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 where he has specialized in health care reporting and data journalism.

Howatt is a recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for a series of stories exposing deaths of children in under-regulated day care homes. He was also a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Local Reporting for a series on Minnesota's dehumanizing treatment of the disabled. He also received the Gerald Loeb Award in 2011 for reporting on the debt collection industry and in 2015 for reporting on the home health care industry, which also received the 2015 Barlett and Steele Silver Award. He holds a master's of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied urban geography. He also has a journalism master of arts degree from the same institution where he specialized in the use of Census data by newspapers.
Recent content from Glenn Howatt
Passengers arriving from Italy at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, RUssia on March 2, 2020. A Russian citizen who returned from Italy on Feb.

Live: Latest updates and what you need to know about COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus spreads across the world, we've answered reader question about what they most want to know about the outbreak.
A growing number of hospitalizations may stretch facilities such as HCMC to the limit.

With COVID-19 hospitalizations rising in state, deal reached on treatment costs

Out-of-pocket treatment costs for some patients will be waived under an agreement announced with nonprofit insurers, along with other moves.
Retired registered nurse Cindy Larson took a patient's temperature when they came to the CARE Clinic for a problem unrelated to COVID-19 in Red Wing o

State officials upset with lack of COVID-19 test supplies

Officials continue to emphasize that the confirmed case count, which included five new deaths in the state, is not telling the whole picture.
The intersection of Marquette and Seventh in downtown Minneapolis was largely empty on Monday morning, the first day of Gov. Tim Walz's stay-at-home o

Minn. COVID-19 deaths at 10 with 56 hospitalized; 24 in ICU

Gov. Tim Walz said that finding personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, face shields and gowns, continues to be a challenge but added that the state is getting more help from the federal government.
Ben Pelton, right, and Dr. Timothy Sielaff, who was assisted by Travis Wolfe of the Red Cross, donated blood at Allina Commons on March 19. State heal

They need your blood: Canceled drives pressure Minnesota's supplies

Despite COVID-19, blood banks remain open for business and need donations.
Rachel Miner, 15, left, of Emmetsburg, Iowa, sat with Carlotta Haas, 15, right, a German foreign exchange student from Duesseldorf who had been living

COVID-19 could potentially infect 2.4 million in Minnesota

New projected health impacts provide the first Minnesota-specific attempt to gauge the burden of the pandemic.
Signs alerting customers to changes in operations were painting on the windows of Panera Saturday on Nicollet Mall.

Cases in 4 care facilities among Minnesota's 235 infections

It is another record-setting day for confirmed cases, as health officials have consistently said more cases were expected to be discovered and many other cases are undetected.
A jogger passed by the Minnehaha Bunny, which had a protective mask added amid the coronavirus pandemic, Friday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota COVID-19 case numbers jump to 115 as pace accelerates

Infections have likely spread beyond the 21 Minnesota counties that have confirmed cases, increasingly through community transmission.
Shopper Merlin Smith, 82, of Edina navigates the aisles of Lunds and Byerlys during an early morning hour devoted to older shoppers and shoppers with

Minnesota hospitals ordered to postpone elective surgeries

Twelve more cases of COVID-19 were announced Thursday, bringing the total in the state to 89.
Dr. Meeta Shah, an emergency room doctor, took video calls at Rush University Medical Center, which is using telemedicine to screen and treat patients

Pandemic could broaden telemedicine in Minnesota Medicaid

Legislature fails to pass bill waiving rules on phone, video chats for pandemic.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz watched as Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm announced community mitigation strategies Friday in response to the COVID-19 pandem

'A heightened state of readiness': State lays out steps to fight virus

Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency, limiting large gatherings such as concerts, conferences and sporting events. Five more Minnesotans have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing cases to 14.
This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, in orange, emerging fr

No, you can't kill COVID-19 by drinking warm water

Beyond drinking water, the hoax says people can tell if they're not infected by holding their breath for more than 10 seconds without coughing or discomfort.
A helicopter carrying airmen with the 129th Rescue Wing flew over the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California on March 5. The unidentif

First Minnesota coronavirus patient had limited contact with others

Minnesota's first COVID-19 patient had been on the now quarantined Grand Princess for a cruise between California and Mexico. Of the 26 passengers who disembarked Feb. 21 and returned to Minnesota, only two had symptoms. One ended up as the state's first COVID-19 case. The other tested negative.
Travelers in Terminal 1 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Wednesday.

New precautions: 2 MSP fliers in 'self-quarantine' are U students

The move was one of the increasing number of precautions being taken in Minnesota amid growing signs of the virus' spread.
Elias Usso has opened an independent pharmacy in Minneapolis.

Independent pharmacy in Minneapolis hopes to beat the odds

Elias Usso did something almost unheard of in today’s pharmacy world. He opened an independent pharmacy in Minneapolis at a time when large corporate chains…
Suboxone is prescribed for addiction treatment as part of comprehensive recovery effort.

32 rural Minn. counties still lack providers for key opioid addiction recovery drug

Providers say Suboxone saves lives, but approval process deters many.
The proposal was unveiled Thursday by Seema Verma, the administrator who oversees the Medicaid program.

Will Minnesota accept new Medicaid financing deal from feds?

The program appears geared toward the 14 states that have not taken advantage of the ACA option to expand Medicaid to single adults.
Minnesota State Senator J im Abeler led a hearing Wednesday where Minnesota Department of Human Services officials unveiled plans to improve the state

Minnesota takes steps to modernize disability services

People with disabilities and their families say the $3 billion program is confusing and arbitrary.
State Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said the new internal audit is a sign her agency is responding to complaints.

Audit finds violations of laws to prevent fraud at DHS unit

An internal audit at the Minnesota Department of Human Services has found several violations of laws to prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the division responsible for a recent series of improper payments.
Matt Anderson, will become assistant commissioner for health care, and Karen McKinney will become the agency’s chief equity officer.

Troubled Minnesota agency names candidates for top health care, equity posts

Minnesota's biggest state agency continues to firm up its executive ranks.
At a home in St. Louis Park, Robert W. Carlson, owner of Healthy Homes drills a hole through the basement wall. The fan on the right is part of a miti

Regulation of Minnesota radon contractors is headed to court

Health Department rules have been on hold since 2018 after industry sued the state.
Gov. Tim Walz.

Walz seeks peace with counties over $10M in DHS payment glitches

Walz tells leaders they won't have to pay $10M for DHS payment errors.
Minnesota hospitals admitted 117 influenza patients last week, the highest weekly total for the season, according to the Minnesota Health Department.

Minnesota hospitals report more flu cases; school outbreaks dwindle

Early emergence of B strain has affected kids, but produced relatively few deaths.
The new Medicaid policy, which took effect in August, allows doctors to prescribe hormones, such as testosterone, for those who have decided to transi

Minnesota DHS adds Medicaid drug coverage for transgender teens

Change provides more treatment options for transgender teens in Minnesota.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each year, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Flu outbreaks at Minnesota schools are worst in five years

With most classes out this week, the next front for the flu's spread is likely to be at home or at community events, but the dominant flu strain this season tends to affect children the most.
Carolyn Ham

Minnesota DHS reassigns inspector general caught up in controversy

Investigation after the state's legislative auditor found disarray resulted in no disciplinary action.
Dr. Nathan Chomilo

Minnesota pediatrician, equity advocate named as medical director for Medicaid

Dr. Nathan Chomilo, a respected Twin Cities pediatrician and internist, has been named the state's new Medicaid medical director by the Minnesota Department of Human…
Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles, left, and Jodi Harpstead, Minnesota Department of Human Services commissioner in front of a Minnesota Senate committee

Minnesota DHS official served on nonprofit's board while approving payments

The episode appears to violate Minnesota state ethics policies, and the legislative auditor is reviewing the case for potential conflict of interest.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Walz hires consultant to study breaking up embattled DHS

A breakup has been suggested many times over the past decade, and even this year high-ranking DHS officials have said that it might make sense.
Patricia Wilson looks out of the bedroom at her group home to see if her mother has arrived. Her mother, Janet Resler, takes Wilson out to community m

Disabled Minnesota residents often live in costly isolation

Rather than helping develop care plans that would allow disabled Minnesotans to live in their homes, counties continue to steer thousands into facilities that promote dependency and isolation.
Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, questioned new Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead in September. Abeler said it’s unfair to ask the c

Minnesota counties resist costly payments for Department of Human Services errors

The department is trying to collect $9 million from counties for mistakes it made.
State Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead testified before lawmakers about what she has learned in her first 90 days and her plans going forwar

State DHS leader lays out plan to rebuild trust in troubled agency

Jodi Harpstead pledged to strengthen internal controls and form an outside advisory council that will include Bill George, the former Medtronic CEO who was once Harpstead's boss.
The tainted blackberries were sold at Fresh Thyme stores between Sep. 9 and Sep. 30.

Minnesota reports first hepatitis A case linked to tainted blackberries

Illness counts rise from national outbreaks involving blackberries and Salinas romaine lettuce.
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead listened as Legislative Auditor James Nobles discussed the results of his investigation into Medicaid overpayments by

Counties will pay for some of DHS' growing financial failures

What was $48 million in improper payments to chemical dependency treatment providers has now grown into a more expensive problem as the Minnesota Department of Human Services revealed additional failures Monday.
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. 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.