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Managing editor's memo notes recent 'indispensable' coverage

February 16, 2009 | 10:46 am

Here's a memo to staff from Managing Editor Davan Maharaj about recent reporting in The Times:

Comrades,

Take a look at just a few of our recent stories to see how the Los Angeles Times remains a relevant and indispensable part of our readers' lives.

• During the weekend, Molly Hennessy-Fiske reported how the county billed hefty fees to thousands of parents and guardians for each day a youth spent in county detention. Many parents/guardians, including several on public assistance, couldn't afford to pay. After Molly's inquiries, probation officials imposed a temporary moratorium on such fees.

• For months, Garrett Therolf has been examining how the county hired employees with criminal backgrounds for its troubled hospital system. The work required a lot of digging, with a big assist from Karlene Goller. But the result has been a series of stories showing how the county has failed to keep workers with criminal records out of the health care system. Garrett reported on a convicted rapist who worked at County USC before finally being fired last year. After the story ran, Garrett learned the man ended up getting a job at a county health clinic.

• Back in 2005, Robin Fields, Jack Leonard and Evelyn Larrubia produced a series about how a lack of regulation in California's conservation system led to significant abuses. The stories prompted the state to establish a licensing system for conservators, which took effect in January. This weekend, Jack and Evelyn reported that one of California's top conservators -- who was highlighted in the series -- was denied a license and is now the subject of a grand jury probe.

• Two stories last week by Lisa Girion highlight her tremendous accomplishments covering health insurance.  Lisa's reporting has prompted investigations by the state, new protections from the Legislature and more recently fines and refunds to patients. On Wednesday, she reported that Anthem Blue Cross, the state's largest for-profit health insurer, has agreed to pay a $1-million fine and offer new coverage -- no questions asked -- to 2,330 people it dropped after they submitted bills for expensive medical care. On Thursday, Lisa delivered more results, reporting that Woodland Hills insurer Health Net agreed to pay as much as $15 million to settle two lawsuits brought on behalf of 800 former policyholders whose coverage was dropped. In all, the company agreed to pay more than $40 million to resolve the regulatory actions and litigation over rescission.

This list of stories is by no means exhaustive but a mere sampling of the great journalism that continues to be done in our pages and website. Our coverage of the state budget, the stimulus and recession is first rate (ck out today's Janet Hook analysis, the On The Edge A1 package, the Biz recession guide and Steve Lopez's column, among others). We continue to produce standout work in every section.

Our recent stories show what our journalists do best: deliver for readers daily.

Thanks much.

Davan   

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