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 "health care" ...

  • Chronic Crisis

    The investigation explored why mental health care in Milwaukee County is especially ineffective. We found that Milwaukee politicians for decades have ignored calls for reform, clinging to an outdated system that preserves union jobs at the expense of better care. Milwaukee has the most lopsided system in the country, spending more on emergency and in-patient care than any other. Doctors are bound by the strictest time constraints in the country, allowing them 24 hours to observe patients considered dangerous, even in cases when patients are unconscious from suicide attempts. Our data analysis found people returning for care at an alarming rate. One woman had been seen 196 times in six years, an average of once every 11 days. One man had been brought in by police 10 times in one month. A big part of this project was not just to show the problem but to identify ways that Milwaukee County could improve. This required us to travel to other cities — including Geel, Belgium — to look at communities that do a better job.
  • The Girl Who Got Tied Down

    The Girl Who Got Tied Down is a documentary In two parts about a girl, “Nora”, with self-destructive behaviour, who got raped by one of Sweden’s most senior police chiefs while she was placed in residential youth care. The documentary reveals several cases of abuse due to the work of the health service and the police in Sweden. It has created uproar and a great deal of anger. In the wake of The Girl Who Got Tied Down the senior psychiatrist charged with caring for “Nora” has been sacked from the hospital where he worked. The private mental health care company which he owns has lost its contract with the County Council.
  • Trouble in Mind

    Brandi Grissom spent nearly six months investigating the life, trial, conviction and incarceration of Andre Thomas. The six-part series explores the intersections of the mental health and criminal justice systems in Texas through the case of Andre Thomas, a death row inmate who began exhibiting signs of mental illness as a boy and committed a brutal triple murder in 2004. Blind because he pulled out both of his eyes while behind bars, Thomas awaits a federal court's decision on whether he is sane enough to be executed. The series examines the gaps in the Texas mental health system: holes in public education, the troubled juvenile justice system, underfunded mental health care services for adults, unprepared prisons and the still-developing jurisprudence around brain science. In addition to producing six in-depth stories, Grissom partnered with data reporters in the newsroom to produce interactive graphics that helped readers understand that disparities in the mental health system. She also partnered with the graphics team to create a comprehensive interactive timeline that detailed the tragic events of Thomas’ life, his crime, and his case with court documents and photos.
  • CBS News Investigates The Rollout of Healthcare.gov

    Three weeks into the disastrous launch of healthcare.gov we were asked to produce a series of reports digging into the practical and political problems surrounding the project. We were able to cultivate important inside sources who provided crucial context and shed light on what went wrong and how the administration attempted to spin and cover it up. Among other findings, we exclusively showed how the Obama administration falsely stated that there would be no impact on the majority of Americans insured through work, exposed how HHS stopped issuing key regulations needed to develop healthcare.gov for months prior to the 2012 elections, uncovered tests that happened just days before the launch, showing that it crashed with just a few hundred users, revealed the so-called “death spiral” business model that predicts an abysmal collapse of the entire program if the number and profile of enrollees doesn’t drastically improve, and unearthed the shocking security risks of healthcare.gov that were documented and discussed prior to launch.
  • The Town that Medicare Built

    The waste and scams involving the Medicare system - taxpayer-paid health care for seniors - are estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars. So the ABC News Investigative Team took their undercover cameras and a producer's 82 year-old grandmother to one of the major hotbeds of Medicare fraud in the country to see firsthand how it can happen. The result was a fascinating glimpse into a world that had, until then, been relegated to government statistics and press releases. Viewers saw how a simple trip to the doctor's office can result in a diagnosis for illnesses that don't exist and expensive treatments that are not needed, all at the expense of taxpayers.
  • America's Great State Payroll Giveaway

    A state-employed psychiatrist in California made $822,000 by clocking in 17 hours every day last year, including Sundays and holidays. An employee cashed out with $609,000 for unused vacation when she retired, claiming she never took vacations in a 30-year career. A highway patrol officer collected $484,000 in salary, pension and leave payments. The chief money manager at a Texas pension fund got $1 million in salary and bonuses while posting investment returns that trailed those of peers who earned a quarter as much. Bloomberg News used freedom-of-information laws to obtain 1.4 million payroll records from the 12 largest states and show how taxpayers funded these out-of-control expenses and more, while at the same time states cut funding for universities, public safety, health care, schools and services aimed at the neediest residents.
  • Bad to the Bone

    When four executives of a medical-device company called Synthes went to jail for illegally marketing a bone cement—five patients had died after it was injected into their spines—Mina Kimes knew there had to be a compelling saga behind a case that had generated little coverage beyond local news articles. So she began digging, first with FOIA requests for never-before-published government documents, and then assembling hundreds of pages of court transcripts and internal company e-mails and reports. She used that foundation to begin the harder challenge: persuading Synthes employees, many of them terrified by the criminal case and the company’s intimidating chairman, to talk to her. With six months of grueling, old-fashioned reporting, Kimes succeeded, and “Bad to the Bone” is the masterful result. Not only did she persuade more than 20 current and former company employees to speak, but she also revealed a story whose disturbing breadth far exceeded the case presented in court. Her tour de force reporting raises profound new questions about the culpability of a key figure who wasn’t charged: Hansjörg Wyss, the reclusive and controlling Swiss founder and chairman—one of the richest people in the world—who made crucial decisions about how to sell the bone cement. This is a classic tale of corporate malfeasance: Warned by the government not to sell its bone cement for use in the spine, Synthes ignored the admonition despite clear evidence of lethal danger—a pig had died within seconds when the cement was tested on it—and encouraged surgeons to use the cement on people, five of whom died soon afterward. But “Bad to the Bone” isn’t just an exposé. It opens a window into a broader issue: how the medical system actually runs. Readers see how salespeople with no medical training advise surgeons—inside the OR during operations—on how to use their devices. They experience the tale of one surgeon who continues using the cement even after two of his patients died. Oh, and what sort of justice does Synthes itself receive? Wyss sells it, for $20 billion, to health care giant Johnson & Johnson, which praises Synthes’s “culture” and “values.” Corporate crime. Death on the operating room table. Secret e-mails. Surgeons on the edge. An imperious multibillionaire CEO. It’s a mesmerizing article, and Kimes’s reporting takes readers on a deeply unsettling journey that ensures they’ll never look at the medical system the same way again.
  • Cracking the Codes

    Cracking the Codes documented how thousands of medical professionals have steadily billed Medicare for more complex and costly health care over the past decade – adding $11 billion or more to their fees – despite little evidence elderly patients required more treatment. The series also uncovered a broad range of costly billing errors and abuses that have plagued Medicare for years – from confusion over how to pick proper payment codes to apparent overcharges in medical offices and hospital emergency rooms. The findings strongly suggest these problems, known as “upcoding,” are worsening amid lax federal oversight and the government-sponsored switch from paper to electronic medical records.
  • Los Angeles VA Has Made Millions on Rental Deals

    This story is about one of the most fought-over pieces of property in Los Angeles, the 400 acre Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus in West Los Angeles. It’s in an affluent neighborhood and has been a target of developers. But with many unused buildings, it’s also been coveted as a place to house some of L.A.’s 8,000 homeless veterans. That was the original use of the land, which was donated for an Old Soldiers’ Home in the late 19th century. The VA has not acted on plans announced in 2007 to begin rehabbing unused buildings there for housing for homeless vets. Meanwhile, it’s rented out land and buildings to commercial enterprises. There is no public accounting for this income. Through FOIA and other documents, we found that the VA is renting out the property using a law intended for sharing health care resources, though the renters are non-health related commercial enterprises. We were also able to estimate that the VA has taken in at least 28 million and possibly more than 40 million dollars over the past dozen years, far more than the cost of re-habbing a building to house homeless vets.
  • Health Care Hustle

    It is one of the biggest and most overlooked factors in the rising cost of health care. According to government estimates, fraud in programs like Medicare and Medicaid costs taxpayers $80 billion a year, with some estimates as high as twice that amount. Doctors, pharmacists, home health care providers, and even patients are hustling the system. Who's paying the tab? You Are.