Sources and updates, May 1

  • Nursing Home Inspect (ProPublica): ProPublica recently published a major investigation into medical exemptions to COVID-19 vaccines among nursing home workers, finding that high numbers of workers are claiming these exemptions even though the actual, medical reasons causing someone to be ineligible for vaccination are fairly limiting. Along with the investigation, the newsroom added staff COVID-19 vaccination data to its Nursing Home Inspect database, which allows users to compare nursing homes based on negative inspection reports and other deficiencies.
  • Neighborhood Atlas: One source I learned about at the health journalists’ conference this weekend is the Neighborhood Atlas tool from researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The atlas maps out metrics that put neighborhoods—i.e. Census block groups, a geographical level much more granular than counties—at a health disadvantage, including income, education, employment, and housing.
  • Access to hospital services for minority groups: Another source from the AHCJ conference: this February 2022 paper and corresponding dataset, measuring how far different minority communities across the country have to go to access hospital services. Over half of rural Native American communities are more than 30 miles from the closest intensive care unit, said Dr. Mary-Katherine McNatt in a talk introducing this source.
  • KFF’s State Health Facts: Also at the conference, Juliette Cubanski from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) gave a presentation on the organization’s data tools and resources for journalists, focusing on Medicare data. One broadly useful KFF tool is the State Health Facts dashboard, which enables journalists and researchers to search through over 800 health indicators at the state level. These indicators are frequently updated with the most recent data.
  • Nursing home staffing reports: COVID-19 revealed how unprepared America’s nursing homes were for a health crisis. In a panel discussing this issue, Richard Mollot from the Long Term Care Community Coalition (a nonprofit that advocates for better long-term care) shared some data from his organization, highlighting drops in staffing during the pandemic that have not yet been recovered.

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