2014 Topical Reporting, Medium Newsroom winner

ProPublica’s Healthcare Coverage


About the Project

ProPublica’s hard-hitting health coverage, always a key part of our work, was in high gear this past year.

  • In April, Medicare released details on payments to individual doctors and other health professionals serving the 46 million seniors and disabled in its Part B program. Our “Treatment Tracker” app lets users look up their own providers and see rich contextual information, helping them understand how Medicare’s payments work and where they can go wrong:
  • Heading to the emergency room? You may wait a while before a doctor or other treating professional sees you — and the hospital nearest to you might not be the one that sees you the fastest. “ER Wait Watcher” is an interactive news application that lets people look up average ER wait times, as reported by hospitals to the federal government, as well as the time it takes to get there in current traffic, as reported by Google:
  • Our ongoing “Patient Safety” Facebook project continued to mobilize readers. Started a few years ago, that crowdsourcing project has brought in 3,118 tips shared from 11,374 contributors:
  • This year we also started collecting and publishing Patient Harm stories on our “Voices of Patient Harm” Tumblr:
  • “Use Only as Directed” details the dangers of acetaminophen, which result in 150 fatal accidental overdoses and tens of thousands of hospitalizations every year:
  • In November, We updated our “Prescriber Checkup,” app with new data and a new interface. The app uses Medicare data to help patients see the way their doctors prescribe – and compare them to similar doctors:
  • Charles Ornstein was on top of the health care story of the year: the launch of health insurance exchanges under Obamacare. His rapid-fire reporting detailed catastrophic glitcheswith the signup process, highlighting personal stories that propelled his articles all over the web. He helped readers make sense of bureaucratic hearings and held insurers accountable for their mistakes. His “Obamacare and You” coverage was the epitome of beat reporting: