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California,United States

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We’re Number 6! Hurray!

There has been quite a flurry of quick-hit news stories about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s health rankings of the nation’s counties. Apparently, at one point on the day they were released, “county health rankings” was the top search term in Google News.

Too bad a number of these stories were boosterish (or defensive) pieces, devoid of context, about where individual counties ranked in comparison to the one next door.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

Veteran journalist Dan Weintraub today launches a new website dedicated to helping Californians better understand and talk about public health and community health, broadly defined. Supported by The California Endowment, the state’s largest health philanthropy (which also supports ReportingonHealth), HealthyCal.org will also examine land use, transportation, poverty, food and criminal justice issues as they relate to health.

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When the FDA seized 77 ozone generators from Applied Ozone Systems in Auburn, California recently, it was a reminder to health writers to ask tough questions about unproven medical techniques being touted as miracle cures.

Here are five musts for stories about ozone therapy and similar treatments.

Picture of William Heisel

The Medical Board of California had been warned repeatedly about an obstetrician with a history of patient deaths and allegations of negligence, but, instead of taking action, the board appointed him to supervise a doctor who had been found negligent in the death of two children.

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There was a collective cry of alarm this week to news that the Medical Board of California had mishandled the case of a physician accused of negligence in the abortion-related death of a patient.

I wrote about the Dr. Andrew Rutland case on Tuesday, detailing how the medical board had appointed a doctor who had been disciplined by the board to oversee Rutland, in violation of the board’s own policies. Here is what happened next:

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A new Health Affairs interview with California HealthCare Foundation CEO Dr. Mark Smith caught my eye because if you read closely, you can find some intriguing new story ideas for journalists interested in health.

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The Medical Board of California broke its own rules and appointed a doctor who had been disciplined by the board to oversee the practice of an obstetrician now accused of negligence in a patient death.

Antidote reviewed records from both the medical board investigation and the criminal investigation into the care that Dr. Andrew Rutland gave a Chinese immigrant who died in his office in October 2009. The records underscore lapses in physician discipline that persisted years after scores of government and media investigations.

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In California alone, nearly 4 million working people lack health insurance. Many of them are young, educated professionals who freelance or work part time. These are the invisible uninsured, our neighbors and friends. Often, lacking health care is their uncomfortable secret.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll hear some of the stories of this group. Today, KALW’s Zoe Corneli reports on educated young adults who make the choice to live without health insurance.

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The FDA has been cracking down on companies claiming they can cure deadly diseases with unproven technologies, reminding health writers everywhere to be skeptical of the latest fads in alternative medicine.

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In this webinar, will look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a terrifying new reality for domestic violence victims, how organizations and authorities are trying to innovate in response, and how reporters can cover the story in their community. Sign-up here!

The 2020 National Fellowship is going online!Got a great idea for a reporting project on the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable families or health disparities?  We'll help fund it, and provide you with five days of virtual training in July, plus six months of mentoring. Click here for more information.

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