Members receive free health columns

Trudy Lieberman
Trudy Lieberman

An HSPA Foundation partnership will allow member newspapers to run columns on national health issues at no cost.

Indiana newspapers will receive the bi-weekly pieces, written by Columbia Journalism Review contributing editor Trudy Lieberman, through the end of the year.

The columns will address national health news that impacts readers at a personal level. HSPA will email them to editors.

The Commonwealth Fund in Washington, D.C., provides them through a grant program, and the HSPA Foundation committed $1,000 in matching funds to distribute them to Indiana newspapers.

For many papers, staffing and lack of expertise make it difficult to cover national health issues, said Steve Key, executive director and general counsel for the Hoosier State Press Association.

“The Foundation’s effort allows papers to share important news that can assist readers who are trying to make decisions concerning the Affordable Care Act, Medicare or other health care issues,” Key said.

Lieberman, a journalist for 40 years, is an adjunct associate professor of public health at Hunter College in New York. She’s a longtime contributor at the Columbia Journalism Review and a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health.

She had a long career at Consumer Reports specializing in insurance, health care and health care financing. She began her career as a consumer writer for the Detroit Free Press.

HSPA is joining the program that already distributes the Rural Health News Service columns through the press associations of Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota.

The first column to be distributed next week discusses insurance Explanation of Benefits questions.

What does your insurance pay for? And how can you tell? Lieberman delves into those sometimes confusing EOBs.

Key said the new membership benefit, similar to the story-sharing website, opens up quality content for member newspapers at no cost. This allows editors to maximize staff time to focus on local stories.

The Commonwealth Fund, founded in 1918 by philanthropist Anna M. Harkness, promotes a high-performing health care system with better access, quality and efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minorities, children and the elderly.

If you have any questions about this new service, contact Key at (317) 624-4427.