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Compromised Care


Affiliation: Chicago Tribune Staff with ProPublica

Metro Newspapers

Year: 2009

Place: Second Place

Provide a brief synopsis of the story or stories, including any significant findings.

Through interviews and often-confidential documents, the Tribune pieced together a series of recent cases in which violent nursing home residents assaulted, raped and even murdered their elderly and disabled housemates. Illinois is an outlier among states in its reliance on nursing homes to house younger adults with mental illness, including thousands of gang members and felons whose disabilities qualify them for Medicaid-funded nursing care.

Judges' comments: This year-long investigative series exposes scores of cases where violent nursing home residents "assaulted, raped and even murdered their elderly and disabled housemates." It also exposes a breathtaking scandal of psychotropic overuse in Illinois nursing homes, including a doctor who, at one point, was "one of the nation's most prolific prescribers of psychiatric drugs." On day 3 of the series, the Illinois governor created a nursing home safety task force, which ultimately proposed many reforms. The stories, written by a team of eight Tribune journalists, and, at times joined by ProPublica, serves as a model of for investigative health journalism.

Read "Compromised Care"

See the archived story and the questionnaire about how this story was written.

In an article exclusively for AHCJ, the reporters share tips on how they reported this project.