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Health Matters Webinar Series

Previous Webinars

October 04, 2017

U.S. maternal mortality rates are the highest in the developed world and increasing rapidly. America’s rate is about eight times higher than countries such as Sweden or the Netherlands, and the U.S. is the only country among peers where the maternal death rate has been rising. Complicating matters for public health leaders looking to address the problem nationally has been a paucity of reliable and consistently collected state data. This webinar will help reporters understand what’s behind the disturbingly high U.S. maternal mortality rates and look to California, which has become a leader in finding ways to lower the death rate, make better use of data and improve outcomes.

July 26, 2017

The GOP’s House and Senate health reform bills both call for a massive restructuring of Medicaid that could lead to unprecedented funding cuts as states are forced to shrink their programs or make cuts elsewhere. But even if the latest plan founders in the Senate, governors and health officials in conservative states are pursuing a number of Medicaid changes through federal waivers. How might conservative-led reforms change state Medicaid programs for decades to come? With this webinar, we’ll give participants the policy primer they need to understand such historic changes and highlight story ideas reporters can pursue as these reforms play out on both the federal and state levels.

June 07, 2017

Instability and the prospect of sharp premium increases are roiling health exchanges across the country, and the recent passage of the American Health Care Act in the House could signal more dramatic changes. What does this portend for the future of health exchanges, the symbolic heart of Obamacare? And what do reporters need to know to bring this story home for audiences in their coverage area? This webinar will put the latest news developments in context, discuss the ways in which GOP plans and President Trump's actions may impact the health exchange markets, and offer advice for reporters covering this story in their region.

April 11, 2017

It’s often been called the worst drug crisis in American history, ravaging towns from coast to coast and killing more than 33,000 people in 2015. This webinar will explain and offer reporting and storytelling approaches for a new geography of addiction, with the opioid epidemic proving particularly devastating for white rural communities. Prescription painkillers have long been at the core of the epidemic, but the number of deaths from heroin, synthetic opioids and benzodiazepines has risen dramatically in recent years. While the larger story of the U.S. opioid crisis is not new, the epidemic claims more lives every year as increasingly powerful drugs and drug combinations lead to more overdoses, giving this story a heightened urgency. 

January 24, 2017

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency will be the most consequential event for U.S. health care reform since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Repealing Obamacare will be a top priority for the incoming administration and the Republican-controlled Congress. But there’s tremendous uncertainty on what might replace Obamacare as well as what options will be available for the 20 million newly insured who now benefit from exchange subsidies and the Medicaid expansion. This webinar will discuss key ideas put forward in Republican proposals, how this political shift will change U.S. health care coverage, and what questions journalists should be asking as these dramatic changes unfold. 

October 28, 2016

In the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, health care has received scant attention. Yet it remains among the most urgent issues facing Americans. Insurance premiums continue their upward march, out-of-pocket costs are soaring, health insurance exchanges keep losing major insurers, and every month seems to bring a fresh wave of outrage over skyrocketing prescription drug prices. What policies might address these problems, and how do the candidates’ health platforms differ? This webinar will give an overview of each candidates’ health care prescriptions, outline post-election scenarios, and provide reporters with crucial context for covering one of the election’s most important but overlooked issues.

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.

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Got a great idea for an ambitious reporting project on a California health issue?  Let us fund it.  Apply now for the 2019 California Fellowship, which provides $1,000 reporting grants and six months of expert mentoring to 20 journalists, community engagement grants of up to $2,000, specialized mentoring, to five.

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