The Kaiser Media Fellowships in Health Reporting
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. Three of these site visits have taken place so far, starting in California (May 2011), then in Texas (November 2011), followed by a site visit in Massachusetts in May 2012. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.