Three major investigative reports that used social science research methods to: Shine a light on Medicare billing errors and abuses; expose how the Medicaid system steered patients to use methadone; and revealed how race and privilege trumped justice in the granting of pardons were named today as winners of the 2012 Philip Meyer Journalism Award.
First place is awarded to “Cracking the Codes” by Fred Schulte, Joe Eaton, David Donald and Gordon Witkin of The Center for Public Integrity. The series documented how thousands of medical professionals have steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health care over the past decade – adding $11billion or more to their fees – despite little evidence elderly patients required more treatment.
Second place is awarded to “Methadone and the Politics of Pain,” by Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times. Berens and Armstrong’s investigation found that patients on Medicaid in Washington were being steered to use the narcotic methadone as a painkiller because it is cheaper than safer alternatives, while at least 2,173 people had overdosed on the drug since 2003.
Third place is awarded to “Shades of Mercy: Presidential Pardons,” by Dafna Linzer, Jennifer LaFleur, Krista Kjellman Schmidt and Liz Day. This project exposed a system in which race, privilege and bureaucracy combine to frustrate justice and, probably unintentionally, institutionalize racism in the 21st Century.
For the entire press release, go here.