and financial challenges facing Medicare and provide essential context for sorting through the rhetoric as we enter a presidential election year.

October 29, 2015

Health insurance premium hikes have been modest in recent years, but out-of-pockets costs are another story. Deductibles have on average tripled over the past decade as employers steadily shift more health costs onto workers amid stagnating wages. And the problem of out-of-pocket costs is not limited to deductibles. Patients undergoing surgery may wake up to hefty "surprise" bills when out-of-network doctors are called in. This webinar will help reporters and policy makers understand out-of-pocket costs and the economic forces behind them, while highlighting opportunities for compelling stories about families feeling the squeeze.

September 03, 2015

Concerns over soaring drug prices have grown in recent months, and doctors have become increasingly outspoken about the extremely high prices of drugs used to treat diseases such as cancer, hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis. Meanwhile, a handful of states have introduced legislation in a bid to force drug makers to justify their prices. This webinar will offer insights into what’s driving the price increases, explain how these costs impact patients and consumers, and suggest ways in which journalists can cover this evolving story.

July 23, 2015

The emergence of new online tools — built by journalists, for journalists — has made it easier than ever to visualize health care data. With the power to build charts comes the responsibility to portray information accurately and in a way that enhances the story for your readers. In this webinar, we’ll discuss the basic principles of accurately visualizing health care data, how to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes, and offer examples of health care data visualizations done well. We’ll also provide a hands-on tutorial of some of the free online tools you can use to get started.

July 07, 2015

With the explosion of public health data online, more journalists than ever need analytical tools in their daily work. Think of data as just another source to interview, along with people and documents. Using a spreadsheet for simple tasks makes a journalist better at finding a story, fending off bogus ideas and sharpening the questions they can ask people. This webinar aims to give newcomers a basic grounding in using a spreadsheet (Excel) to do simple data cleanup and analysis for journalism.



In our next webinar, we’ll analyze Biden’s COVID-19 strategy in the first 100 days — and the huge obstacles the new federal effort must confront. We’ll also look at how Biden plans to address the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic, with a focus on women and vulnerable families. Sign-up here!


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