Katheryn Houghton

Katheryn Houghton

Katheryn Houghton, Montana Correspondent, is covering all things health care across the state for KHN. That includes health policy and politics, access to treatment and the business of health care. She owes her health reporting start to years spent in daily newsrooms, including those of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and the Daily Inter Lake. She’s been an Association of Health Care Journalists fellow and a Solutions Journalism Network grantee. She is a graduate of the University of Montana.

Schools struggle with lead in water while awaiting federal relief

By: - March 11, 2023

PHILIPSBURG, Mont. — On a recent day in this 19th-century mining town turned tourist hot spot, students made their way into the Granite High School lobby and past a new filtered water bottle fill station. Water samples taken from the drinking fountain the station replaced had a lead concentration of 10 parts per billion — […]

Montana lawmakers shy away from amending Montana’s Constitution to outlaw abortion

By: - February 19, 2023

Republican lawmakers in Montana wield a supermajority that gives them the power to ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would break the link between abortion rights and the right to privacy in the state’s constitution. But so far, they haven’t sought to ask voters to make the change, a rewrite that would allow […]

As states seek to limit abortions, Montana wants to redefine what is medically necessary

By: - January 29, 2023

Montana’s conservative leaders, stymied by the courts from passing laws that impose significant statewide abortion restrictions, seek to tighten the state’s Medicaid rules to make it more difficult for low-income women to receive abortions. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is proposing to define when an abortion is medically necessary, limit who […]

A Montana addiction clinic wanted to motivate clients with rewards. Then came the investigation

By: - December 26, 2022

A Montana addiction clinic’s plan to give people with substance use disorders as much as $1,966.50 in gift cards and vouchers to follow its treatment program is raising questions about the use of financial incentives with patients. The tug of war over the effective but largely unregulated tool is playing out in the northwestern Montana […]

Blackfeet Nation challenges Montana ban on vaccine as a violation of tribal sovereignty

By: - November 19, 2022

J.R. Myers’ frustration grew as he read the email: To attend a local economic development council meeting in Browning — the largest community on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana — he had to bring proof he was vaccinated against COVID-19. It was November 2021. Six months earlier, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, […]

Montana backs away from Innovative Hospital payment model as other states watch

By: - November 5, 2022

Montana is signaling it might step away from an innovative way of setting the prices its public employee health plan pays hospitals for services, an approach that has saved the state millions of dollars and become a model for health plans nationwide. The plan gained national renown among employers and health care price reform advocates […]

Montana health officials aim to boost oversight of nonprofit hospitals’ giving

By: - October 2, 2022

Montana health officials are proposing to oversee and set standards for the charitable contributions that nonprofit hospitals make in their communities each year to justify their access to millions of dollars in tax exemptions. The proposal is part of a package of legislation that the state Department of Public Health and Human Services will ask […]

When mental illness leads to dropped charges, patients often go without stabilizing care

By: - September 24, 2022

For seven years, Timothy Jay Fowler rotated between jail, forced psychiatric hospitalization, and freedom. In 2014, the Great Falls, Montana, man was charged with assaulting two detention officers while he was in jail, accused of theft. A mental health evaluation concluded that Fowler, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was unfit to stand trial, according […]

Montana hospitals cut jobs, services as rising costs strain budgets

By: - September 6, 2022

Bozeman Health had a problem, one that officials at the health system with hospitals and clinics in southwestern Montana said had been building for months. It had made it through the COVID-19 pandemic’s most difficult trials but lost employees and paid a premium for traveling workers to fill the void. Inflation had also driven up […]

The dust next door: Butte concerned about dust from mine

By: - June 11, 2022

BUTTE, Mont. — Steve McGrath stood in an empty lot a block from his home watching for dust. In this southwestern Montana city nicknamed “The Richest Hill on Earth,” more than a century of mining left polluted soil and water that has taken decades to clean. But at that moment, looking across the road toward […]

Montana hires controversial Medicaid director

By: and - June 2, 2022

Montana, one of only about a dozen states with a fully government-run Medicaid program, has hired a new Medicaid director who oversaw managed-care programs in Iowa and Kansas and championed the idea of having outside companies do the work. Mike Randol took over May 31 as head of Montana’s Medicaid program, which serves 280,000 people […]

Abortion politics leading to power struggles in Montana and beyond over family planning

By: - May 7, 2022

In a busy downtown Bozeman coffee shop, a drawing of a ski lift with intrauterine devices for chairs draws the eyes of sleepy customers getting their morning underway with a caffeine jolt. The flyer touts the services of Bridgercare, a nonprofit reproductive health clinic a few miles up the road. The clinic offers wellness exams, […]