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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

Vietnam Vets Push VA to Link Bladder Cancer to Agent Orange

The Department of Veterans Affairs is evaluating new research as it decides whether to extend benefits to exposed vets with the disease.

The Exceptions: A Rare Few Score Agent Orange Benefits for Bladder Cancer

While most vets’ claims for benefits are denied, some have figured out a way to win.

New York Hospital to Pay $2.2 Million Fine for Allowing Filming of Patients Without Consent

Federal action could spell the end of emergency room reality television.

Amid Public Feuds, A Venerated Medical Journal Finds Itself Under Attack

A widely derided editorial, a controversial series of articles and delayed corrections have prompted critics to question the direction of the New England Journal of Medicine.

New York Top Court Revives Suit Against Hospital That Let Man’s Death Be Filmed

Mark Chanko’s family sued NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and one of its doctors for allowing a TV crew to film his death without permission. A lower court had thrown the case out, but the New York Court of Appeals revived it.

Now There’s Proof: Docs Who Get Company Cash Tend to Prescribe More Brand-Name Meds

The more money doctors receive from drug and medical device companies, the more brand-name drugs they tend to prescribe, a new ProPublica analysis shows. Even a meal can make a difference.

ProPublica Adds Teaching Hospitals to Dollars for Docs

All told, more than 1,100 teaching hospitals received nearly $780 million from August 2013 to December 2014, not including research.

Updated Dollars for Docs

This release includes updated data, payments to teaching hospitals, and information about brand-name prescribing rates for some doctors.

Another Senator Calls for Action on Social Media Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

The move follows a ProPublica report that identified some three dozen incidents since 2012 in which dehumanizing or degrading photos of residents were posted on social media sites.

Researchers Call for More Study of Agent Orange Effects on Vets and Their Kids

A committee of the Institute of Medicine said even though the Vietnam War ended four decades ago, much is still not known about the way the herbicide Agent Orange has impacted vets and perhaps their children.

Senator Asks Privacy Regulators to Stop Abuse of Nursing Home Residents on Social Media

ProPublica reported in December about three dozen inappropriate posts by employees of nursing homes and assisted living centers. A top Democrat wants details on efforts to combat the trend.

Ailing Vietnam Vets Hunt Through Ships’ Logs to Prove They Should Get Benefits

Neither the Navy nor the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a comprehensive list of which ships went where during the Vietnam War. As a result, veterans themselves often have to prove their ships served in areas where Agent Orange was sprayed.

The Evolution of the VA’s Vietnam Ship List

Navy veterans who served in Vietnam often must prove that their ships entered territorial waters in order to receive Agent Orange benefits. It wasn’t always that way. The following history explains how we got to this point.

A Blow to Health Care Transparency

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require many large employers to submit health care claims to a massive database. Here’s why that matters.

Once Again, the VA Turns Down Navy Vets for Agent Orange Benefits

A federal court had ordered the VA to reassess its policy denying Agent Orange benefits to Navy sailors who served in the Vietnam War. The VA’s conclusion: They still don’t qualify.

Nursing Assistant Fired, Charged After Posting Nude Video of 93-Year-Old on Snapchat

The incident, which allegedly took place earlier this month, is the most recent in a string of surreptitious recordings by employees of nursing homes and assisted-living centers. Many involve the social media network Snapchat.

The Consequences for Violating Patient Privacy in California? Depends Where the Hospital Is

A ProPublica analysis found California officials are inconsistently enforcing a 2008 patient privacy law. Hospitals in the state’s Inland Empire rack up deficiencies while Los Angeles hospitals almost never do.

Farrah Fawcett Was Right — We Have Little Medical Privacy

Our reporter spent the past year reporting on loopholes and lax enforcement of the federal patient-privacy law known as HIPAA. He was often reminded of his interview years ago with Fawcett after her privacy was breached. "It seems that there are areas that should be off-limits," she said.

Another VA Headache: Privacy Violations Rising at Veterans’ Medical Facilities

Deceased vets’ data has been sent to the wrong widows. Employees have snooped on the records of patients who’ve committed suicide. And whistleblowers say their own medical privacy has been violated. In response, the VA says patient privacy is a priority.

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Charles Ornstein

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