Reuters, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel win Barlett & Steele awards
Reuters received the gold award and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the silver award in the fourth annual Barlett & Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism announced Monday.
“Diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Dropped by Insurer” by Murray Waas of Reuters received the top gold award of $5,000. A four-month investigation revealed that a giant health insurer had targeted policyholders recently diagnosed with breast cancer for aggressive investigations with the intent to cancel their policies. An exhaustive study of records, hearings and federal data, as well as dozens of interviews with experts, officials and patients led to the story.
“Reuters contrasted the upfront public stance of a health care company and its CEO to the reality behind the scenes, revealing the insidiousness of gate keeping by software,” said the judges. “This investigation led to government pressure and an industry-wide change in the practice of dropping health care coverage for patients after they became sick.”
“Side Effects: Money, Medicine and Patients” by John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel received the silver award of $2,000.
The stories uncovered conflicts of interest that can compromise a doctor’s judgment. An example was a surgeon receiving millions of dollars in royalties annually from a medical device company while serving as editor of a medical journal that published favorable research on the company’s projects.
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