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  Geri Aston
Professional/Personal Overview
  I am a Chicago-based journalist who has covered health care for 20 years, first as a reporter, then as an editor and now as a freelancer. My specialties are policy reporting, health care quality, hospital issues and general health topics. I'm experienced in news, feature and editorial writing, as well as editing. I'm skilled at taking complex subjects and making them accessible to readers. I can write for any audience, from doctors and hospital CEOs to consumers. I enjoy both hard-hitting pieces and light, consumer-oriented articles. Although health care is my area of expertise, I'm versatile enough to write about almost any subject. Indeed, my general assignment work in Florida ranged in topic from education to insects.
Work Info
Editor 5 Years
Writer 22 Years
Education 2 Years
Government 14 Years
Health 20 Years
Total Media Industry Experience
22 Years
Media Client List (# assignments last 2 yrs)
Hospitals & Health Networks (6-10), Materials Management in Health Care (3-5), American Medical News (3-5)
Corporate Client List (# assignments last 2 yrs)
National Quality Forum (1-2)
Other Work History
American Medical News, government editor, 1999-2008; American Medical News, Washington reporter, 1996-1999; AHA News, reporter, 1992-1996; Vero Beach (FL) Press-Journal, education and general assignment reporter, 1989-1991; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reporting intern, 1989
Freelancer Availability
I freelance full-time. I live near Chicago, IL. I am willing to travel locally. I have a driver's license. I have access to a car.
Work Samples
(Hospitals & Health Networks, 12/1/2013)
New and emerging treatment plans are abandoning long-held ideas and becoming much more targeted to diabetes patients' individual needs. But a personalized approach could make quality measurement and pay-for-performance more complicated.
(Hospitals & Health Networks, 7/1/2013)
The effort to prevent early elective deliveries is just one of many quality initiatives in which hospitals with labor and delivery units are engaging not only to improve patient care, but to keep pace with a payment system that is shifting from payment for volume to payment for value.
(Hospitals & Health Networks, 6/1/2012)
Hospitals perform 10 million inpatient and 17 million outpatient surgeries, virtually all of which require some form of pain management. The huge patient volume and the push toward tying payment to patient satisfaction is focusing hospital executives' attention on the quality of pain management.
(Hospitals & Health Networks, 2/1/2012)
Given hospital and ER overcrowding, squeezed Medicare pay, and payer audits and denials, hospitals must utilize each inpatient bed to the fullest extent. That means not admitting patients who could have been seen safely in a different setting. For some patients, that setting is an observation unit.
(Hospitals & Health Networks, 12/1/2011)
By 2050 the number of Americans 65 and older is expected to double to nearly 90 million and the number 85 and older to more than triple to 19 million. Are hospitals ready for the influx of elderly patients these figures portend? Unfortunately, the answer often is no.
(Hospitals & Health Networks, 9/1/2011)
Hospitals are bucking conventional wisdom that acute patients are too ill for PT, and integrating it into care earlier and more thoroughly.
(American Medical News, 4/4/2011)
Of all the balancing acts the federal government will need to perform under the health system reform law, one of the most consequential may be deciding how to define the essential benefits that must be offered by all plans in state health insurance exchanges.
(Economist Intelligence Unit, 11/1/2010)
Healthcare systems and governments worldwide are trying to curb rising costs while improving patient care and outcomes. This has led to a growing interest in healthcare integration. Supporters of integration say that, properly managed, it can yield a healthier population and save money.
(Trustee, 11/1/2010)
Demand for primary care physicians is about to skyrocket at a time when there aren't enough to go around. So hospitals need to make themselves as attractive as possible to maintain this vital link to patient referrals and care management.
(ENT Today, 9/1/2010)
Now that health reform has passed, medical societies are doubling their efforts to get Congress to repeal the physician payment formula and to introduce a system in which annual payment updates reflect changes in the cost of practicing medicine.
(Hospitals & Health Networks, 4/1/2010)
The next decade is expected to bring a raft of medical advances that not only will vastly improve patient care but change how that care is delivered. This article delves into clinical advancements predicted in diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
(Hospitals & Health Networks, 11/1/2009)
The $1.1 billion in new federal funding for comparative effectiveness research presents opportunities but also challenges for hospitals. The federal government has made it clear that hospitals must play a role in conducting the research and ensuring that the findings make their way into practice.