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Health Matters Webinar Series

Upcoming

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.

Previous Webinars

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 Whether from leaching water systems, contaminated soil, or outdated housing stock, exposure to lead can inflict irreversible damage on children’s brains, leading to lower IQs, learning deficits and behavioral disorders.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.

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?

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Announcements

Congratulations to the Seattle Times, which has received a national Edward R. Murrow Award for Hard News for a video produced for 2015 National Fellow JoNel Aleccia’s Fellowship project about a cluster of fatal birth defects in several counties in Washington. Click here to watch the video.

Despite the hype, does paying for performance actually work? This webinar will tour the evidence and take a hard look at claims that it’s a panacea for boosting health care quality and curbing spending. Find info & register here.

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