Health writers honor reporting from the Globe and WGBH #boston #health

 Lots of organizations give out journalism awards, but these count. The Association of Health Care Journalists this year honors amazing reporting on organ trafficking, end-of-life care, dying hospitals and elder abuse. The list of winners is inspirational.  

The beat reporting prize goes the Boston Globe’s Kay Laser. Well-deserved. From the site.

 Kay Lazar’s 2010 Body of Work; The Boston GlobeLazar’s entry included stories about:

  •   Antipsychotic medications given to patients in nursing homes and the risks for patients that have dementia
  • The impact of earlier coverage of this issue: state regulators and industry leaders formed a task force and launched an educational campaign to reduce the inappropriate use of the medications.
  • An unintended consequence of Massachusetts’ pioneering health care reform law
  • The widespread practice of no-bid contracts in the Massachusetts Medicaid procurement system and the $400,000-plus salaries of officials involved in the contracting process.

 See the stories on the Web:

 Judges’ comments:

  Kay Lazar of the Boston Globe, for the range and depth of her health policy coverage, and its measurable impact. Her reporting on no-bid contracts for Medicaid and on “gamers” who exploited a loophole in Massachusetts’ universal health coverage law exposed costly problems and drew responses from state regulators and lawmakers. Her reporting on excessive use of antipsychotic drugs in state nursing homes prompted regulatory review and new training. Her news feature story about a storeowner with early-onset Alzheimer illustrated the impact of a devastating disease and the genetic testing quandary facing family members.

WGBH also brought home a first prize to radio reporting.

First Place: Rationing Health: Who Lives? Who Decides?; David Baron, Patrick Cox, Sheri Fink, WGBH-Boston

In 2010, PRI’s The World reported from South Africa, Great Britain, Zambia and India to examine how other governments manage the costs of delivering health services to the public. Each country, with its unique economic and cultural environment, provided an opportunity to spotlight different approaches to the challenge of rationing scarce health care resources: explicit rationing by committee, rationing by cost effectiveness, unintentional rationing, and innovation to avoid rationing altogether. The series, the result of a more than half-year reporting and editing effort, was presented along with a website and opportunities for interaction via Twitter and online discussions. See the story on the web.

 

Judges’ comments:

The terrific series addressed one of the hottest 2010 election topics in a different and fascinating way by looking at the realities faced in other parts of the world.

I was hooked by the first characters – doctors deciding who will get life-saving dialysis in South Africa.
It was clever to not start with the obvious – the much demonized British system – but smart not to wait beyond part 2 to address this country as well. Parts 3 & 4 were also very intriguing and the analysis in the final part was a nice way to button up the series without belaboring the points already made in the previous episodes. Great job. 

 

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