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The Kaiser Media Fellowships in Health Reporting

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Since 2011, the fellowship program has focused on the ways that different states are implementing the Affordable Care Act, and the implications of policy decisions for health care providers and patients. The fellowship program provides a week-long site visit and in-depth state-specific briefings for invited health and health policy journalists, with invitations tailored to the topics and issues addressed. Six of these site visits have taken place so far, starting in California (May 2011), Texas (November 2011), and Massachusetts (May 2012) followed by a site visit in Florida in November 2013, Washington State in June 2014, and Georgia in October 2014. Many of the participating journalists did stories during the site visit or subsequently based on the briefings and presentations, and links to this reporting can be found below. State-specific background materials produced for each site visit by Kaiser Foundation policy staff are also posted.

2016 Kaiser Media Fellowships Louisiana Site Visits

In June 2016, the Foundation invited a group of journalists with a strong focus on health policy and state health reform to participate in a week-long fellowship program focused on health care in Louisiana, as it prepared to become the first state in the Deep South to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. The site visits in Baton Rouge and New Orleans gave the journalists the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders on replicable, inexpensive strategies for enrolling 375,000 people in Medicaid over a tight time frame; changes to the state’s model for providing care to low-income and uninsured people; technological advances for managing patient health; and collaborative partnerships in health care. The program included briefings by Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana’s health secretary Rebekah Gee, Louisiana Medicaid Expansion Project Director Ruth Kennedy, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, as well as visits to Medicaid enrollment centers and primary care clinics established after Hurricane Katrina. The journalists also toured facilities of three of the state’s major health systems, where executives provided updates on the anticipated impact of Medicaid expansion and on the health care environment post Katrina.

2015 Kaiser Media Fellowships Wisconsin Site Visits

In October 2015, the Foundation invited a group of journalists with a strong focus on health policy and state health reform to participate in a week-long fellowship program focused on health care in Wisconsin. The site visits in Milwaukee and Madison gave the journalists the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders on access to health care and insurance, quality of care and cost containment, managing pediatric population health, redesigning care delivery, and collaborative partnerships in health care. The program included a full-day briefing — led by Epic Systems Corp. founder and CEO Judy Faulkner at the company’s headquarters — on the role of electronic health record systems and their implications for health policy. Wisconsin’s health secretary and Medicaid director gave an update on the state’s approach to providing coverage to low-income residents while not implementing the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

2015 Kaiser Media Fellowships Pennsylvania Site Visits

In May 2015, the Foundation invited a group of journalists with a strong focus on health policy and state health reform to participate in a week-long fellowship program focused on how the Affordable Care Act is shaping Pennsylvania’s health care environment. The site visits in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh gave the journalists the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders on health care costs, health insurance enrollment and access, innovations in clinical care delivery, and health care market consolidation. The program included in-person interviews with the CEOs of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highmark Health — two companies locked in battle over Pittsburgh’s insurance and provider market — as well as a discussion with some of their customers. The visits also covered a range of issues including the challenges of providing care for the uninsured and underinsured, the implications of the change in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid expansion model, and future alternatives for the state’s health insurance marketplace.

2014 Kaiser Media Fellowships Georgia Site Visits

In October 2014, the Foundation invited a group of journalists with a strong focus on health policy and state health reform to participate in a week-long fellowship program focused on how the Affordable Care Act is shaping Georgia’s health care environment. The site visits in Atlanta gave the journalists the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders on financing health care, health insurance premiums and health plan networks, access to care in urban and rural communities across the state, and the impact of demographic change on health care needs. The program covered a range of issues including the challenges of providing care for the uninsured or underinsured, the implications of Georgia’s decision not to move forward with Medicaid expansion, providing care for Georgia’s rural population, and the work being done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

2014 Kaiser Media Fellowships Washington Site Visits

In June 2014, the Foundation invited a group of journalists with a strong focus on health policy and state health reform to participate in a week-long fellowship program focused on how the Affordable Care Act is shaping Washington State’s health care environment. The site visits in Seattle gave journalists the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders, including leading State health policy officials. The program covered a range of issues including enrollment in the WA Health Benefit Exchange and ongoing website-related challenges; the unexpectedly high enrollment in WA Apple Health, the state Medicaid plan, and implications for providers and community clinics; the adequacy of insurance plan provider networks; and zip code-based health, economic and racial disparities.

2013 Kaiser Media Fellowships Florida Site Visits

In November 2013, the Foundation invited a group of journalists with a strong focus on health policy and state health reform to participate in a week-long fellowship program focused on how the Affordable Care Act is shaping Florida’s health care environment. The site visits in Miami gave journalists the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders, including former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, hospital leaders, insurance executives, community health leaders, and ACA certified application counselors. The program covered a range of issues including the State’s decision not to expand Medicaid, efforts to enroll Florida residents in the health insurance marketplace, providing care for Florida’s ethnically diverse and aging population, and the statewide rollout of Medicaid managed care.

2012 Kaiser Media Fellowships Massachusetts Site Visits

In May 2012 the Kaiser Media Fellows – journalists with a strong focus on health policy and state health reform – were invited to participate in a week-long program focused on containing health care costs, the impact of almost universal health insurance coverage in Massachusetts, and how the Affordable Care Act relates to Massachusetts’ state health reform law. The site visits in Boston and Cambridge gave journalists the opportunity to hear from a variety of experts and stakeholders, including state health officials, health policy analysts, academics, community clinic staff members and legislative staff. The program focused on a range of issues including the establishment and operation of Massachusetts’ health benefit exchange, initiatives to improve the delivery of health care and reduce costs, the role of Accountable Care Organizations in the local Boston community, and the public health and access to care implications of demographic changes in Boston.

2011 Kaiser Media Fellowships Texas Site Visits

Based in Austin, Waco, and Dallas, the November 2011 site visits offered journalists the opportunity to meet with a variety of experts and stakeholders in a week-long program focused on health care and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Texas. Journalists met with state health officials, health policy analysts, academics, community clinic staff members and legislative staff. The program focused on a range of issues including the demographics in Texas and their implication for health care, Medicaid in Texas and the 1115 Waiver, and access to health care and the performance of health care safety net systems in Texas.

2011 Kaiser Media Fellowships California Site Visits

The first site visit in May 2011 focused on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in California. Journalists with a strong focus on health policy, state health reform, and/or California-specific policy issues were invited to participate in a week-long program. Based initially in San Francisco and later in Sacramento, the program offered journalists the opportunity to meet with a variety of stakeholders concerned with the implementation of health reform, including officials from the California Health and Human Services Agency, health policy experts, physicians, community clinic staff members and legislative staff. The program focused on a range of issues including the establishment of the California health benefit exchange, the state’s “Bridge to Reform” 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waiver, Healthy San Francisco, initiatives to improve the delivery of health care and reduce medical costs, and projects addressing physician shortages in the Medicaid program.

Previous Fellows and Their Work

Prior to 2011, in addition to  site visits and briefings, the Media Fellows program provided a group of up to ten selected journalists with a fellowship of several months to undertake individual health policy reporting projects.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.