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Jeremy Olson

Reporter | Newsroom

Jeremy Olson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering health care for the Star Tribune. Trained in investigative and computer-assisted reporting, Olson has covered politics, social services, and family issues.

A University of St. Thomas graduate, Olson completed fellowships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, Poynter Institute and New York Times. Honors include a Premack Public Affairs award for scrutinizing a schizophrenia drug trial, a SABEW award for uncovering abuses of meatpackers, and a Casey Medal for examining deaths in foster care. His Pulitzer-winning series on child care led to a decline in child deaths. Olson and his family live in Edina.
Recent content from Jeremy Olson
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned consumers not to eat certain whole and cut cantaloupes and pre-cut fruit products linked to

Minnesota is nation's hot spot in deadly cantaloupe salmonella outbreak

Two Minnesotans have died from an outbreak linked to tainted cantaloupe and fresh-cut fruit medleys.
A sign points visitors toward the financial services department at a hospital.

Insured Minnesotans' health care cost $581 more per person last year

Prescription drugs drove increase, but variations in clinic care and charges played a role as well.
An artist’s rendering shows the centerpiece of Mayo Clinic’s planned $5 billion expansion: a sweeping two-building patient care complex that conne

$5 billion redo of Mayo Clinic's campus will reshape skyline of Rochester

The project will demolish existing buildings to make way for five others that will offer seamless care for patients.
Visitors in front of the Grand Marais Lighthouse.

ER doctor's dismissal fuels anger in Grand Marais

North Shore Hospital blames a staffing company, but local residents want to hold its leaders and board members accountable.
Officers at the Des Moines Police Department demonstrate how REPULS, an alternative chemical irritant to pepper spray, can be used to subdue an attack

Pepper spray 2.0 could snuff violence in Minnesota hospitals

Security guards are reluctant to use traditional pepper spray, so Crystal, Minn., company invented an alternative.
Imam Mohamed Mahad of the Nurul-Iman Mosque in Minneapolis signed a fatwa document Thursday permitting Muslim parents to use donor breast milk for the

Twin Cities Muslim leaders OK donor breast milk for critically ill infants

The religious decree, or fatwa, is designed to guide local families but is drawing interest from Muslims across the globe.
Dr. Michael Joyner of Mayo Clinic

Prominent doctor says Mayo tried to muzzle him. Clinic says he demanded money.

The dispute centers on Dr. Michael Joyner's criticism of federal health authorities over plasma treatment for COVID.
A still from surveillance video of a patient attacking a nurse at St. John’s Hospital Nov. 2, 2014.

Workplace injuries from hospital violence increase in Minnesota

The problem is compounded as assaulted workers quit, leaving hospitals short-handed to treat complex patients.
Yolanda Pierson testified before a Minnesota Senate committee in March in favor of a requirement that hospitals screen patients for charity care and f

Minnesota hospitals barred from debt collection until screening patients for charity care

Law fills notification gap that left some Minnesota families without help to which they were entitled.
Claire Williams gave her son Amos, 9, some Halloween candy in Arden Hills. Amos has a disease called PANDAS/PANS, which is triggered by infections and

U doctor's departure is a setback for kids with rare illness

Families are desperate to maintain treatment for PANS/PANDAS, an infection-derived disease that causes violence and compulsion in children.
Dr. Scott Cutover, a gastroenterologist at MNGI, points to a green square on a screen where a GI Genius module is detecting a polyp needing further ob

One Minnesota clinic transcends a race barrier to good patient care

Small Richfield provider outperforms Minnesota's big groups on cancer screening, diabetes management for Black patients.
Michael Culhane sprayed water during a training exercise in May 2022 at the St. Anthony Village Public Works facility in St. Anthony, Minn. Culhane wa

Ceremony completes St. Anthony firefighter's COVID comeback

Once near death at HCMC in Minneapolis, firefighter is now bringing patients to the hospital.
Bed rails are used in licensed facilities to help residents sit up and to prevent them from falling out of bed.

Cluster of Minnesota bed-rail deaths reveals elder-care threat

State investigations of three deaths in assisted living facilities find lack of timely assessments for entrapment risks.
Hand-written warnings early in the pandemic indicated rooms in the emergency department of St. Cloud Hospital outfitted with negative airflow systems

COVID decline in Minnesota wastewater an encouraging sign

Levels were low anyway, but recent dip suggests a fall COVID surge is unlikely for now.
Maja Smedberg, an HCMC social worker, has lost 30 pounds in five months using Wegovy, a weight loss drug HCMC will eliminate from its health coverage

Hennepin Healthcare pulls coverage of 'miracle' drug that helped workers lose weight

Without financial help, workers say they can't afford drug and expect weight and related health problems to return.
John Moeller, 54, works out with weights at LifeTime Fitness in Eagan. Moeller, a pilot, resolved in July to improve his fitness and diet and has lost

Minnesota losing obesity battle: One in three adults fits the bill

Optimists point to new drugs, improvements in diet and exercise, and a body positivity movement that is changing perceptions of obesity.
“We are not doing as good a job as we could in making sure that our courts are a place where everyone gets a fair shot dealing with their debts,”

The dilemma of medical debt lawsuits in Minnesota: Too big to pay, too small to fight

Ordinary medical bills are more likely to end up in court than "astronomical" costs of major surgeries and treatments, study shows.
A lab worker processes donations of breastmilk at the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies in Golden Valley to provide to babies born prematurely.

Minnesota doctors seek religious nod for donor breastmilk to feed Muslim newborns

A fatwa by an imam or scholar could offer local clarification of Islamic teachings and ease concerns of Muslim parents.
The evolution of smartwatches into medical diagnostic machines is in part due to a subsidiary of M Health Fairview and its successful recruitment of m

Diverse group recruited to study how smartwatches can make you healthier

Fairview Frontiers becomes leading national recruiting center for studies of wearable medical and fitness devices.
Paper hearts covered windows at Edina City Hall in 2020 in remembrance of local residents who died of COVID-19. Minnesota has now reached 15,000 COVID

COVID-19 death toll in Minnesota reaches 15,000

The pace of mortality has slowed as the virus evolves, but it's still claiming two lives every day right now.
Ryan Aga, director of simulation at HealthPartners Institute, demonstrated how clinicians can practice on high-tech mannequins to increase accuracy an

Errors in Minn. hospitals caused 21 deaths, 178 serious injuries

The total number of deaths linked to adverse events in the 12 months ending in October was the highest since 2006.
In a 2020 news conference, Gov. Tim Walz provided an update on the state’s next steps to respond to COVID-19.

'It's probably not going to be another COVID': U seeks to improve models ahead of next outbreak

Projects funded by a $17 million grant include studying human behavior to pinpoint how it affects an outbreak.
Tissue samples being prepared for research at the University of Minnesota’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

University of Minnesota gets $54 million federal grant to hasten medical treatments to Minnesotans

Grant required a U institute to reorganize research priorities around needs expressed by underserved communities.
A machine collected blood platelets last week from a donor at Memorial Blood Center in Eden Prairie.

Memorial Blood Centers expands LGTBQ donor opportunities

The change is based on federal guidance to consider blood donors by individual behaviors, not broad sexual orientation.
Inpatient doctors at Allina Health’s Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, and its satellite campus in Fridley, are voting to unionize.

Federal labor ruling backs Mercy doctors' union vote

Doctors say the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic motivated the union drive to gain more control inside the hospital.
PrairieCare Chief Executive Todd Archbold held the door during Wednesday’s grand opening for more than 100 visitors eager to see the newly expanded

Child psychiatric bed shortage eased by PrairieCare expansion in Brooklyn Park

While more beds and services are needed, state leaders commended the investment in a healing space for children and teens.
Gov. Tim Walz received a flu shot Tuesday from nurse KaLee Medina at the State Capitol in St. Paul.

Walz gets flu shot, promotes use of new COVID-19 booster

The governor said he believes the latest coronavirus vaccine will arrive this week in clinics and pharmacies across the state.
John Sauer, a cardiac arrest survivor, posed inside a first-of-its-kind ambulance operated by the Minnesota Mobile Resuscitation Consortium. Sauer, 62

Minnesota seeks world's best cardiac arrest survival rate, and a big new grant could help

M Health Fairview will use the $10 million grant from Helmsley Charitable Trust to expand its heart-lung bypass capacity and broaden mobile outreach.
Kathryn Kottke graded honors English papers while donating platelets Saturday at Memorial Blood Center in Eden Prairie.

Pandemic still suppressing blood donations in Minnesota

Corporate and school blood drives have declined 63% when comparing 2019 to 2023, according to St. Paul-based Memorial Blood Centers.
Dr. Brooke Cunningham, Minnesota’s health commissioner, urged people to seek new COVID-19 vaccines and called them “one of the best tools in our t

Minnesota promotes tests, boosters to keep COVID levels from rising

Sampling shows less of the strain on which latest vaccines are based, but health officials believe the shots will still offer strong protection.
A record $25 million donation to Allina Health will help finance construction of a new 10-story tower at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

Record $25 million gift will help upgrade Abbott Northwestern surgery, critical care capabilities

Best Buy founder Richard Schulze is pivoting his foundation away from medical research and funding projects like Abbott that improve health care access.
Updated COVID-19 vaccines will soon be available in Minnesota, possibly within days.

What Minnesotans should know about the new COVID-19 vaccine

The updated shots could be available within days.
Ronald Rustan is described in a court complaint as a devoted grandfather haunted by alcoholism whose health problems put him at risk of severe COVID w

Lawsuit: Minnesota inmate died from COVID-19 because prison doctors didn't act

Complaint alleges that chronically ill grandfather never should have been sent to Faribault amid widespread prison outbreak.
Blood pressure management is a key component of how Minnesota clinics are graded on their care of patients with diabetes and vascular disease.

Report shows whether your Minnesota clinic has improved or worsened since COVID-19

MN Community Measurement says clinics' scores for care goals for chronic conditions improved in 2022 but still lagged pre-pandemic performance.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

18 charged by Minnesota AG in case of Medicaid caregiver fraud

A criminal complaint says a now-closed Twin Cities firm overbilled or provided substandard care.
Tear gas was commonly used by Minneapolis police and other officers during protests in 2020 over the police killing of George Floyd. Minnesota researc

Minnesota study links tear gas exposure with menstrual disruptions

Results from a nationwide survey are billed as a starting point for research on impact of chemical irritants on reproductive health.
A Mayo study found vaccines also show benefits in reducing a key symptom of long COVID.

Mayo: Vaccines offer benefit against severe long COVID symptoms

Protective benefit reported as COVID-19 levels remain low in Minnesota but tick back up to spring levels.
Allina announced Wednesday it would find alternative ways to collect overdue debts.

Allina cancels controversial policy that denied care to those with debts

Hospital and clinic provider makes change amid an Attorney General investigation into the collection practice.
Candida auris fungi in a 3D illustration.

University of Minnesota tests drug against deadly fungal infection

Successful trial offers hope of a new treatment against a growing problem worldwide.
Attorney General Keith Ellison

Ellison confirms Allina Health debt collection probe, asks patients to share stories

The office is investigating Allina Health's debt collection practices and its now-suspended policy of denying non-emergency care to delinquent patients.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights launched the gender identity discrimination lawsuit in 2019.

Minnesota halts court action against CSL Plasma for discriminating based on gender identity

Florida-based company satisfied conditions of state 2021 consent degree over bias in screening plasma donors.
The Mayo Clinic Gonda building in Rochester, Minnesota.

Messaging with your Mayo doctor could soon cost you

Convenient option has become popular for patients, time-consuming for doctors in post-COVID era.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased in Minnesota in July and early August, but remain far below totals earlier in the pandemic.

COVID-19 bump followed July 4th holiday in Minnesota

Intensive care COVID-19 cases rebound after reaching a low of one this summer, but remain low overall.
An Allina Health System facility in St. Paul on May 20, 2023.

Allina primary care doctors set for historic union vote

Approval in an upcoming election would create the largest union of private sector clinicians in the nation, union says.
A shortage of post-hospital care options in Minnesota has contributed to a backlog in hospitals that at times has left emergency departments overcrowd

Minnesota considers new way to ease overcrowded hospitals: for-profit rehab beds

Increased state investment in nursing homes could address the problem, along with proposed Regency Hospital move into the east metro.
Zander Miller died at 9 months old in November 2019 after he was found in a crib in his Brainerd day care with a blanket wrapped around his neck.

Minnesota child-care deaths have declined, but opportunities to save children are still missed

Brainerd death in 2019 underscores risks of overcrowded day cares that don't follow safe sleep guidance for infants.
Counterfeit painkiller pills containing hazardous amounts of fentanyl were found by Carver County authorities in the home of pop star Prince after he

Summer surge in opioid overdoses uncovered by Hennepin County tracking

Opioid-related medical problems have spiked in the winter elsewhere but are becoming more problematic each summer in the Twin Cities.
Stephanie Beesing was at risk of losing access to nonemergency medical care from her local provider in Glencoe, Minn., because of a stack of unpaid me

Check your mail: Foundation is paying off medical debts for 3,700 Minnesotans

Donor hopes to alleviate financial pressures for some Minnesotans, and alert others to their rights when they can't pay doctor bills.
Patients were stacked outside the St. John’s Hospital emergency room in Maplewood last year, partly because the hospital had no place to transfer or

Overcrowded hospitals gain financial relief from state

Funding requests obtained by the Star Tribune offer a rare look at the scope of hospital boarding in Minnesota.
Keaton Peck, 5, underwent chemotherapy that drove his leukemia to undetectable levels. His parents object to two additional years of chemo because of

County retains custody of child with cancer whose parents oppose chemo

Judge sides with oncologists who offered a "very bleak" prognosis without chemotherapy to keep leukemia from returning.
Monthly COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota reached their lowest total since March 2020, when public health officials announced the state’s first confirmed

Minnesota COVID-19 deaths reach lowest count since start of pandemic

Epidemiologists keep watch for any uptick in pandemic activity following the July 4th holiday.
An electron microscope produced an up-close view of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Source of northern Minnesota Legionnaires' outbreak a mystery

The bacterial infection is not caused by human-to-human transmission or drinking, but by aerosolized water.
Delivery of donor organs to waiting transplant recipients could be expedited under a plan by LifeSource to centralize organ procurement at the Univers

Minnesota transplant centers seek to reduce delays, deaths through donor units

Federal report urges organ donor agencies to switch to procuring organs at special care units rather than in hospitals where patients die.
Packets of Wegovy move along a conveyor at the Novo Nordisk A/S production facilities in Hillerød, Denmark, on Monday, June 12, 2023.

Study: Trendy weight-loss drugs could be a waste for Minnesotans, health plans

Most patients taking drugs such as Wegovy for weight loss discontinue usage within a year, according to Prime Therapeutics.
Boots placed on the steps of the State Capitol remember Minnesota soldiers and veterans who died by suicide.

Could brain signals predict suicide? University of Minnesota researchers aim to find out

Project funded by Department of Defense seeks screening for mental health that works as well as the MRI for physical injuries.
Kanada Yazbek, 49, who babysat the 11-month old son of a friend Friday at her home in Ramsey, said lecanemab is the first source of hope for her in a

Wait for Alzheimer's drug ends, but race for access begins

Minnesota medical providers expect it will take months before they can meet the drug's diagnostic and monitoring requirements to provide it to patients.
The recliners and décor of the EmPATH unit at M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina are intended to calm patients who are dealing with psychi

Fairview psych unit uses calming approach to help ease Minnesota's psychiatric bed crisis

Rare look inside M Health Fairview's EmPATH psychiatric unit shows calm environment that hastens treatment, reduces inpatient confinement.
Protesters on opposite sides of the abortion debate faced one another in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul in 2022.

Women traveling from other states fuel Minnesota abortion increase

The procedures jumped 20% last year, with the highest proportion of out-of-state patients since at least 1980.
Jodi Harpstead, commissioner of the Department of Human Services, in 2019.

Thousands of Minnesotans at risk of losing health insurance get a one-month reprieve

The state pushed back a deadline for Medicaid re-enrollment to Aug. 1.
“It’s still circulating out there. It’s acting more as a virus that is willing to live with us rather than try to kill us,” said Michael Oster

Instead of a terror, kraken variant enabled COVID-19 decline in Minnesota

Hospitalization and death numbers continue to drop in Minnesota.
University of Minnesota mechanical engineering postdoctoral researcher Zonghu Han demonstrated how rat kidneys can be cryogenically stored for up to 1

University of Minnesota achieves milestone in freezing organs before transplant

The success in freezing and thawing kidneys transplanted in rats could one day improve human organ transplants.
Nick Cobbett wore a mask to water his vegetables at the Capital View communal garden as heavy smoke blanketed nearby downtown St. Paul Wednesday.

Minnesota clinics seeing more wheezing, struggling patients amid very unhealthy air

Delayed visits to clinics and emergency rooms anticipated even as air quality levels improve across Minnesota.
Attorney General Keith Ellison issued an order Tuesday that stopped an Excelsior doctor from making charitable claims.

Attorney general shuts down Excelsior doctor's charity claims

Dr. Sean O'Mara agreed to a legal order but said he never took any money for a planned charity.
Stephanie Beesing, who has been pulling double shifts at the library to make enough money to pay off debts, begins her first day of maternity leave in

Donors moved by Glencoe woman's story help her pay medical bills, keep doctors

Stephanie Beesing's dilemma centered on a health system policy's of denying access to non-emergency care over unpaid debts.
Respiratory therapist Abdul Ali, center, worked with a team of critical care nurses to prone an intubated COVID-19 patient at the University of Minnes

Worker shortage starting to ease in Minnesota hospitals

Vacancy rate still remains above 17%, but hospital officials are hopeful that new recruitment and retention strategies are starting to work.
Stephanie Beesing, who has been pulling double shifts at the library to make enough money to pay off debts, begins her first day of maternity leave in

Minnesota woman with unpaid bills will lose doctors after she gives birth

Officials at Glencoe Regional Health maintain that policy is a last resort after numerous efforts to help patients pay, reduce debts. The fight shows that the denial of care to patients with unpaid debts is a practice that goes beyond one health care system in Minnesota.
Allina Health is pausing a policy of denying clinic appointments to patients with substantial unpaid bills. The controversial policy did not affect ac

Allina suspends policy that denied care to patients with large debts

Health system to increase awareness of financial options that could prevent patients with unpaid bills from losing access to clinics.
An antidiabetic drug that the University of Minnesota targeted early in the pandemic as a treatment for COVID-19 also reduced risks of long COVID in a

Common drug reduces long COVID, University of Minnesota study shows

Protection from metformin is even stronger among unvaccinated, women and younger adults, analysis shows.
Sgt. John Kriesel, seen here in 2007, lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq. He still feels pain in his missing limbs.

Minneapolis VA seeks answers over vexing 'phantom' amputee pain

Mobile app under development to help veterans do home activities that reduce amputation-related pain.
Mayo Clinic expansion plans in Rochester include razing the parking ramp at left for a new clinical building that would be connected to the Gonda Buil

Mayo unveils billion-dollar expansion in Rochester

The expansion involves several blocks downtown surrounding Mayo facilities, with a goal to streamline and modernize the campus.
Michael Garwood, second from right, and collaborators at the University of Minnesota created a mobile MRI prototype that could provide diagnostic imag

An MRI capable of house calls? University of Minnesota testing concept

"Radical" shift in thinking about magnetic fields for diagnostic imaging produces portable, but still experimental, scanner.
Dr. David Darrow examines Crystal LaBo during a follow-up appointment at HCMC in Minneapolis, Minn. on Thursday, June 1, 2023. LaBo, who is from Bryan

Paralyzed patients can move again with nerve stimulation, HCMC clinical trial confirms

Car accident victim can move her legs after 23 years.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

Attorney general urges Minnesotans hurt by hospital debt collection to contact his office

Keith Ellison responded to a New York Times story regarding Allina Health and its policy of cancelling appointments for patients with significant unpaid debts.
Veteran Wesley Farwell used the robotic device with the help of physical therapist Crystal Stien on May 22, at a ceremony to celebrate the donation.

Paralyzed Minnesota veterans walk with help from robotic exoskeleton

The SoldierStrong donation increases physical therapy capacity and exercise options at Minneapolis VA Medical Center.
D’Andre Sanvig’s body was found more than a month after the hiker fell into the fast-moving spring current of the St. Croix River.

Missing teen's body found in St. Croix River

"Part of me did hope that this wasn't real, but I also knew that it was," his mother said.