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Health Matters Webinar Series

Previous Webinars

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.

June 16, 2015

Will the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on King v. Burwell effectively dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its broad expansion of health coverage in this country? Or will the law’s latest legal challenge ultimately be defeated? With the court’s decision expected in late June, we’ve convened a top-notch panel of experts to provide journalists and policymakers with essential context, legal understanding and story ideas for this historic case. The webinar will deepen participants’ understanding of the legal arguments at play; highlight the profound implications for patients, and outline compelling story ideas, regardless of how the court rules.

May 19, 2015

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, hospital consolidation has dramatically increased. And the results, critics say, are rising costs and less competition. Hospitals are gobbling up smaller rivals; doctors are selling their practices to hospitals; and mega-hospitals are facing off against insurers with newfound negotiating power. Health reform was supposed to curb runaway health costs, but could it be bringing about just the opposite? Are health care “goliaths” increasingly dictating the prices and premiums we pay? And, are there steps that government and private companies can take to lower prices and improve quality in markets that have undergone consolidation? This webinar gives an overview of these trends, clarifies what’s at stake for consumers, and gives journalists fresh ideas for reporting in new, incisive ways.

March 19, 2015

The Obama administration is poised to fundamentally change how we pay for health care in this country. By the end of 2016, Medicare aims to make 30 percent of payments on the basis of quality or value of care provided rather than the quantity of services. Critics often fault the existing fee-for-service system for rewarding doctors for performing more procedures, and the Department of Health and Human Services is eager to embrace alternatives.

As the largest payer in the U.S. health care system, Medicare wields a huge influence on how health care is paid for and delivered, and this move is expected to trigger larger changes that ripple through the health care system. This webinar explores the implications of this massive shift from volume toward value. Our expert panelists assess the mixed track record of Accountable Care Organizations, which many see as precursors to this change, and discuss other promising innovations for boosting quality while lowering costs. What do early results from these ongoing experiments say about the future of payment reform?

December 12, 2014

In a provocative recent for The Atlantic, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an architect of the Affordable Care Act and a leading national expert on health policy, offered a deeply personal explanation for “Why I Hope to Die at 75.” The article ignited a national conversation about whether Americans surrender quality of life in our quest to live longer.

In this one-hour webinar,  shared personal and policy insights that promise to help you deepen your journalism on aging and medical interventions at the end of life. In a presentation and Q&A period, he presented research on old age and increasing disability, and discussed hard truths often overlooked in our rush to extend life at any cost. This webinar is sure to inspire journalists to rethink their own coverage of these issues and generate fresh ideas for reporting. 

August 21, 2013

Communities that lack good access to healthy fresh food likely struggle with significant health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Those same communities often don’t have safe environments for kids to play and for adults to exercise and can suffer from a disproportionate share of substandard housing and environmental hazards. 

At a time when researchers are mapping connections between physical environment and health, Reporting On Health presents a webinar that explores how environmental and social conditions impact health.

WHYY Senior Health Writer Taunya English and Rishi Manchanda, M.D., helped us talk through the issues and story ideas. Click .

Image by Linda N. via

July 30, 2013

America's health care expansion will succeed or fail based on adoption rates by the uninsured. Many of them have never been part of the health insurance marketplace, so trying to bring the estimated 48 million uninsured into the fold in 2014 is no small task. 

Do the uninsured know that they are required to buy health insurance? Who will reach out to them and show them how to apply? Are they eligible for their state’s Medicaid program?  How much will the exchange premiums cost and will federal subsidies make them affordable?

March 05, 2013

President Obama intended to make government-subsidized insurance for the poor through Medicaid a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. But in June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not force states to expand their programs. Now each state must decided whether to grow its Medicaid rolls, turning what once seemed like a story about process into a high-stakes game of political brinksmanship. Is it worth it for states to forgo generous federal subsidies for the expansion in order to hold steadfast in opposition to "Obamacare?" Even once strident opponents of the ACA have relented rather than turn down vast sums that would subsidize a historic expansion. Where does your state stand? And what are the stories you can tell about it?

This webinar addressed key issues for reporters as states move forward with their decisions. Each choice has consequences for politicians, implementers, medical providers, and patients -- and for the health of communities.

November 08, 2012

What happens to health and health reform after Barack Obama's re-election? Reporting on Health brought together an expert panel to offer insights, story ideas and predictions on the road ahead for healthcare in America. We see the fate of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement as one of the most important post-election stories and want to provide you with resources for great local and national storytelling.

July 11, 2012

This webinar gave listeners a chance to hear about and discuss the new models for care that Dr. Jeffrey Brenner and others are inventing. Dr. Brenner has developed a system that's tackling two of health care's most intrinsic problems: cost and quality of care. Celebrated in a New Yorker article by Dr. Atul Gawande and in an accompanying FRONTLINE documentary, this pioneering practitioner is trying to reinvent the nation’s fragmented and inefficient way of caring for the sick. Doctors and hospitals currently profit from the revolving door of visits made by the sickest. Dr. Brenner aims to shake up the hospital-based culture of medicine.

The buzz words for such approaches – “accountable care organizations,” “medical homes” and “hot spotters” — are familiar only to those deeply versed in health care. But the stakes for success or failure with such approaches should be understood by everyone. The question confronting policy makers and clinicians now is whether the Affordable Care Act, recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, goes far enough to promote these radical changes in health care delivery. 

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