2023 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium Newsroom finalist

KFF Health News

About the Project

We have a saying around here at KFF Health News: “We’re like the little rabbit at the greyhound racetrack. We get the dogs running faster and in the right direction.” We are small, but we punch way above our weight in providing health care news that is original, analytical, impactful and, most of all, people-oriented.

Since our creation 14 years ago, we have hired top-notch reporters and editors who report and edit stories with the sole purpose of giving them away to any and all news organizations. Back then, we saw that the hollowing out of news organizations frequently meant health care news was sacrificed. We remain committed to supplying news deserts with a steady stream of reliable and accurate stories.

Whereas we used to focus solely on newsletters and digital articles, we now use radio, podcasts, TV, online video, and every form of social media to pump information out to Americans. We have a long-standing and deep relationship with NPR, which collaborated with KFF Health News on our groundbreaking examination of medical debt in America. More recently, we started working with the various arms of CBS News on investigations, providing on-air news analysis and even a weekly minute of information for its radio stations to reach new audiences.

Other recent innovations: We developed several newsletters that appear monthly on LinkedIn to reach audiences leaving Twitter. We regularly post informative videos on TikTok and Instagram, several of which proved quite popular.

Perhaps what we are proudest of is our deeper cooperation with smaller media outfits across America. We hired reporters to cover health news in rural areas and located them in places closer to that news. We established successful collaborations with news organizations in Montana and Colorado and are replicating the model in the South, as well as with Black and Hispanic news organizations.

We created an exhaustive database on hospital billing practices and encouraged other news organizations to freely use it. We did the same with a database on how states are using billions of dollars from opioid manufacturers to settle lawsuits over their role in the overdose epidemic.

We are happy to say that we recognize our impact. Our investigation of a dental appliance has prompted the FDA to also investigate it. We drew enough attention to the problem of medical debt that the White House has taken notice and begun to act. That series recently won a NICHM award for digital excellence. Our “Bill of the Month” series, in which we collaborate with NPR to dissect an absurd medical bill each month, focused attention on surprise medical bills and led other news organizations to examine hospital billing practices.

As the little rabbit of health care, that makes us very happy.