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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

Self-Interest: Cost of physician self-referral could be better spent

The practice of physicians "self-referring" patients to facilities in which they or their families have a financial stake has dramatically increased in some specialties. The practice increases health costs for procedures and tests that are of questionable benefit to patients.

Self-Interest: More docs recommending care that benefits doctors and their families

A series of reports has found that physicians who "self-refer" are following their financial interests and not always the best interests of their patients. The trend is driving up health care costs and potentially putting patients at risk from unnecessary services.

Well Sourced: Find the history behind health care professionals

There are a range of agencies involved in licensing and disciplining the health care professionals who do the bulk of the work in clinics, hospitals, and other health care settings. Here's how to start tracking down records that can raise red flags and lead to compelling stories.

Well Sourced: State medical boards can illuminate shadowy practices

Every state has some agency that oversees the licensing of physicians. And in those files are dozens of stories you should be writing about. Here's how to start using licensing and discipline records to find story leads and strengthen your reporting.

Toxic Treats: Your favorite candy may be chock full of lead

Valentine's Day is over, but questions over lead and other heavy metals in chocolate and candy are still around. And while "cocoa puff stories" are the norm around this time of year, some excellent reporting is keeping the spotlight on this bittersweet issue.

Well Sourced: Bankruptcy files can reveal health care battles and bad medicine

They say money talks, but so does anger. That’s why it pays to spend some time in bankruptcy court when you are looking for gripping tales on the health care beat. These resources and tips will get you on your way.

Well Sourced: Head to court to find smoking guns for your health story

If you're a health reporter looking for story leads and enriching details, consider ditching the office and heading down to the courthouse. Chances are good that if you are covering a health care entity with business history, it also has a court history. A few tips can help get you started.

Well Sourced: Map Medicare costs and types of care with Dartmouth Atlas

Do you use the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care in your reporting? If not, you're missing out on a great source of data on how the costs and quality of health care vary across regions. Contributor William Heisel explains how to best make use of this resource.

Medicare tries to improve health care by paying for quality

Medicare made a huge step forward this week in announcing that it would no longer pay for health care without taking into account whether the care was any good. The move could dramatically accelerate changes to how we pay for health care in this country.

Well Sourced: Strengthen your health reporting by using discharge data

Learning how to locate and use patient discharge data will make your reporting stronger and provide you with objective evidence for evaluating hospitals' claims. Such data can also lead to new story threads. Here's a quick-start guide.



Medicare recently announced big plans to tie half of all payments to performance by 2018. Is payment reform finally upon us, and could this help curb rising health care costs? Our expert panel will guide us through the changes and highlight innovations. For more info, click here.

We're looking for journalists who think big to apply for $2,000-$10,000 grants to report on health care reform, community health or vulnerable children, plus a 4 1/2 day training program. Click here for details.


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