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Be Well

Be Well: Must Reads On Infant Mortality, Obamacare

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 7:35 AM

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Taking a break from her own reporting, ideastream's health reporter Sarah Jane Tribble sits down with Morning Edition Host Rick Jackson to chat about what she's been reading from the wide world of health.

Tackling the death of babies

Finding that Detroit and Cleveland have the highest infant mortality and pre-term birth rates of any major cities in the nation, the Detroit News published a two-day package in late January exploring the causes and some possible solutions.

The News, in a packaged entitled “Surviving through age 18 in Detroit,” writes that “consequences of premature births and violence are killing Detroit kids at a higher rate than any U.S. city its size or larger.”

Detroit News Reporter Karen Bouffard, whose project was part of the National Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism, said she hopes the package will help change the numbers.

“There’s just been a slow sort of erosion of supports that started decades ago, that’s continued over time. And what I think people feel has happened is a patchwork quilt of band aids that different foundations and agencies come in and try to work. But they are saying we can’t do it all. There needs to be a bigger effort and more social supports for this population,” Bouffard says.

Bouffard’s package includes some videos of doctors and mothers and manages to give a very human look to really tough social issues that are entrenched in both Detroit and Cleveland. The package can be found here.

Catching with the latest of the Affordable Care Act

Last week, federal regulators announced that the deadline was still March 31 but folks could get extensions if they already started but hadn’t completed the process.

AP reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar provides a nice explainer on the new extension with details of who qualifies for extensions and how. Applicants must have begun the process on the exchange Web site to get the extension, though it is not clear exactly how federal regulators will check who started and did not. The online applications must be complete by sometime in mid-April.  Paper applications are due by April 7. This story can be found here.

Other stories

“Insult to Injury: A Times Investigation,” by the Tampa Bay Times. This package includes pictures, stories, interactive graphics and more on the high bills being charged by Florida trauma centers. It can be seen here.

Additional Information

Want to look at the latest infant mortality data?

Bouffard’s reporting focused on the Kids Count data, which can be found here.

The March of Dimes also releases city-specific data, here.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer on infant mortality is here

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Health, Be Well, Be Well Podcast

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