As I approach my 28th year with The Roanoke Times, I am still a rookie when it comes to two things: Blogging and health care coverage.
So please bear with me as I attempt to cover the beat, and maintain this blog, as well as Sarah has done over the past five years.
Although a newcomer to the beat, I have produced stories in the past as a courts and general assignment reporter that touched on medical issues. I’ve written about prescription drug abuse, health care fraud, how the shortage of beds in mental hospitals caused a backlog of psychiatric patients in emergency rooms, and Carilion Clinic’s practice of collecting unpaid medical bills through thousands of court actions, sometimes mistakenly suing patients who should have qualified for charity care.
I’ve also done some feature stories, such as this piece about Carilion’s Physicians on Foot program to encourage patients to exercise more.
As I start the new beat, I’m looking forward to hearing your story ideas and suggestions.