Journalism in the Public Interest


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 (page 10 of 11)

Inept Nurses Free to Work in New Locales

States fail to effectively tell one another about sanctions, so disciplined nurses often go work elsewhere without restrictions.

Dozens of Criminal Registered Nurses Identified by California Regulators

Fingerprint checks of thousands of California nurses not previously subject to background checks have turned up dozens of convictions of crimes ranging from petty theft to murder.

Calif. Registered Nursing Board Follows Up on Our Nurses Stories

The California Board of Registered Nursing has taken actions against nurses featured in a series of stories by ProPublica and the Los Angeles Times.

A ‘Crazy’ Way for an Industry to Operate

There's no simple way for a hospital or temp agency to find out if a nurse it might hire has caused problems elsewhere in the United States.

Temp Firms a Magnet for Unfit Nurses

Emboldened by a chronic nursing shortage and scant regulation, temp nursing firms vie for their share of a free-wheeling, $4-billion industry. Some have become havens for nurses who hopscotch from place to place to avoid the consequences of their misconduct.

California Adopts Stricter Rules for Drug Abusers in the Health Industry

California will require health workers who have abused drugs and are in state-run recovery programs to take at least 104 drug tests in their first year.

Reform of California Nursing Board’s Discipline System Shows Early Progress

After moving swiftly to replace the leadership of the Board of Registered Nursing, California officials are revamping practices that had allowed errant nurses to work for years after complaints were filed against them.

Key Panel Presses for Clearer Guidance on Who Gets Scarce Resources in Major Medical Disasters

A report from a committee of doctors, lawyers and public health professionals declares an "urgent and clear need" for consistent standards of care during medical crises.

Schwarzenegger Wants Sweeping Reforms in Discipline System for Health Care Providers

The California governor says the process for policing health professionals is broken, but some of the problems have worsened on his watch.

California Will Require Criminal Background Checks Before Granting Temporary Licenses to Nurses

The state's nursing board, tightening its rules, will apply the same standard to short-term licenses that is already in place for permanent ones.

State Board Seeks Swifter Action Against Errant Nurses

Managers of the California Board of Registered Nursing seek to more than triple the size of their enforcement staff and immediately boost licensing fees to speed discipline against errant nurses who may pose a danger to patients.

Loose Reins on Nurses in Drug Abuse Program

For years, nursing board officials have described diversion as a haven where good nurses can kick bad habits – without losing their licenses or their reputations. But spotty oversight of the program allowed nurses who dropped out to continue treating patients, despite being labeled risks to public safety.

California Nursing Board Executive Officer Ruth Ann Terry Resigns

The longtime executive officer of the embattled California Board of Registered Nursing resigned Tuesday, ensuring almost entirely new leadership for the agency as it strives to revamp its oversight of hundreds of thousands of caregivers. But the sweeping reforms promised by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week face significant obstacles.

Schwarzenegger Replaces Most of State Nursing Board

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced most members of the state Board of Registered Nursing, citing the unacceptable time it takes to discipline nurses accused of egregious misconduct.

Troubled Nursing Board Defends Itself

Leaders of the California Board of Registered Nursing sent a note of encouragement to their staff following a Los Angeles Times-ProPublica investigation that found the board takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct.

Sanctioned California Nurses Database

Search the California Board of Registered Nursing database for disciplinary procedures between 2002 and September 2009.

Board Takes No Public Action Against Some King/Drew Nurses

When Caregivers Harm: Problem Nurses Stay on the Job as Patients Suffer

The board charged with overseeing California's 350,000 registered nurses often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct, leaving nurses accused of wrongdoing free to practice without restrictions, our joint investigation with The Los Angeles Times found.

Veronica Glaubach: Joy of Birth, Then Tragedy

Kaiser Hospital Fined $250,000 for Privacy Breach in Octuplet Case

Charles Ornstein

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