In 2004, Dr. John Bagnato and CPA Charles Rehberg began a campaign to expose abuses at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia.  Bagnato and Rehberg found that Phoebe Putney exploited its nonprofit status, overcharged uninsured clients and employed draconian collection procedures while enriching hospital officials with offshore accounts and lucrative exclusive contracts bolstered by aggressive lobbying. 

The deeper they looked, the more Bagnato and Rehberg found these practices were widespread at hospitals across the country.  Their investigation led to class action lawsuits against 37 healthcare systems, spreaheaded by Mississippi attorney Richard Scruggs, who had won suits against the asbestos and tobacco industries and was later convicted of bribery.

Filmmaker Rebecca Schanberg of The Kindling Group follows Bagnato and Rehberg’s story in her documentary Do No Harm, which has its Chicago premiere in a private screening tonight at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who successfully sued the Christie and Carle clinics to end those facilities’ discrimination against Medicaid patients, introduces the screening.  Afterwards there’s a panel discussion with Schanberg and medical activists Mark Rukavina of The Access Project, Donna Smith of American Patients United, and Dr. Quentin Young, appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn in April to chair the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

Do No Harm screens at 7 PM tonight at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Pre-screening reception at 6 Puck’s at the MCA, panel at 8.  RSVP here.