After a seven-month legal battle, the courts ruled and then Ohio Department of Health continued to stall. I was super frustrated. Each email from ODH angered me. You see, I was a wrier on the Eye on Ohio project that aimed to report hospital capacity numbers for the public during this COVID-19 pandemic. Our whole team was tired and frustrated for having to continue to argue with the ODH lawyer to gain access to what the courts had confirmed was public record.
I decided to write an op-ed. I am a freelance writer but I’m also a columnist on the Editorial Board of the Cincinnati Enquirer. So, I wrote the op-ed linked below to specifically call out the Socrates Tuch, the ODH Lawyer who insisted on giving us a hard time. The op-ed appeared on Saturday, November 21, 2020.
Read that Op-Ed Here:
Opinion: Ohio Department of Health needs to release hospital data
Despite a court order, Ohio Department of Health officials are slow to release data on the number of beds and ventilators available across the state.
The following Monday, November 23, 2020, ODH Press Secretary Melanie Amato sent an email that stated:
Here is the latest information on your public records request. Moving forward, please send your requests to me for I will be supplying you with the information. Please stop sending to the legal counsel for they have other things to continue to work on. I appreciate the help.
Magically the data we requested started rolling in and Socrates Tuch was taken out of the loop.
Now, the citizens of Ohio have a clear understanding of what the hospitals in their state are facing with COVID-19. Click the link below to check on the capacity of each hospital that is reporting data. It will help individual communities cope with what’s happening in their area.
Ohio’s Hospital Capacity Data in Ten Charts
Interactive: Explore Newly Released Hospital Data This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Updated: Additional data from Nov. 21-24 released on Nov. 27. Ohio’…
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is an award-winning freelance writer and columnist. She is the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, member of the Cincinnati Enquirer Editorial Board, and a board member for the Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives with her family in Northern Kentucky. Find her on social media @WriterBonnie.
Despite an October 20 court order issued by the Ohio Court of Claims, the Ohio Department of Health still had not released complete records as of late Wednesday night, claiming they needed several days to release information from a database that is updated daily. Read the full story below.
Ohio Department of Health delays full records release despite court order
33 hospitals report they have no critical care bed and/or medical/surgery bed for adult patients on October 30 This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Despit…
This came after winning the court battle for access to important hospital data. Read that story below:
After seven month legal battle, Eye on Ohio wins public records lawsuit over hospital capacity numbers
Court of Claims Rules that the Ohio Department of Health must disclose the number of beds and other equipment available This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reportin…
This all started seven months ago when we first tried to report data in real time as a service to the public during a pandemic. Our attempts were blocked by ODH. Read that story below
Ohio hospitals remain mum on changes to local bed and ventilator counts; uncertainty affects local patients
The Ohio Department of Health gets daily updates on the total number of beds and ventilators that could be available for COVID-19 patients at hospitals throughout the state. But so far the agency hasn’t provided any hospital-by-hospital breakdown, and the agencies that collect capacity information o…
Read more pandemic Coverage from Bonnie Jean Feldkamp HERE.
The Coronavirus Pandemic has transferred everything online making internet crucial in the home. This means that for children with special needs, even some therapies needed to switch to online “teletherapies” which required another layer of adjustments. But for those who don’t have internet access, or those in rural communities who must rely on data, it meant therapy was expensive or all together unrealistic.
An innovative and technological future that provides services during extreme times while underscoring services regularly, is an ideal that comes at a cost to populations already underserved.
Read my linked below. I talked to Clinical experts as well as education experts about this very real Internet inequity for the Appalachian region of Kentucky and what professionals and families are doing to bridge the gaps now and into the future.
When School and Therapy Go Online, Access to Internet Is Crucial for Children with Special Needs
Using technology to enhance education is normal for ten-year-old Cora Maddox from Boone County, Kentucky. She has severe apraxia which her mom Angie Maddox said “is like being trapped in your own mind.” Cora understands everything that’s said to her, Angie explains, but when her brain tells her mou…