Tags : state data

NY opens millions of records on state data portal

New York State this week announced the addition of millions of records to the state’s data transparency website, open.ny.gov, which launched during Sunshine Week of 2011. New York’s is one of 39 state open data sites, according to data.gov. At least 39 county and city governments have similar portals.

The records span multiple state agencies and include, according to the news release, includes the following records:

  • Campaign Contributions, Expenditures, and Committees: Over seven million
       records of campaign contributions and expenditures dating back to 1999,
       along with a complete list of candidate committees registered with the ...
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Supreme Court says Virginia can limit FOIA to state residents

The U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously today that the state of Virginia had the power to restrict public records access to residents of that state. Virginia limits freedom of information requests to its own residents and certain media outlets.

The case reached the court after Rhode Island resident Mark J. McBurney and California resident Roger W. Hurlbert sued Virginia for blocking access to public documents that an in-state resident could obtain.

They contended that the state’s practice violated the Constitution’s Privileges and Immunities Clause and its Commerce Clause. The court ruled that Virginia’s FOIA law  “does ...

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Database helps show spread of foreign-trained docs

When I began covering health for The Bakersfield Californian, I frequently heard sources mention the high number of foreign-trained doctors serving the Central Valley.  So many of our county’s physicians, they said, had attended medical school overseas. Even within our newsroom, colleagues commented about their personal experience seeing international medical graduates for almost all of their medical care. We discussed how to cover a topic that seemed ripe for exploration – and especially relevant given the overall doctor shortage and recruiting challenges present in the valley – but too intangible to report in any substantial way.

Before we could do anything ...

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Behind the Story: An information gap in child abuse cases

There were signs of problems before 15-year-old Jeanette Maples died of starvation and abuse in Oregon in December 2009.  Although child services had been involved in the case, residents were shocked to find that Maples death had not been prevented.  Oregonian reporter Michelle Cole wanted to know what, if anything, could have been done to change the circumstances.  Through her investigation of the case, she uncovered problems with child welfare services that extend outside of Oregon and into national child welfare regulations.  The deficient child abuse monitoring system continues to affect cases across the United States.  

In Maples case, child ...

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Finding big-ticket bills in hospital data

 

I think most people are afraid of a hospital bill that bankrupts them. It’s why I pay more for a medical insurance plan with a cap on out-of-pocket costs and, more significantly, it’s one reason why so many uninsured or underinsured consumers avoid hospitals as long as they can.

Beyond that fear, there’s a public interest in minimizing the number of huge hospital bills. They cause insurance premiums to rise as costs are spread. They cause hospital charges for everyone to increase when uninsured patients don’t pay. And they deplete public treasuries as many large bills ...

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A look inside hospital discharge files

The right data can build the foundation of a great investigation, especially when it's used as a window into an area normally hidden from public view.

In our series "Do No Harm: Hospital Care in Las Vegas" for the Las Vegas Sun, Marshall Allen and I used hospital discharge records, available in some form in most states, to examine the quality of care patients received in Nevada.

Overall, the stories revealed some startling statistics on harm, infection and certain surgical misadventures for the very first time. Not only was it new information for Nevadans, counting the occurrence of falls ...

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Mapping, health data, show Utah's ashtma ghettos

Utah is considered one of the healthiest states in the country. We enjoy some of the lowest rates of smoking, binge drinking, preventable hospitalizations and cancer deaths.

But the state's relative good health masks the reality that Utah has some of the worst disparities when you look at health outcomes and access to healthcare by where people live, their income and their race and ethnicity.

The Salt Lake Tribune launched the series Healthy for Whom in January to explore why some neighborhoods are ghettos of poor health. The latest installment was about how certain neighborhoods have higher rates of ...

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CAR Anywhere: Payroll data reveals OT pay leaders

It's always nice to get a tip, but we found our local overtime pay leaders by goofing around in some online records. I came across an online database of public employee salaries offered by SeeThroughNY, a non-profit transparency portal.

And like any curious journalist, I pulled out our county government and sorted it top to bottom in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

This was not the typical payroll information we routinely get from government payroll offices. This database of 4,727 records originated from the state pension system, run by the state comptroller’s office. It wasn’t just a ...

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Web maps localize Iowa air pollution story

Des Moines Register reporters Chase Davis and Perry Beeman spent months compiling and making sense of data for a series on air pollution in Iowa. But, with more than 1,600 polluting facilities across the state, there simply wasn’t space in the stories to mention any but the most noteworthy. That’s where data editor James Wilkerson and digital projects editor Michael Corey came in. They developed an interactive map that allowed users to see information about the facilities near them. "It localized the story to basically every community in Iowa," Davis said of the map. It also gave ...

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