Staff Directory 10645091

Glenn Howatt

Editor | Computer-Assisted Reporting
Phone: 612-673-7192
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Glenn Howatt has been with the Star Tribune since 1990. In addition to covering health care, he served as the newspaper's data editor for several years.


Howatt is a recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize and was named a Pulitzer finalist in 2015. A native of Chicago, he has master's degrees in urban geography and journalism. Howatt holds two master's degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: one in urban geography and the other in journalism. He is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Howatt previously worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul CityBusiness, now the Business Journal.
Recent content from Glenn Howatt
State Sen. Julie Rosen led a hearing Wednesday over the leadership at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) for its mismanagement of financ

Legislators say state's DHS not alone in sloppy contracting

Legislators leveled stinging criticism at state agencies at a hearing on mismanagement of financial contracts that led to nearly 1,800 violations of state law over the past year.
Jodi Harpstead, center, Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner (DHS), appeared in October before a Senate committee about the agency maki

Costly Medicaid missteps could foretell bigger problems at DHS

A top official at the Minnesota Department of Human Services told the legislative auditor that overpayments to two Indian bands are just "one example" of wider dysfunction in the agency's oversight of millions of dollars.
“It is the governor’s responsibility now,” state Sen. Julie Rosen has said.

State Senate panel to review Department of Human Services contracts

Gov. Tim Walz says he welcomes scrutiny of the agency.
Legislative Auditor James Nobles held up the complicated organizational chart of DHS as he spoke on the results of its investigation into Medicaid ove

Documents show DHS broke law more than 200 times in past year

The Minnesota Department of Human Services violated state law with $52 million in contracts and grant commitments to vendors, Indian bands and other state government agencies without proper documentation, according to records.
Sheana Schlichter, a former assessor from Scott County, meets with Carolyn Thomson of Northfield at her home. Her 13-year-old son, Finnegan has a seve

Complaints, gaps dog system to distribute disability services

A $600 million system was supposed to streamline aid for people with disabilities. But instead it's a giant mess.
DHS compliance officer Faye Bernstein protested against mistreatment of whistleblowers outside of a rally for President Donald Trump in Minneapolis.

DHS worker alleges ongoing retaliation for raising alarms over state opioid contracts

The legislative auditor expresses concern and is monitoring the situation.
Jan Malcolm

Minn. nursing home complaint response times better — but still below guidelines

Improvements made amid a sharp rise in the number of complaints alleging serious maltreatment.
The Minnesota Department of Health.

Minn. health regulators often fail to respond rapidly to nursing home abuse complaints

Nursing home complaints pile up despite reform efforts by Legislature, advocates.
In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 file photo, a woman using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.

Two more Minnesotans have died from vaping-related lung illnesses

The most recent deaths involved patients over the age of 50 who died after "complicated hospitalizations."
PCA Nora Clark looks in on Scott Semo while Ramsey County. Semo had a massive brain hemorrhage in 2001 and requires intensive medical care.

High-stakes assessments upend lives of families with disabilities

A few hours can shape the rest of the year for Minnesota families. High-stakes disability assessments deliver critical help, or despair.
New Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead took questions from sate senators after being introduced at the start of a Minnesota Stat

Minn. Medicaid program paid for 198 people who had died

Minnesota's Medicaid program improperly paid $3.7 million to HMOs for enrollees who were deceased, a federal audit has found.
This 2009 colorized microscope image shows a sickle cell, left, and normal red blood cells of a patient with sickle cell anemia.

Minnesota gets federal grant to study reach of sickle cell disease

Extent of the blood disorder is not clear, hampering treatment.
New Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead took questions from sate senators after being introduced at the start of a Minnesota Stat

DHS finds another $3.8 million in opioid care overpayments to Minnesota Indian bands

State is working with Leech Lake, White Earth bands to repay $29.1M.
Tamara Frazee and son Trystan, 11, who has autism spectrum disorder, moved to Austin after their benefits were slashed.

'Geography is destiny' for Minnesota families coping with disabilities

With families desperate, thousands are uprooting themselves in Minnesota because they can't get the help they need where they live.
Lizzie Gold, accompanied by youngest daughter Grace,4, brought daughter Lizzie,7, to Crescent Cove for a respite weekend.] Sidebar--Emily Gold cared f

'No child with a terminal illness should have to wait for Medicaid services'

Emily and David Gold keep the small bedroom where their daughter Lizzie once lived exactly as she left it. Her favorite flowered dress hangs on…
A western small-footed bat collected by researchers in a cave near Ely, Nev., Nov. 5, 2018. The Marquette Avenue rabid bat is the latest of several fo

Rabid bat discovered in downtown Minneapolis

Disease is unusual in bats, but it presents health risks to humans.
New Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead took questions from state senators on Wednesday.

Can a new leader calm the turmoil at Minnesota DHS?

Jodi Harpstead takes the helm at an agency roiled by errors and recent resignations.
The Justice Department in Washington, March 24, 2019. The department is insisting that states use a federal prescription-tracking computer system that

Showdown over tracking prescriptions threatens Minnesota federal grants

At issue is a prescription drug tracking system.
In this file photo from March, Gov. Tim Walz listened to Assistant Commissioner for Health Care and State Medicaid Director Marie Zimmerman during a r

Another top official resigns at Minnesota's Department of Human Services

Marie Zimmerman, who oversaw Medical Assistance, announced her resignation effective in 10 days, the second high-profile departure this week.
Claire Wilson

Minnesota's deputy DHS commissioner resigns for a second time

Claire Wilson was caught up in leadership turmoil at the state's biggest agency.
DHS Acting Commissioner Pam Wheelock spoke during a Aenate hearing about recent events in the Minnesota Department of Human Services at the Minnesota

Feds order state to give improper Medicaid payments back

Federal officials say the Department of Human Services paid chemical-dependency treatment facilities illegally.
Lake Nokomis Beach was closed due to high bacteria levels Tuesday August 13, 2019 in Minneapolis.

Lake Nokomis bacteria outbreak grows to 49; beaches closed for season

The south Minneapolis lake's two beaches will be closed for the rest of the season out of an "abundance of caution," Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board officials said.
Legislative Auditor James Nobles has launched an investigation into $25 million in overpayments to two tribes for substance abuse treatment.

Minnesota overpaid $25M to two tribes for substance abuse treatment

The overpayments, made over a period of five years, were made to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Nation to provide Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid dependency.
In May, Travis Paulson of Eveleth, Minn., pointed out the insulin that he had purchased on a recent trip to Canada.

Plan to import drugs from Canada gets guarded welcome in Minnesota

Some consumer advocates see hope for lower prices, though plan might exclude insulin.

'Short-sighted' decisions in Minn.'s Medicaid program harming patients, doctor charges

Officials have come under fire for limiting access to drugs and services, ignoring medical expertise.
Nancy Whitley

Dr. Nancy Whitley, physician who cared for seriously ill as she developed cancer, dies at 62

Shortly after starting her palliative care training at the University of Minnesota in 2014, she received her own cancer diagnosis.
.

35 Minnesotans sickened by contaminated fresh basil

The cases have been linked to basil imported from Mexico at restaurants in Rochester, Hermantown and Duluth, according to the Minnesota Health Department.
Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Reform Committee, has joined other lawmakers in calling for the DHS to be b

Minnesota DHS official says she was punished for speaking out

Faye K. Bernstein said she raised alarms about the legality of contracts at the social services agency. Lawmakers have renewed calls for breaking up the Minnesota Department of Human Services amid leadership disarray.
Prescription drugs at Express Scripts, one of the biggest pharmacy benefit managers in the drug world, in St. Louis, Mo.

Minnesota is aiming for more transparency on drug prices

Minnesota is joining a growing number of states that regulate pharmacy middlemen.
Quinn Nystrom of Baxter, Minn., looked over an insulin pen she purchased last month in Fort Frances, Ontario.

Diabetics turn to internet black market for insulin

Faced with soaring costs and insurance restrictions, Minnesota diabetics are turning to Facebook, eBay, Craigslist and other lesser-known markets where they can offer medication they no longer need and ask others for help.

Minn. takes step toward broader use of highly effective hepatitis C treatment

The state could remove limits to getting effective drug under Medicaid.
Allina Health

Supreme Court rules in favor of Allina in suit over Medicare pay

The decision reverses a move by federal Medicare authorities to cut billions of dollars in payments supporting hospital care for low-income patients.
Testing has been a longtime goal in HIV prevention, but many people shy away from it, and doctors often don’t encourage it because of the stigma ass

Minn. health leaders hope to cut state HIV cases via tests and treatment

Some have the virus and don't know it, others have the diagnosis but aren't getting care.
Justice David L. Lillehaug

Minnesota Supreme Court ruling causes stir in health care

In a ruling that is ruffling feathers in Minnesota's medical and legal communities, the state Supreme Court has said that a doctor can be sued for malpractice even in the absence of a traditional physician-patient relationship.
Quinn Nystrom, left, Travis Paulson, Vicky Luedtke and Nicole Smith-Holt reached their destination, Shoppers Drug Market pharmacy in Fort Frances, Ont

High cost of meds is driving Minnesotans across the border

Diabetes activists head to Canada to snare affordable medicine and supplies.
Carol Colleran

Carol Colleran, who beat addiction and changed treatment industry, dies at 82

Colleran went on to advocate for treatment programs for older adults and hold leadership positions at some of the nation's most prominent addiction treatment organizations.
“We definitely have a way to go to make sure the community is fully vaccinated,” said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the Minnesota

Minnesota has 'many pockets of concern' in fight against measles

Minnesota so far has escaped measles infections at a time when the country has seen more than 700 cases, the highest number in the past 25 years. But health officials here know that the seeds of an outbreak could be just a plane ride away.
FILE - This July 23, 2018 file photo shows packets of buprenorphine, a drug which controls heroin and opioid cravings, in Greenfield, Mass.

While opioid epidemic rages, much of Minnesota is a treatment desert

Amid opioid crisis, many rural areas lack providers of updated drug therapy.
HealthCare.gov was set up under the Affordable Care Act. And under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the federal government provided nearly 90 percent of

Budget shortfalls loom in Minnesota's health care fund

After federal cuts, money for MinnesotaCare will be $900 million short in 2023.
Linsey Rippy’s daughters, Madi, 12, and Sydney, 9, have both had heart transplants. The girls take anti-rejection drugs that sap their ability to fi

With fewer kids vaccinated, more Minn. schools vulnerable

"Herd immunity" is lost in one-third of state schools, several of which have had chickenpox outbreaks since 2017. That's the same year unvaccinated children helped drive a measles outbreak.
Deaths by suicide and related to alcohol and opioid abuse are continuing to rise in Minnesota.

Minnesota suicides and other 'preventable deaths' reach record levels

Continual uptick is a "worrisome long-term trend," health officials say.
Quinn Nystrom recalled having to switch diabetes drugs at least seven times over the last several years. Two years ago, she appealed a drug change, an

Minnesota patients are paying the price of drug roulette

When health insurers change the list of drugs they will pay for, that can mean higher costs, more co-payments and medical complications.
A Mayo Clinic building

Mayo Clinic called out for use of live animals to train doctors

Clinic says its practices comply with the law.
Cigarettes seen behind the counter at a Vernon BP gas station in Edina.

Minnesota asks Big Tobacco firms: Where's the money?

Shortfalls in historic 1998 settlement putting Minnesota's quit-smoking efforts in jeopardy.
Gabriel Bliss, 31, with his daughter Liberty, 3, is a recovering heroin addict who contracted Hepatitis C from a shared needle. Bliss, seen at the hom

Tough choices over a pricey but effective drug for hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is one of the most common infectious diseases, with the potential to cause serious liver damage, so patients were thrilled when a set of revolutionary new medications became available five years ago.
A hedgehog seen at the Minnesota Zoo.

Pet owners beware: Don't kiss that hedgehog

Salmonella outbreak from pets prompts warning.
Unpaid hospital debt in Minnesota surged 25 percent in 2017, according to a report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Hospital Association.

Minnesota hospitals see spike in unpaid bills

It is the biggest jump since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2013, according to a report released by the Minnesota Hospital Association.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

MinnesotaCare for all? Lawmakers pitch a way to broaden health coverage

Proposals to expand MinnesotaCare face uphill fight in GOP-led Senate.
A photograph of the HealthCare.gov website in October 2018.

Affordable Care Act's fate worries many in Minn.

Breadth of 2010 health care law means many will be affected if it's struck down in the courts.
A vial containing the MMR vaccine is loaded into a syringe before being given to a baby at the Medical Arts Pediatric Med Group in Los Angeles on Febr

Heavy drinking, lack of vaccinations hurt state's health ranking

Minnesota hit No. 7 due to excessive drinking, obesity and lower rate of immunizations.
File photo of travelers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Holiday travel expected to bring more flu cases to Minnesota

The annual illness season in Minnesota has gotten off to a slow start, but that's likely to change.
President Donald Trump signed the farm bill Thursday in Washington. The signing came after Congress dropped a proposal to toughen work requirements. B

New Trump rules for food stamps would mean changes in rural Minn.

Single adults in 30 Minnesota counties and on 11 American Indian reservations have been exempt from work requirements due to scarce jobs.
Oliver Rodriguez-Ocampo has spent each of his 515 days of life at Hennepin Healthcare since his birth on July 20, 2017. On Tuesday, he celebrated his

Preemie graduates from HCMC after 515-day hospital stay

Oliver Rodriguez-Ocampo's stay at the downtown Minneapolis hospital was the longest for a preemie for the past 18 years.
Nurse Heather Grace demonstrated how to change a tracheostomy tube on Pediatric Hal, a simulated 5-year-old patient who helps health care providers tr

Meet Hal: A robot that helps train health workers for a crisis

Increasingly sophisticated simulators are on the front lines of health care workers' training.
Nine years into a robust economic expansion, with Minnesota’s unemployment rate at historic lows, the number of people on public health insurance fo

Minnesota has plenty of jobs, but health insurance? No

Despite a strong economy, 1.1M Minnesotans rely on public health insurance.
James Holt Jr. and Nicole Smith-Holt, parents of Alec Smith, rallied at the Minnesota state Capitol in May against the high and rising prices of presc

Soaring insulin prices cause Minn. lawmakers to draft remedies

Many diabetics say they need help, with the price having tripled since 2002.
A Portico Healthnet adviser assisted people signing up for health insurance at the Ramsey County jail.

Released Minn. inmates may end up 'back in prison' if they don't get health care

Lack of necessary health care can undercut inmate's re-entry into society.
Romaine lettuce still sits on the shelves in the produce area of an Albertsons market Tuesday in Simi Valley, Calif. Health officials told people to s

E. coli alert causes grocers, chefs to dump romaine lettuce

Kowalski's and others clear their shelves; a Lake Elmo restaurant is reworking its salads for Thanksgiving.
EpiPens are among the drugs affected by a nationwide shortage of critical-care medications.

Twin Cities hospitals face critical shortage of pain medications

Workarounds are helping, but common drugs scarce.
Glynn Crooks

Tribal leader and proud veteran Glynn Crooks dies at 67

Glynn Crooks, a longtime leader of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, was passionate about passing on Dakota culture and traditions, as well as expressing his…
Republican Jeff Johnson, left, and DFLer Tim Walz faced off Tuesday night in a “Greater Minnesota Debate” in Willmar, Minn.

Health care becomes flashpoint in Minnesota governor's race

With Affordable Care Act still jarring U.S. politics, access to health care and how to pay for it a major issue dividing Tim Walz, Jeff Johnson.
Kim Gregg had imaging work done at the mylife Dental clinic in Eagan.

'Teledentristry' expands preventive care to more Minnesota families

Remote exams, lower costs regaining favor.

HealthPartners gets $7.9 million grant for health co-ops and care centers in Uganda, 3 other countries

With its own roots in the co-op movement, HealthPartners spreads the model overseas.
mug

A beloved mentor, he mixed engineering with dentistry

Dr. Robert Isaacson was a "modest, self-effacing person," according to his wife, but he had an amazing ability to bring people together and inspire them…
Signs are displayed for the needle exchange program at the Austin Community Outreach Center, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Austin, Ind. Participants in

Needle-related infections soar in Minnesota as opioid epidemic lingers

Minnesota hospitals are seeing a rise in costly illnesses related to syringe-sharing.
Mary Schlief, who has a medication allergy and also has two sons with food allergies, understands that Mylan's EpiPen can be a life saver for her and

EpiPen shortage has Minnesota parents, pharmacies scrambling

National shortage is the latest of many to hit the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.
Judge Donovan Frank’s ruling settled a key legal question that could have implications for future transgender health litigation, attorneys said.

Minnesota judge: Federal law bars denying insurance coverage for transgender medicine

A woman sued her Duluth employer when its health insurance didn't cover her son's treatment.
An arrangement of aspirin pills

That daily aspirin isn't necessarily helping prevent heart attacks

Latest data suggest that, for healthy people, there's no benefit – but some risks.
A health worker prepares a syringe with a vaccine against measles.

Third Minnesota measles case prompts warning about international travel

Unvaccinated children at risk in some overseas nations, officials say.
The number of Minnesotans without health insurance rose last year for the first time since 2013, when the Affordable Care Act took full effect, accord

Number of Minnesotans without health insurance grows by 18,000

Despite the increase, Minnesota still has one of the lowest rates of uninsured in the country at 4.5 percent.
Hydrocodone is a popular prescription semi-synthetic opioid that is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Minn. will speed access to patients' opioid treatment drugs

Minnesota's Medicaid program will remove one of the biggest obstacles facing patients who need drug therapy, cutting the red tape that doctors say has impeded their ability to prescribe treatment medications for opioid addiction.

HealthPartners to study community health interventions

HealthPartners study to see if community workers affect heart outcomes.
Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper said her department is assessing whether the $85 million is sufficient to address Minn

Minnesota will get $85M in health care funding from White House

The state sued after feds sought to withhold support of the MinnesotaCare program.
FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, file photo, a pediatrician holds a dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Second measles case puts Minnesota officials back on alert

New infection underscores growing global threat.
Lake Harriet Bandshell.

Bat found on path near Lake Harriet tests positive for rabies

Health officials urge shots for anyone who might have come in contact with the animal.