In this months-long investigation into Sedwick County EMS – the lone ambulance provider for more than half a million people – reporters at The Wichita Eagle uncovered a public safety crisis that put an entire community at risk. Through open records, leaked documents, interviews, and direct research, the reporters built a database of response times, and direct testimony to back it up, that showed the department had dangerously slow response times and staffing shortages driven by mismanagement. While under the EMS director’s leadership, the department had fallen from one of the best in the Midwest to one that showed up late for over 11,000 potentially fatal emergency calls in two years. The series led to the prompt ousting of the EMS director, an apology by the county manager for his slow response to the crisis, and most importantly – a massive overhaul of the county’s EMS service.
In reporting “Pain and Profit” the Dallas Morning News found that thousands of sick and disabled Texans were being denied life-sustaining drugs and treatments by the private health insurance companies hired by the state to manage their care. While these private contractors made billions of dollars from the corporate management of taxpayer-funded Medicaid, some of the most vulnerable Texans were denied critical services, equipment and treatments, often with profoundly life-altering results. As a result of the investigation the Texas legislature pledged millions of dollars to more closely regulate the system, monitor instances of denials of care, and reform the appeals process.
Learn more about how McSwane, Chavez, and the Dallas Morning News team found, investigated, and reported the story in a “how they did it” piece in The Journalist’s Resource, and a podcast interview with the reporters.
Rezulin: A Billion-Dollar Killer
An exposé of seven unsafe prescription drugs that had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and an analysis of the policy reforms that had reduced the agency’s effectiveness.
Doing Harm: Research on the Mentally Ill
A four-part series by Robert Whitaker and Dolores Kong shed light on the abusive research parameters of non-therapeutic experiments conducted on mentally incapacitated individuals. They focused on several victims who had suffered and were harmed by experiments that violated medical ethics standards.
The series exposed a 50-year pattern of misconduct by the U.S. government and the American beryllium industry – wrongdoing that caused a chronic lung disease in dozens of workers producing the strategic metal. The articles sparked major safety reforms, numerous lawsuits, and two congressional investigations.
An account of how two American contraceptive researchers arranged for the chemical sterilization of more than 100,000 women in developing nations. The story led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to halt distribution of quinacrine, the potentially carcinogenic contraceptive.
Health Care Behind Bars
Reporters William Allen and Kim Bell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked Skolnick to assist them in completing a special report on prison healthcare. Skolnick, along with Allen and Bell, wrote or contributed to three articles that were published in the September 27, 1998 edition of the paper: “Physicians with troubled pasts have found work behind bars;” “Two key posts in Alabama were filled by doctors with checkered histories;” and “Prisoner, doctor who treated him, both had drug arrests”.
Health Care’s Giant
The New York Times’ examination of Columbia, including a computer analysis of more than 30-million billing records, casts some light on the government’s concerns. One of the findings was that many Columbia hospitals bill Medicare for high-paying respiratory treatments far more often than do competing hospitals serving similar populations. Federal authorities called such findings an indication of possible overbilling of the program.
Profits from Pain
An investigative journalism series that laid bare the problems with the quality of Florida’s Medicaid HMO treatment system for the poor.