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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

Everybody Hurts: To get doctors to track prescription drugs, Oklahoma had to compromise

Oklahoma is one of only a handful of states that require physicians to check a patient’s prescription history before prescribing potentially addictive drugs. How did Oklahoma enact this requirement when so many other states, such as California, have tried and failed?

Everybody Hurts: Oklahoma navigates politics to require pain pill checks

In April, the governor of Oklahoma signed a bill that requires doctors to check a state-run database of patients and prescriptions before writing a new prescription for addictive medications. That makes the state a national leader in efforts to track such prescriptions and curtail abuse.

Well Sourced: Organ transplants can yield more than just tear-jerkers

Organ transplants are increasing at a faster rate than the population in the U.S., but not all transplant programs are created equal. Knowing where to find the relevant data can help you dig deeper and explore regional variations in wait times and success rates.

Well Sourced: Find out whether local doctors are receiving adequate training

'Tis the season for thousands of would-be doctors to line up in caps and gowns and receive their degrees before heading off to residency programs. These programs are accredited by ACGME, a group you should know about — lost accreditation can be a big story.

Overlooked court case puts industry-friendly state medical boards on notice

State medical boards should transform themselves from boards composed mainly of doctors to a model where members of the general public occupy most of the board seats, according to consumer advocates. The push for change follows on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Well Sourced: Keep the door to the medical examiner’s office open

A strong relationship with the county coroner or medical examiner and an understanding of autopsies and forensic investigations will serve you well on the health beat. Here's how to make use of these resources, while still remaining empathetic to those grieving their loss.

Well Sourced: Use vital records to find patients, document trends

Death and birth records are crucial to public health and health reporting. They can help verify causes of death, point you to family members, or allow you to track larger public health trends. Here's how to start using them for your stories, if you aren't already.

The Markingson Files: Heads start to roll as clinical trial suicide revelations mount

The University of Minnesota is replacing the chairman of its psychiatry department following two scathing reviews of its safety protocols in research involving human subjects and its recruitment of a troubled man who later died by suicide in a schizophrenia drug trial.

Well Sourced: Think of the Joint Commission as a friendly beat cop

When reporting on hospitals, it pays to download and read the hospital’s Joint Commission report. These reports are an important first step in understanding the basic outlines of how a hospital is performing relative to others.

Top tips from AHCJ 2015 conference in Santa Clara

Contributing editor William Heisel looks back over last week's annual gathering of the Association of Health Care Journalists and shares some of his favorite tips and lessons from the bounty of panels and conversations on hand at the conference.

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Will the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on King v. Burwell dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its broad expansion of health coverage? Or will the law’s latest legal challenge ultimately be defeated? This webinar will illuminate the legal arguments at play; highlight the implications for patients, and outline compelling story ideas, however the court rules. More info here.

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Reporting on Underserved Communities



How can journalists and foundations collaborate to deepen and improve reporting on underserved communities? Our USC Annenberg School of Journalism program in collaboration with The California Endowment, the Wyncote Foundation and Media Impact Funders, convened 75 leaders from both fields.

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