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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

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.

During Final Obamacare Push, Conservative Author Sees Little to Celebrate

Fellow at American Enterprise Institute faults steps by the Obama administration to delay parts of the Affordable Care Act, saying they amount to dismantling the program in ways that will make it harder to sustain.

Ad Endorsing da Vinci Robot Violated U of Illinois Policies, Review Finds

When surgical team members endorsed the robot in an ad, controversy ensued. An internal review finds no ill intent, but says policies were violated, calls for clearer rules.

The Perils of Problematic Prescribing: A Double Dose of Warnings

Two new reports from the CDC show the dangers of overprescribing narcotics and antibiotics. Is there a way for doctors and consumers to make better decisions?

Medicare’s Drug Program Needs Stronger Protections Against Fraud, Watchdog Says

A new report finds that more than half of insurance companies in Medicare’s drug program haven’t reported fraud cases to the government. The findings echo an earlier ProPublica investigation that found fraud flourishing in the program.

As Full Disclosure Nears, Doctors’ Pay for Drug Talks Plummets

As transparency increases and blockbuster drugs lose patent protection, drug companies have dramatically scaled back payments to doctors for promotional talks. This fall, all drug and medical device companies will be required to report payments to doctors.

Freed of Disclosure Requirement, Drug Maker Pulls Doctor Payments Offline

Drugmaker Cephalon had been required to post its payments to doctors online as part of a lawsuit settlement. After its agreement expired, it removed them from its website.

When a University Hospital Backs a Surgical Robot, Controversy Ensues

The former head of a prestigious Boston hospital found it unsettling that the surgical staff of an Illinois university medical center endorsed the medical device in an ad in the New York Times Magazine. After he started asking questions, the hospital asked that the ad be suspended.

Many Unanswered Questions in Obamacare Enrollment Report

The Obama administration reports a big jump in sign-ups under Affordable Care Act, but it didn’t break down how many enrollees paid their premiums, how many were previously uninsured and which plans they chose.

Obamacare’s Market Share Mystery: Will the Health Law Shake Up Insurance Leader Board?

A handful of states have released enrollment figures for insurance plans on their insurance exchanges. Those with the most sign-ups were market leaders in the days before the Affordable Care Act.

Epic Fail: Where Four State Health Exchanges Went Wrong

Oregon, Minnesota, Maryland and Massachusetts are still struggling to get back on track after a disastrous launch that makes HealthCare.gov look successful by comparison.

Using Prescriber Checkup: A Quick Guide

As the Media Gets Bored With Obamacare, Is the Public Starting to Get on Board?

The president of the Commonwealth Fund says the implementation of the act is going pretty well, all things considered. He said it will be a success if 5 million people enroll in private exchanges by March 31. The 2016 election will be the “ultimate and probably final judgment on the law,” he says.
Charles Ornstein

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