Max Blau

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Max Blau covers health care, public health and the environment for ProPublica's South unit.

Blau was previously an independent journalist working with Georgia Health News as part of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network, a collaboration that has investigated Georgia Power’s toxic waste disposal practices, racial disparities in COVID-19 deaths and a controversial loophole to fund nursing homes. His work has appeared in a variety of national publications, including the Atlantic, the New York Times, Politico magazine, Time the Washington Post, and Stat and Stateline, where he covered health care as a Southern correspondent. He also worked as a staff writer for CNN, Atlanta magazine and the Atlanta alt-weekly Creative Loafing. His story about a death-row doctor who built an empire from treating Georgia inmates won the SPJ Green Eyeshade Award for investigative reporting in 2020.

We’re Investigating Mental Health Care Access. Share Your Insights.

ProPublica’s reporters want to talk to mental health providers, health insurance insiders and patients as we examine the U.S. mental health care system. If that’s you, reach out.

How Georgia’s Small Power Companies Endanger Their Most Vulnerable Customers

The state’s small electricity providers aren’t required to delay disconnecting seriously ill customers who depend on medical devices, putting lives at risk.

Wealthy Family Wants to Reopen Major Industrial Polluter in Alabama Despite Mounting Debts and Proposed Regulation

A new EPA proposal could soon limit the toxic emissions that pollute Birmingham’s historically Black north side. It could also complicate plans to reopen a shuttered plant owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

He Needed a Liver Transplant. But Did the Risks Outweigh the Reward?

A transplant program in Memphis took pride in replacing the livers of patients turned away by other hospitals. One patient’s liver transplant illustrates the promise and peril of operating on people with serious risk factors.

Inside the Preventable Deaths That Happened Within a Prominent Transplant Center

Dr. James Eason, who earned acclaim by operating on Steve Jobs, led the transplant center named in his honor at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis. An internal analysis by Eason’s own team details the preventable deaths under his watch.

Wealthy Governor’s Company to Pay Nearly $1 Million for Chronic Air Pollution Violations

Bluestone Coke, owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, signed a consent decree that could allow its Birmingham plant to reopen under stricter oversight.

The Tragedy of North Birmingham

Industrial plants in Birmingham, Alabama, have polluted the air and land in its historic Black communities for over a century. In an epicenter of environmental injustice, officials continue to fail to right the wrongs plaguing the city’s north side.

Tell Us About Your Experience With the Organ Transplant System

ProPublica is looking to hear from patients, medical providers and regulators as part of an ongoing investigation.

How a Powerful Company Convinced Georgia to Let It Bury Toxic Waste in Groundwater

Documents reveal Georgia Power went to great lengths to advocate for risky waste storage. After a ProPublica investigation exposed this practice, the EPA is trying to block the move.

The Dirty Secret of America’s Clean Dishes

The world’s largest chemical maker, BASF, produces ingredients for America’s most popular products, from soaps to surface cleaners to dishwasher detergent. Emissions from their U.S. plants elevate cancer risks for an estimated 1.5 million people.

When Home Is a Toxic Hot Spot

More than a thousand people talked to ProPublica about living in hot spots for cancer-causing air pollution. Most never got a warning from the EPA. They are rallying neighbors, packing civic meetings and signing petitions for reform.

Entergy Resisted Upgrading New Orleans’ Power Grid. When Ida Hit, Residents Paid the Price.

The power company failed to build a stronger system after hurricanes repeatedly pummeled Louisiana. Then Ida knocked out power for more than a week. “I don’t think it’s just Mother Nature,” said one resident. “This is neglect.”

The Coal Plant Next Door

Near America’s largest coal-fired power plant, toxins are showing up in drinking water and people have fallen ill. Thousands of pages of internal documents show how one giant energy company plans to avoid the cleanup costs.

A Power Company’s Quiet Land-Buying Spree Could Shield It From Coal Ash Cleanup Costs

Georgia Power paid top dollar to buy land from residents living near waste sites at its power plants. Environmentalists fear it’s a tactic to forestall the cleanup bill from new regulations for coal ash.

He Wanted to Fix Rural America’s Broken Nursing Homes. Now, Taxpayers May Be on the Hook for $76 Million.

Ronnie Rollins used a controversial loophole to secure $300 million in bonus payments for his nonprofit nursing home chain. A federal investigation called the payments “inappropriate,” and Georgia is caught in a multimillion dollar dispute.

This Rural Nursing Home Has Lost Nearly a Quarter of Its Residents to COVID-19. Now Its State Is Reopening.

Of Georgia’s more than 1,100 virus deaths, 12% are from long-term care facilities in a region that holds just 3% of the population. As the state reopens, staff know that risks of exposure will only increase.

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