Marshall Allen investigates why we pay so much for health care in the United States and get so little in return. He is one of the creators of ProPublica’s Surgeon Scorecard, which published the complication rates for about 17,000 surgeons who perform eight common elective procedures. Allen’s work has been honored with several journalism awards, including the Harvard Kennedy School’s 2011 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and coming in as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for work at the Las Vegas Sun, where he worked before coming to ProPublica in 2011. Before he was in journalism, Allen spent five years in full-time ministry, including three years in Nairobi, Kenya. He has a master’s degree in Theology.
Hospital autopsies have become a rarity. As a result, experts say, diagnostic errors are missed, opportunities to improve medical treatment are lost, and health-care statistics are skewed.
Last year’s health-care reform law promised to use Medicare billing data to increase public reporting about the performance of doctors and health-care facilities. Now, proposed government rules could prevent consumer groups from getting the data and would give medical providers the right to review any quality findings in advance.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stripped Dr. Kevin Buckwalter of his ability to prescribe narcotics, citing the death of eight patients. Now Buckwalter claims a malpractice suit filed by the parents of Andrea Duncan, who died in 2005, is an abuse of the legal process.
Heart Check America, which marketed controversial body scans to consumers, treated patients without doctors’ orders and may have exposed patients unnecessarily to radiation, regulators say.
After a ProPublica investigation, Illinois officials file suit against a company that markets long-term contracts for body and organ screenings that some medical experts say are unnecessary and could put patients at risk.
A reporter gets an unusual offer from Heart Check America, a chain of scanning clinics that bypasses doctors and is drawing increased consumer complaints and heightened scrutiny from regulators.