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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

Medical Innovation Bill Would Water Down Disclosure of Industry Payments to Doctors

The 21st Century Cures Act aims to support biomedical research. But along the way, it would exempt certain payments from drug companies to doctors. Critics say such changes are a mistake.

High-dollar Prescribers Proliferate in Medicare’s Drug Program

Forty-one health providers prescribed more than $5 million in drugs in 2011. Last year, that jumped to 514. “The trends in this space are troubling and don’t show any signs of abating,” a federal official said.

We’ve Updated Prescriber Checkup with 2014 Data

Use this tool to compare how your doctor prescribes medications in Medicare's drug program with other doctors in the same specialty and state. Our data includes information on drug costs and prescriptions for risky drugs.

New Study Could Pressure VA to Expand Agent Orange Benefits

More than four decades after the end of the Vietnam War, research is still showing the effects of the herbicide Agent Orange. The latest findings: An association between exposure and high blood pressure.

Dr. Orange: The Secret Nemesis of Sick Vets

For decades, the military and the VA have repeatedly turned to one man to guide decisions on whether Agent Orange harmed vets in Vietnam and elsewhere. His reliable answer: No.

After Cancer Diagnosis, Vet Refutes Government’s Agent Orange Expert — And Wins

After the VA rejects his claim for benefits, an Air Force veteran challenges the findings of the government’s go-to Agent Orange consultant. Six years later he emerges the rare victor.

Eight Times Agent Orange’s Biggest Defender Has Been Wrong or Misleading

For decades, the government has relied on Alvin Young to advise it on herbicides. Here are some of his statements, and what others have said about them.

How the Nation’s Opioid Epidemic Is Morphing — and Growing

Podcast: Journalist David Armstrong has been tracking the rise of heroin and fentanyl and the human toll, as well as how drug companies marketed their narcotics years ago.

Uncovering Texas’ Strategy to Slash Much-Needed Special Education Services

Podcast: The Houston Chronicle found that Texas quietly pushed school districts to pare the number of students receiving special education services. The move saved billions of dollars but deprived tens of thousands of students of needed help.

Federal Health Officials Seek to Stop Social Media Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

After ProPublica identified dozens of cases of dehumanizing photos posted on social media sites, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a plan to increase its oversight to prevent and punish such abuse.

The Secret Documents That Detail How Patients’ Privacy is Breached

A federal agency sends thousands of letters a year to health providers closing out complaints about HIPAA violations. Though the government could make those letters public, it doesn’t. ProPublica has started to do so.

Health Gadgets and Apps Outpace Privacy Protections, Report Finds

In 2009, Congress asked for recommendations on what to do about information that falls outside the privacy law known as HIPAA. Today, health officials released their report, but offered no suggestions.

As Cases Multiply, Officials Scramble to Stop Abuse of Nursing Home Residents on Social Media

Iowa health officials recently discovered it wasn’t against state law for a nursing home worker to share a photo on Snapchat of a resident covered in feces. They are trying to change that.

VA Officials Pledge New Studies Into Effects of Agent Orange

“These individuals deserve an answer,” a top VA official said at a forum hosted by ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot to address the possible multi-generational impacts of the herbicide.

Are Copay Coupons Actually Making Drugs More Expensive?

Consumers, including a ProPublica reporter, love saving money using drug copay coupons. But by upending the benefit structure of health insurers, these clever marketing tools may be increasing costs for everyone.

Drug and Device Makers Find Receptive Audience at For-profit, Southern Hospitals

A ProPublica analysis shows that where a hospital is located and who owns it make a big difference in what share of its doctors take industry payments.

How We Compiled the Dollars for Docs Hospital Data

Our goal was to compare U.S. hospitals based on the percentage of their affiliated physicians who receive payments of various sizes from pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

What Percentage of Doctors at Your Hospital Take Drug, Device Payments?

Where a hospital is located makes a big difference in how many of its doctors take payments from drug and medical device companies. See how your state compares and look up your hospital.

Florida Doctor Pleads Guilty to Fraud — Years After Complaints About His Prescribing

The onetime top prescriber of mental health drugs in Florida’s Medicaid program is awaiting sentencing on federal fraud charges long after he was flagged for his questionable prescribing practices.

Feed Me, Pharma: More Evidence That Industry Meals Are Linked to Costlier Prescribing

A third study shows an association between physician drug choices and their interactions with the pharmaceutical industry. Even doctors who received just one meal were more likely to prescribe certain heavily marketed drugs.
Charles Ornstein

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