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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.

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.