Charles Ornstein

Deputy Managing Editor

Photo of Charles Ornstein

Charles Ornstein is a deputy managing editor at ProPublica, overseeing the Local Reporting Network, which works with local news organizations to produce accountability journalism on issues of importance to their communities. From 2008 to 2017, he was a senior reporter covering health care and the pharmaceutical industry. He then worked as a senior editor.

Prior to joining ProPublica, he was a member of the metro investigative projects team at the Los Angeles Times. In 2004, he and Tracy Weber were lead authors on a series on Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, a troubled hospital in South Los Angeles. The articles won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service.

In 2009, he and Weber worked on a series of stories that detailed serious failures in oversight by the California Board of Registered Nursing and nursing boards around the country. The work was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

He previously worked at the Dallas Morning News, where he covered health care on the business desk and worked in the Washington bureau. Ornstein is a past president of the Association of Health Care Journalists and an adjunct journalism professor at Columbia University. Ornstein is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

What We Know — and Don’t Know — About Possible Coronavirus Treatments Promoted by Trump

There isn’t enough evidence that decades-old anti-malarial drugs work for the treatment or prevention of coronavirus, but here’s what we do know so far.

Coronavirus Hospitalization Numbers Are Spotty. Journalists, Help Us Fill in the Gaps.

We don’t know how many COVID-19 patients are hospitalized across the country, because only some states are publishing data. Journalists can join our effort to gather this data from every state.

Lupus Patients Can’t Get Crucial Medication After President Trump Pushes Unproven Coronavirus Treatment

Trump’s unproven claim that hydroxychloroquine could be used to treat COVID-19 has led to hoarding, putting Lupus patients and others at even greater risk. As of Saturday afternoon, Anna Valdez had 27 pills left. That number is now down to 25.

No, President Trump, the Coronavirus Is Nothing Like H1N1 Swine Flu Either

The president has been comparing his administration’s handling of COVID-19 to the way President Barack Obama’s team dealt with the H1N1 outbreak. He is wrong.

The Five Questions Reporters Need to Ask Hospitals and Local Officials About Coronavirus

ProPublica launched a tool that allows you to look up how the number of patients with COVID-19 could affect hospitals in your area under various scenarios. Here’s how to write a local accountability story with the data.

No Matter What Some Public Officials Say, the Message You Need to Hear Is “Stay Home”

Mixed messaging from all levels of government is putting Americans at risk and will speed the spread of the coronavirus. No matter what politicians say, public health experts agree. Stay home, even if you feel fine.

This Coronavirus Is Unlike Anything in Our Lifetime, and We Have to Stop Comparing It to the Flu

Longtime health reporter Charles Ornstein says that comparing the novel coronavirus to the flu is dangerously inaccurate. Not one public health expert he trusts has called that comparison valid. Here’s why.

Are You in Coronavirus Quarantine? Tell Us What Authorities Told You So We Can Make Sure It’s Right.

We’re collecting instructions state and local health departments have given about coronavirus quarantines. Help us hear from every state and city.

Local Accountability Journalism Still Has a Huge Impact

Between the Local Reporting Network and ProPublica Illinois, our work shows that state leaders across the country are listening and things can change.

In Search of Solutions to Alaska’s Law Enforcement Crisis

We spent a year investigating how Alaska’s sexual violence crisis is compounded by a lack of law enforcement. Now, we’re looking at the system and how it can be fixed.

We’ve Been Tracking Pharma Payments to Doctors For Nearly A Decade. We Just Made A Big Breakthrough.

For years, we’ve wondered whether a doctor who received a payment linked to a particular drug prescribed more of that drug. With our new analysis, we finally have the answer: yes.

Your Doctor Might Have a Disciplinary Record. Here’s How to Find Out.

Does your doctor have a criminal conviction? Has your doctor wrongly prescribed controlled substances? Use this tool to look it up.

We Found Over 700 Doctors Who Were Paid More Than a Million Dollars by Drug and Medical Device Companies

ProPublica has been tracking drug company spending on doctors since 2010. We just updated our database and found that companies are still paying private doctors huge sums for promotional talks and consulting.

Updated: Dollars for Docs

How much are your doctors being paid by drug or device companies? Look them up in our newly updated database.

University of Illinois Told Our Partners They Must Share Sexual Misconduct Tips With Campus Authorities. Here’s How We’re Protecting Our Sources.

To maintain the privacy of our sources, ProPublica will collect tips coming in about sexual misconduct at the University of Illinois and only share them with our partners at NPR Illinois under certain circumstances.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Leaders Violated Conflict-of-Interest Rules, Report Finds

A policy review follows months of turmoil at the cancer center, which pledged an overhaul, including new rules on public disclosure and limits on outside profits.

Looking at Nursing Homes? See Which Ones Have Been Cited for Deficiencies

On the eve of a Senate nursing home hearing, we’ve updated Nursing Home Inspect. Compare nursing homes based on the deficiencies cited by regulators in the past three years. You can also search over 60,000 nursing home inspection reports to look for trends or patterns.

See How Your Doctor or Provider’s Prescribing Patterns Compare

Medicare’s popular prescription-drug program serves more than 42 million people and pays for more than one of every four prescriptions written nationwide. Use this tool to find and compare over 460,000 doctors and other providers who wrote over 50 prescriptions in Part D in 2016.

Numerous Mistakes Led to Fatal Blood Transfusion at St. Luke’s in Houston, Report Finds

Hospital leaders released the scathing government inspection report on Tuesday, along with a plan to correct significant lapses in patient care. The changes follow a yearlong investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle.

Two New Lawsuits Allege Surgical Errors During Heart Transplants at St. Luke’s in Houston

In one case, a patient claims a surgeon sewed a major vein closed, causing blood to back up in his head. In the other, a patient alleges that the same surgeon sewed through his colon, filling his abdomen with feces. The lawsuits follow a yearlong investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle.

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