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Charles Ornstein

Charles Ornstein

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Charles Ornstein is a senior reporter for ProPublica covering health care and the pharmaceutical industry.

In collaboration with Tracy Weber, Ornstein was a lead reporter on a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times titled "The Troubles at King/Drew" hospital that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service in 2005. His ProPublica series, with Tracy Weber, "When Caregivers Harm: California's Unwatched Nurses" was a finalist for a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Ornstein reported for the Times starting in 2001, in the last five years largely in partnership with Weber. Earlier, Ornstein spent five years as a reporter for the Dallas Morning News. He is a past president of the Association of Health Care Journalists and a former Kaiser Family Foundation media fellow.

Articles

Error: You Have No Payments from Pharma

Doctors checking a soon-to-be-unveiled federal website that will publicly list drug company payments are encountering error messages if they have not accepted industry money.

Why Are Obstetricians Among the Top Billers for Group Psychotherapy in Illinois?

Illinois leads the country in group psychotherapy sessions in Medicare, and some top billers aren’t mental health specialists. The state’s Medicaid program has cracked down, but federal officials have not.

Fanny Pack Mixup Unravels Massive Medicare Fraud Scheme

Two secretaries in a doctor’s office have pleaded guilty and a pharmacy owner faces charges in a scam that Medicare allowed to thrive for more than two years.

Medicare Billing Outliers Often Have Disciplinary Problems, Too

As news organizations analyze data on Medicare payments, doctors with disciplinary records keep popping up.

Medicare Taken For a Ride By Ambulance Companies in New Jersey

The Garden State costs Medicare more than any other state for ambulance rides per kidney dialysis patient. A new crackdown is set to start, but at one big dialysis center, ambulances remain everywhere.

Medicare Overpays Billions for Office Visits, Patient Evaluations

The findings by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services complement a recent ProPublica review that found many doctors bill for services very differently than their peers.

Following Abuses, Medicare Tightens Reins on Its Drug Program

Medicare gives itself the power to ban physicians if they prescribe medications in abusive ways. The action follows a series of articles by ProPublica documenting inappropriate prescribing, waste and fraud in its popular drug program.

How We Analyzed Medicare Part B Data

We found some doctors who billed for the most costly, most complex visits almost exclusively and charged top rates far more than their peers.

Treatment Tracker

Use this tool to find and compare providers.

Patient Guide

When choosing a doctor who's right for you, you don't have to rely exclusively on a friend's recommendation or a referral. Now you can check whether your medical provider practices similarly to his or her peers.

Top Billing: Meet the Docs who Charge Medicare Top Dollar for Office Visits

Medicare paid for more than 200 million office visits for established patients in 2012. Overall, health professionals classified only 4 percent as complex enough to command the most expensive rates. But 1,800 providers billed at the top level at least 90 percent of the time, ProPublica found.

Treatment Tracker Methodology

How we made a news app to compare doctors Medicare billing patterns.

Even After Doctors Are Sanctioned or Arrested, Medicare Keeps Paying

A ProPublica analysis of recently released data shows that dozens of physicians who received payments from Medicare in 2012 had been kicked out of Medicaid, charged with fraud, or settled claims of overbilling Medicare itself.

Medicaid Programs Drowning in Backlog

With open enrollment over for private health insurance claims, states are struggling to process hundreds of thousands of Medicaid applications.

Beyond Ratings: More Tools Coming to Pick Your Doctor

For years, patients have had few ways to compare doctors beyond their reputations. With a huge Medicare data release this week, that may soon change.

Leaders of Teaching Hospitals Have Close Ties to Drug Companies, Study Shows

Nearly every large drug maker based in the United States had at least one academic medical center official on its board, raising questions about their independence.

Judging Obamacare: How Do We Know If It’s a Success or Failure?

Sign-ups are supposed to formally end today, and attention is shifting from marketing to measuring whether the law is meetings its goals.

Reporting Recipe: Dollars for Docs

With more data on relationships between doctors and drug companies soon to be released, here are some ways journalists can use this information.

Double Dip: Doctors Paid to Advise, Promote Drug Companies That Fund Their Research

Research has been seen as less objectionable than other forms of interactions with drug companies, but 10 percent of researchers have multiple ties among the nine companies ProPublica analyzed. That raises questions about doctors’ impartiality.

Smoking Mad: Tobacco Users Caught Up in Insurer’s Obamacare ‘Glitch’

After signing up for coverage and disclosing they were smokers, about 100 New Hampshire consumers find their new Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield policies canceled because they were charged incorrect “non-smoker” rates.
Charles Ornstein

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