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Barbara Feder Ostrov's Health Journalism Blog

Medical Marijuana as A Workers Comp Treatment: Seriously?

Could medical marijuana really become a government-approved treatment for workers injured on the job?

Now that a California court has left the door open for that possibility, some experts think it’s only a matter of time. Which raises the specter of all kinds of interesting dilemmas for workers and employers: what if an injured employee uses medical marijuana approved by his or her worker’s comp doctor – and then fails a drug test?

A Nurse-Doctor "Scope of Practice" Spat: It's Really About Rural Health Care

To most reporters, a recent lawsuit filed by California doctors to stop nurse specialists from administering unsupervised anesthesia looks like a yawn-worthy turf war over who gets to do what in medicine.

As far as I can tell, no mainstream California media outlet picked up the story. I can just see the thought bubbles (having been guilty of it myself in the past). That’s inside baseball. It’s not a local story, right?

Think again.

In a Health Affairs Interview, California Health Stories with National Implications

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.

Counties and the Health Care Safety Net: Shocking Secrets Revealed!

Many journalists trying to cover their county’s safety-net health care system find it confusing at first, what with its alphabet soup of DSH payments, FQHC and CHC clinics, SNCP funds and MISP programs.

Pharma and Insurance Concessions on Health Reform: What Now?

One question that’s getting lost in all the chatter after Scott Brown’s historic election and Nancy Pelosi ‘s defeated comments on health reform today is what’s going to happen to the concessions that the insurance and pharmaceutical industries offered last year as serious reform discussions were just getting underway.  The Wall St.

A Special Election in Massachusetts, and Health Reform Hangs in the Balance

UPDATE: 9:54 p.m., Jan. 19

The phrase "stunning upset" doesn't even begin to capture the national political shockwaves as Republican Scott Brown defeats Martha Coakley for the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat. The "what happens to health reform now?" political analysis below remains relevant. In the meantime, here's a quick roundup of the latest coverage and analysis:

Brains around the World: New Thinking on Mental Health Disparities

Some new research and reporting on global mental health and mental health disparities has me thinking about these topics in a new way. This is the kind of context that can add more nuance and sophistication to your reporting on mental health, particularly in ethnic minority and immigrant communities, so read on:

Deep Impact, 2010: Budget Cuts for California Health Programs

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed 2010-2011 state budget, released Jan. 8, met with the usual outrage from the state’s Democratic leaders for its dramatic cuts to health and social safety net programs. California Healthline offers a nice round-up of the media coverage here.

When Drugs Stop Working: Q&A with the AP's Martha Mendoza

I wrote earlier this week about "When Drugs Stop Working," a new series of articles on drug resistance around the world based on a six-month investigation by Associated Press reporters Margie Mason and Martha Mendoza.

Drug Resistance: AP Investigates A Globe Health Threat

Drug-resistant infections are one of the world’s biggest emerging health problems, but they don’t seem to get much sustained media attention except when there’s an outbreak of MRSA. That’s why a new series of articles on drug resistance around the world, based on a six-month investigation by Associated Press reporters Margie Mason and Martha Mendoza, is so welcome.

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