A powerhouse series on patient harm under Texas’s Medicaid Managed Care program won the Shorenstein Center’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and was recognized with an AHCJ award. We’ve posted a “How I Did It” piece by the Dallas Morning News reporters, David McSwane and Andrew Chavez.
Their work showed the lack of oversight endangering about 4 million Texans, including about 720,000 who are medically fragile – both adults and children, including some in foster care.
Among their disturbing findings:
- How a disabled baby was denied intensive nursing that his doctors said he needed – and he ended up choking and severely brain damaged.
- How a shooting victim, paralyzed for years, was stuck in bed, alone, immobilized and in intense pain, for hours and hours every day when her hydraulic lift broke (meaning no transfer into a wheelchair) and her nursing hours were cut to seven hours a day.
- How plans did not have anywhere near enough psychiatrists to treat children – some of whom ended up with expensive and traumatic hospitalization instead of doing OK at home with appropriate medication.
Read through this series and, even if you can’t do a months-long intensive project of this type, there are some simpler, less time-consuming checks you can do, such as just calling to find out if psychiatrists are actually in network, taking new patients, and within a reasonable distance.
And don’t miss part eight of the series about what can be done to fix the problems. See which ones your state has implemented – and if not, why not.