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Press Releases / May 22, 2013

Winners Named in 2013 Health Care Journalism and Research Awards

Washington, DC – May 22, 2013 - The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the Nineteenth Annual Health Care Journalism and Research Awards. The contests are judged by independent panels of experts.

Print Journalism Award, General Circulation

Winner:
Fred Schulte, Joe Eaton, David Donald, Gordon Witkin, "Cracking the Codes" (series), The Center for Public Integrity.

This series uncovers a steady rise in complex and costly care billed to Medicare over the last decade, accounting for $11 billion or more in questionable fees. It notes that much of the increase is due to billing abuse known as upcoding, and that use of electronic health records and lax government oversight have contributed to the problem. The judges called the reporting "thorough" and "impactful," remarking on the "impressive numbers" that would be "impossible from a policy-making perspective to ignore."

Honorable Mention:
Geeta Anand, Betsy McKay, Gautam Naik, “TB: A Menace Returns” (series: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), The Wall Street Journal.

These reports reveal how drug-resistant tuberculosis was allowed to strengthen in India because tuberculosis patients were not routinely screened for drug resistance or treated accordingly. The authors also found that the U.S. and Europe are not well equipped to cope with the spread of the disease across continents. The judges praised the series for its enviously beautiful writing and important warning about a rising global health threat.

Print Journalism Award, Trade Publication

Winner:
Haydn Bush, “Health Care's Costliest 1%” (series: 2, 3), Hospitals & Health Networks.

This series takes a close look at health care's highest utilizing, most expensive patients. It explores strategies for improving efficiency in the delivery system and the implications for growing national spending on health care. The judges praised the series for its clear explanation of an important but challenging topic. They appreciated the way the writer used graphics and tight sidebars to delve into some of the more complicated drivers of cost, and they commented that this subject is a good one to return to again and again.

Television and Radio Journalism Award

Winner:
Jeff Fager (Executive Producer); Bill Owens (Executive Editor); Sam Hornblower, Michael Rey, Oriana Zill de Granados (Producers); Robert Zimet (Editor); Steve Kroft (Correspondent); "Cost of Admission," 60 Minutes, CBS.

This investigation exposes one hospital system's practice of pressuring doctors to admit patients regardless of medical need in order to boost revenue. The judges said the story was "executed to perfection" and praised its strong documentation, commenting that it "proved without a doubt what people suspect [is happening]." They also remarked on its market-driven impact on health care policy and practice, noting that because of the response to the report a "huge hospital chain is going to have to change its ways."

Research Award

Winner:
Jonathan D. Ketcham, Claudio Lucarelli, Eugenio J. Miravete, M. Christopher Roebuck, "Sinking, Swimming, or Learning to Swim in Medicare Part D," American Economic Review, October 2012.

This study advances research on beneficiary choices in Medicare Part D by demonstrating how enrollment decisions improve over time. The authors found that beneficiaries were able to learn quickly from past experience, significantly reducing their overspending between years one and two by switching to plans that better met their needs. The judges applauded the study's "modern econometric methods" and timely reminder "to pay attention to evolving knowledge" as we watch how people pick plans in the exchanges.


About the Awards

Established in 1993, the awards program recognizes the talented researchers and journalists who serve as catalysts for positive change by advancing and informing the health care policy debate. NIHCM's President and CEO, Nancy Chockley, explains, "NIHCM was founded with a mission to provoke new thinking and ideas. Through our awards, we recognize the tremendous contributions made by those in the fields of health care journalism and research who bring these new ideas to light and communicate them to the public." This year's competition brought in more than 300 entries. The winners were honored at NIHCM's Nineteenth Annual Research and Journalism Awards Dinner on May 21st in Washington, DC.

About NIHCM

NIHCM Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that conducts research on health care issues. The Foundation disseminates research findings and analyses that promote and enhance access to health care and the efficiency and effectiveness of health care services and delivery. Visit www.nihcm.org.

Contact

NIHCM Foundation
email:
(202) 296-4426
@NIHCMfoundation