KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Psychiatrist Delivers High-Risk Meds, Poor Care In Chicago Nursing Homes

ProPublica/The Chicago Tribune examine the case of a controversial psychiatrist who delivered an anti-psychotic medication to thousands of Medicaid patients in Chicago's nursing homes. "Dr. Michael Reinstein is one of the most prolific providers of psychiatric care in Chicago-area nursing homes and mental health facilities. But he is trailed by lawsuits and complaints while getting government reimbursement for seeing a large number of patients."

Reinstein received payments totalling nearly $500,000 over 10 years from the drugmaker AstraZeneca, and published several studies promoting its drug Seroquel. "During that period, Reinstein also faced accusations that he overmedicated and neglected patients who took a variety of drugs. But his research and promotional work went on, including studies and presentations examining many of the antipsychotics he prescribed on his daily rounds."

According to ProPublica/Tribune, several physicians have questioned the results of Reinstein's studies. "Dr. Jerome Kassirer, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, read the AstraZeneca e-mails at the request of ProPublica and the Tribune. He concluded that editors of medical journals should investigate Reinstein's published studies. 'Once you know that he has done a study that has been discredited,' Kassirer said, 'you have to ask yourself about all other studies done'" (Jewett and Roe, 11/10).

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