Do No Harm
Do No Harm tells the story of two reluctant whistleblowers in a small Georgia town who endure relentless attacks as they struggle to draw national attention to hospital corruption and the plight of the uninsured.
At the center of this story is Phoebe Putney, a non-profit hospital in Albany, Georgia whose influence is felt by most residents; everyone knows someone who works at Phoebe, owes Phoebe money, or who has been to the hospital for treatment. In 2003 Dr. John Bagnato and accountant Charles Rehberg stumble upon evidence that the hospital is overcharging uninsured and indigent patients and is using aggressive collections tactics to recover costs.
Their subsequent investigation uncovers millions of dollars in offshore bank accounts and lucrative for-profit businesses under the control of the non-profit hospital — not only at Phoebe, but also at non-profit hospitals around the country. And shockingly — this is all entirely legal. When these discoveries become public, Bagnato and Rehberg become the targets of threats and intimidation, and are eventually prosecuted by local authorities for blowing the whistle on the hospital's practices. With their reputations and livelihoods on the line, Bagnato and Rehberg must confront what they’re willing to sacrifice to bring about justice.
Directed by Rebecca Schanberg, Produced and Edited by Susanne Suffredin.
Far too many Americans — uninsured and under-insured — already know the terrible realities that this project, together with our engagement partners The Access Project, Physicians for a National Health Program, American Patients United and Community Catalyst, has been sharing across the nation through screenings, panel discussions and community events.
Do No Harm broadcast on PBS stations across the nation and has been selected by several prestigious film festivals. Viewers, astonished to learn about the practices detailed in the film, have been moved to investigate practices at their local non-profit hospitals. Over 1,000 copies of the film have been distributed to advocates and policy makers. Among those who have viewed the film are Housing Secretary Sean Donovan, members of the Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor to the President on Health Care. Families USA, which holds a national conference that is regarded by many as the most important health care conference of the year, distributed over 300 copies of the film to its attendees in January 2010. Other organizations, such as USAction and SEIU, have used the film internally for trainings and advocacy.