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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

As Controlled Substance Use Rises in Medicare, Prolific Prescribers Face More Scrutiny

Despite warnings about abuse, Medicare covered more prescriptions for potent controlled substances in 2012 than it did in 2011. The program's top prescribers often have faced disciplinary action or criminal charges related to their medical practices.

Using Prescriber Checkup: A Quick Guide

Will My Obamacare Health Plan Costs Go Up?

The open enrollment season for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act is open until Feb. 15, 2015. Our interactive tool lets you compare plans before you renew your insurance through the federal exchange.

Big Changes in Fine Print of Some 2015 Obamacare Plans

A ProPublica analysis found that many health insurance plans offered in the federal Affordable Care Act marketplace are changing their benefits heading into 2015. Consumers have until Dec. 15 to switch plans before they are automatically re-enrolled.

Dollars for Dudes: Almost No Women Among Medical Industry’s Top-Paid Speakers, Consultants

The causes are not clear, but men account for more than 90 percent of the 300 doctors who received the most money from drug and medical device companies, according to new federal data.

$1.1 Billion in Drug, Device Payments to Doctors Not Included in New Federal Database

The new Open Payments database of industry payments to doctors and teaching hospitals is more incomplete than previously known.

Analysis: Government’s New Doctor Payments Website Worthy of a Recall

Our health reporter Charles Ornstein takes a test drive using the federal government's new website for drug and device payments. He finds it virtually unusable.

Our First Dive Into the New Open Payments System

The government's data on payments to doctors and hospitals by drug and device makers is incomplete and hard to penetrate – but here's a first look.

What to be Wary of in the Govt’s New Site Detailing Industry Money to Docs

The government's new website on drug and device company ties to doctors will be incomplete and may be misleading — for now.

What We’ve Learned From Four Years of Diving Into Dollars for Docs

Payments from pharmaceutical companies touch hundreds of thousands of doctors. The 17 companies we've tracked spent $1.4 billion in 2013 year alone. Here are our top five takeaways from following all that money.

A New Way Insurers are Shifting Costs to the Sick

By charging higher prices for generic drugs that treat certain illness, health insurers may be violating the spirit of the Affordable Care Act, which bans discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions.

One Drug. Two Prices. A Reporter Struggles to Find Out the Cost of His Son’s Prescription

$15 or $30? Health reporter Charles Ornstein is charged two different prices for the same drug. Which one is right? His effort to find out illustrates consumer frustrations with the health care system.

More Data to Be Withheld from Database of Physician Payments

The federal government won’t release data next month on some research payments to doctors. Health officials had acknowledged previously that the database wouldn’t include one-third of payments made by pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Government Will Withhold One-Third of the Records from Database of Physician Payments

Many payments to doctors made by pharmaceutical and medical device companies will not be included in the public release of the database next month. Federal officials cite data inconsistencies, say records will be posted next June.

Illinois Suspends Medical License of Leading Prescriber of Antipsychotic Drugs

For years, Dr. Michael Reinstein prescribed the powerful drug clozapine more than any other doctor in Medicare or Medicaid. His patterns were the subject of two ProPublica articles and he faces a federal civil lawsuit alleging health care fraud.

Suspicious Prescriptions for HIV Drugs Abound in Medicare

The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finds Medicare spent tens of millions of dollars in 2012 for HIV drugs there’s little evidence patients needed. A 77-year-old woman with no record of HIV got $33,500 of medication.

The Obscure Drug With a Growing Medicare Tab

Experts question the effectiveness of H.P. Acthar Gel, a drug made from pigs’ pituitary glands. Yet it cost Medicare more than $141 million in 2012, up from $7 million in 2008.

Top Acthar Prescribers in Medicare Have Ties to Its Maker

The top four prescribers of the drug were promotional speakers, researchers or consultants.

Glitch Prompts Temporary Shutdown of Pharma Payment Verification System

The government had to take offline its system for doctors to verify payments from drug companies after at least one doctor had payments attributed to him that actually went to someone else.

Are Patient Privacy Laws Being Misused to Protect Medical Centers?

A 1996 law known as HIPAA has been cited to scold a mom taking a picture of her son in a hospital, to keep information away from police investigating a possible rape at a nursing home, and to threaten VA whistleblowers.
Charles Ornstein

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