Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "disability" ...

  • Denied: How Texas Keeps Tens of Thousands of Children Out of Special Education

    In “Denied,” the Houston Chronicle revealed that a group of Texas state officials had arbitrarily decided what percentage of students should receive special education services and had enforced the benchmark by intensely auditing school districts for “over-identification.” The effort, which began in 2004 but was never announced and remained completely unknown outside of district special education departments, saved the state billions of dollars but denied critical help to tens of thousands of children with disabilities. As a result, the Chronicle reported, Texas now provides special education services to a lower percentage of its students than any other state in the country – by far. If Texas gave services at the same rate as everybody else, more than 250,000 more children in the state would be receiving services such as tutoring, counseling and therapy.
  • Last of the Institutions

    “Last of the Institutions” is a multi-part series exposing Washington state’s outdated social policy of continued segregation and isolation of people with a developmental disability through institutionalization. Despite decades of research showing institutionalization is detrimental to people, and the Dept. of Justice’s stance that segregation of the disabled is a form of unlawful discrimination, Washington operates more institutions and houses more people in them than nearly every other state in the country. http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/investigations/2015/12/03/last-institutions/76123472/ https://vimeo.com/k5investigators/last-of-the-institutions
  • Patient transfers questioned

    In a 2010 settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Georgia agreed to move all mental health and developmentally disabled patients out of state facilities and into community care. The 2013 death of a 12-year-old developmentally disabled girl in community care lead to this investigation that ultimately reveals hundreds of unexpected patient deaths. http://chronicle.augusta.com/latest-news/2015-03-21/girls-death-among-500-one-year-community-care
  • A Mountain of Misconduct

    For "A Mountain of Misconduct", Reveal teamed up with New Hampshire Public Radio health and science reporter Jack Rodolico to unveil 40 years of alleged abuse and neglect of people with disabilities at specialty rehab centers in multiple states. In our hour-long audio documentary, we took a close look at New Hampshire’s Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center, where people with severe disabilities were treated, and detailed that facility’s deep ties to a network of institutions across the U.S. Our reporting went back decades to look at the corrupt roots of the multibillion dollar brain injury rehabilitation industry in the 1970's and 80's, and exposed how for-profit neurological rehabilitation centers thrive on public dollars with little oversight. Additional content on the project includes a podcast extra, following up with one family who pulled their son from Lakeview after he was neglected there; a 4,000 word print piece detailing the "human trafficking", to borrow a term one disability rights expert used, that sends vulnerable people across state lines to distant facilities, and the weak state regulation that allowed Lakeview and similar institutions to prosper despite decades of complaints; and a digital interactive timeline featuring the characters in our story, from facility owners to investigators to patients, and how their lives intersected over 40 years.
  • Billion Dollar Judge

    In 2016, the Social Security Disability trust fund is scheduled to become the first Federal program to run out of money. As Congress and the President race to find a way to save the fund, CBS 21 discovered an outlying disability judge who has approved billions in disability benefits over the past decade. This judge has approve six times more than the average disability judge and more than twice as much as America’s second highest active judge. Three weeks after CBS 21 reported on his record, Judge Charles Bridges was subpoenaed to testify before the United State Congress where this entry was discussed under oath and is now in Congressional record.
  • UNTREATED: How Ignoring Mental Illness Costs Us All

    This devastating Rocky Mountain PBS I-News series examined the state of behavioral health care in Colorado. The costs of untreated mental illnesses in the state run into the billions of dollar each year, factoring in emergency medical expenses, lost wages, disability payments, and the price of housing the mentally ill in county jails and state prisons, among other quantifiable numbers. As big as the financial burdens of untreated mental illness are, the personal costs are greater. In Colorado, people with mental illnesses are more than five times as likely to be in jail or in prison than in a hospital treatment bed. For rural Coloradans, mental health services can be hundreds of miles away, or simply put, unavailable. In a state that has suffered mass shooting tragedies rooted in mental illness, intervention is still exceedingly difficult, and the series explores the reasons why.
  • Deadly Delays

    An investigation exposing deep flaws and deadly delays in the nation’s newborn screening programs that place thousands of babies at needless risk of disability and death.
  • Veterans Disability Claims

    Yvonne Wenger’s story for The Baltimore Sun examined the disability claims backlog at the Baltimore office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Through her reporting and use of an online database, she discovered that the Baltimore office, which services all of Maryland, had the worst backlog in the country and made the most mistakes. Servicemen and women in Maryland were waiting an average of 12 months for an initial decision about benefits; in some cases, it could take years more to receive the payments. Yvonne reached out to dozens of veterans but found that all were fearful to speak to a reporter because they thought doing so would affect their claims. She eventually did find a combat veteran, Robert Fearing, who was willing to be interviewed. He was suffering from paranoia and anxiety and had been waiting 2 ½ years for the Baltimore office to make a decision about his claim. After publication of the article, reaction from Maryland’s congressional delegation was swift. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin both took action to seek changes locally and nationally to address the backlog. And just days after the article was published, Fearing had his claim reviewed and approved.
  • Public Service, Private Benefit

    This two-year-long investigation by AP reporter Mike Baker focuses on a Washington state retirement system for law enforcement officers and firefighters, exploring how some retirees managed to spike their pension values with late raises, how exorbitant medical expenses in the system are hampering local governments, how extreme numbers of disability retirements are costing the government tax revenue, and how some have been able to secure retire-rehire deals despite state efforts to stop such arrangements. The series is based on more than 100 public records requests, many dozens of interviews, the analysis of more than 30 government datasets and the review of thousands of pages of government emails, meeting notes, contracts and actuarial reports. Lawmakers, state officials and a pension oversight board have all taken action in response to the AP series, and the state Legislature is expected to consider alterations to the system during the 2014 session. Leaders in the state retirement system have conducted a variety of audits targeting the cases identified in AP’s stories and are now seeking to collect overpayments and recalculate benefits for some of those former workers. State officials believe they can collect or save nearly $1 million as a result of investigations completed so far, and the state expects to announce additional enforcement actions in the coming months.
  • Deadly Delays

    Nearly every baby born in the United States has blood collected within a day or two of birth to be screened for dozens of genetic disorders. Each year, newborn screening is credited with saving or improving the lives of more than 12,000 babies in the United States. The entire premise of newborn screening is to detect disorders quickly so babies can be treated early, averting death and preventing or limiting brain damage, disability and a lifetime of costly medical care. The investigation found that thousands of hospitals — and dozens of state agencies that oversee the programs — are failing America’s children due to an ineffective and unaccountable newborn screening system wracked by deadly delays. As a result, children who should be diagnosed and treated shortly after birth are suffering preventable brain damage, disability and even death — as if they had been born decades before today’s screening tests and treatments were available. In an analysis of nearly 3 million newborn screening tests from throughout the country, the Journal Sentinel found that hundreds of thousands of blood samples from newborn babies arrive late at labs where they are to be tested. Despite very clear and dramatic warnings to send blood samples to state labs within 24 hours, many hospitals don’t comply, and instead wait days and then send blood samples in batches, saving a few dollars in postage. Problem hospitals throughout the country face no consequences and often are not even notified they are putting babies’ lives at risk.