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Charles Ornstein

Senior Editor

Photo of Charles Ornstein

Charles Ornstein is a senior editor at ProPublica, overseeing the Local Reporting Network. From 2008 to 2017, he was a senior reporter covering health care and the pharmaceutical industry.

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.

The 10 Most Common Nursing Home Violations

We’ve updated our searchable Nursing Home Inspect database to cover more than a quarter million deficiencies found at U.S. nursing homes.

High-Prescribing Chicago Psychiatrist Faces Federal Fraud Suit

Dr. Michael Reinstein, subject of a 2009 investigation by ProPublica and The Chicago Tribune, is accused of taking kickbacks while providing antipsychotics to thousands of indigent nursing home patients.

New York’s Ongoing Blackout: Hospitals in Lower Manhattan

There is no firm timetable on the return of some of New York's largest hospitals. And concern is rising that the patchwork system can't last for long.

The Outlook for “Obamacare” in Two Maps

How states handle Medicaid and new insurance exchanges will determine if President Obama’s re-election victory gives his healthcare overhaul a boost.

Why Do Hospital Generators Keep Failing?

The power failure at New York University Langone Medical Center during Hurricane Sandy shows that hospitals still may not be doing enough to prepare for disasters.

Search Our Nursing Home Inspection Data, Now With Thousands of New Reports

New government data expands our searchable cache of nursing home inspection reports to include details about 217,000 reported deficiencies.

Now On Nursing Home Inspect: 140,000-Plus Inspection Reports

Our super-fast news app lets users easily find violations at nursing homes nationwide.

Nursing Home Inspect Update: More Homes, More Violations

Our Nursing Home Inspect news app now contains more than 134,600 deficiencies from nearly every nursing home in the United States. News organizations have identified many problems at homes in their communities.

Tipsheet: How to Use Nursing Home Inspect

Tips to help you get the best results from your searches.

What We Found Using Nursing Home Inspect

We’ve made it easy to search nearly 118,000 deficiencies found during government inspections at 14,565 nursing homes nationwide.

Why Can't Medicine Seem to Fix Simple Mistakes?

The death of 12-year-old Rory Staunton from septic shock prompted NYU's Langone Medical Center to revamp its emergency room procedures to address a startling lapse. History shows that the profession is unlikely to learn from this mistake.

Mystery After the Health Care Ruling: Which States Will Refuse Medicaid Expansion?

The Supreme Court ruling allows states to decline the Medicaid expansion included in the Affordable Care Act without losing federal money for their existing Medicaid programs. If the 26 states that challenged the law opt out, an estimated 8.5 million fewer people would be covered by Medicaid.

Patient Died at New York VA Hospital After Alarm Was Ignored

The Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General again found problems with the care provided by nurses in a cardiac monitoring unit at the VA hospital in Manhattan.

American Pain Foundation Shuts Down as Senators Launch Investigation of Prescription Narcotics

Sens. Baucus and Grassley demand evidence of financial support from the drug industry to nonprofit groups that advocate use of opioid painkillers, including the newly defunct American Pain Foundation.

VA Nurses Scrutinized After Patient Deaths in Two States

A review of records at 29 Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals found that some facilities didn't keep proper track of their nurses' skills or competency.

Allergan Erases Doctor Payment Records

You can still find some older Allergan payments in ProPublica's Dollars for Docs database, along with data from 11 other drug companies.

Senate Watchdog Targets High-Prescribing Medicaid Docs

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, wants to know why an Ohio doctor wrote 54 prescriptions per weekday for the antipsychotic Abilify, while the biggest prescriber of Seroquel wrote an average nine prescriptions per hour.

Drug Companies Reduce Payments to Doctors as Scrutiny Mounts

Continued reporting on the influence of pharmaceutical money on medicine spurred tighter rules at medical schools across the nation.

The Champion of Painkillers

The annual death toll from overdoses of painkillers has reached almost 15,000, prompting the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to term it an "epidemic." But the American Pain Foundation continues to claim the risks are overblown. The advocacy group's biggest supporter? The drug industry.

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