Author

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.

Under pressure, Montana hospital considers adding psych beds amid a shortage

By: - September 14, 2021

Gary Popiel had to drive more than 200 miles round trip to visit his adult daughters in separate behavioral health facilities as they received psychiatric and medical treatment. It was 2000, and the family’s only options for inpatient psychiatric beds were in Helena and Missoula — far from their Bozeman, Montana, home and from each […]

Have vaccine will travel: Montana COVID entrepreneur helps state get vaccinated

By: - August 22, 2021

VIRGINIA CITY, Mont. — While many businesses in this southwestern Montana “ghost town” reel in tourists with its mining and Wild West vigilante past, one businessman arrived offering a modern product, COVID-19 vaccines. Kyle Austin, a traveling pharmacist, set up his mobile clinic in Virginia City on a recent Saturday, the latest stop on his […]

While other states rushed to vaccinate healthcare workers, Montana went in the opposite direction

By: - August 10, 2021

Hospitals coast to coast are demanding their employees get vaccinated against COVID as the highly contagious delta variant tears through populations with low vaccination rates. Nearly 1,500 hospitals — roughly a quarter of all hospitals in the U.S. —now require staffers to get a COVID vaccine, said Colin Milligan, a spokesperson for the American Hospital […]

COVID renews interest in radiation, but docs warn against radon-filled mines

By: - July 30, 2021

BOULDER, Mont. — Twice a year, Brian Tichenor makes the 1,200-mile drive each way from his home in Kansas to a defunct uranium mine in Montana, where he takes an elevator 85 feet below the surface to sit amid radioactive radon gas to ease the pain from his chronic eye condition. “I found it like […]

Montana, other states step up push to regulate pharmacy drug brokers

By: - June 30, 2021

Under pressure to rein in skyrocketing prescription drug costs, states are targeting companies that serve as conduits for drug manufacturers, health insurers and pharmacies. More than 100 separate bills regulating those companies, known as pharmacy benefit managers, have been introduced in 42 states this year, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy, which […]

In a mental health crisis, a 911 call brings help — maybe no cops

By: - June 15, 2021

By the time Kiki Radermacher, a mental health therapist, arrived at a Missoula, Montana, home on an emergency 911 call in late May, the man who had called for help was backed into a corner and yelling at police officers. The home, which he was renting, was about to be sold. He had called 911 […]

What slowing vaccination rates mean for one Montana county

By: - May 11, 2021

The covid vaccination operation at the Flathead County fairgrounds can dole out 1,000 doses in seven hours. But demand has plummeted recently, down to fewer than 70 requests for the shots a day. So, at the start of May, the northwestern Montana county dropped its mass vaccination offerings from three to two clinics a week. […]

The one vaccine OK’d for older teens is also hardest to manage

By: - April 24, 2021

As states expand covid-19 vaccine eligibility to allow shots for 16- and 17-year-olds, teens in rural America may have trouble getting them. Of the three vaccines authorized in the U.S., currently only one can go to that age group, the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. That vaccine comes in 1,170-dose packages at minimum and expires after five days […]

Montana sticks to its patchwork COVID vaccine rollout as eligibility expands

By: - April 6, 2021

Montana’s covid-19 vaccine distribution is among the most efficient in the nation, but closer examination reveals a patchwork of systems among counties and tribal governments that will be put to the test as the state opens vaccine eligibility to all people 16 and older starting this month. KHN, Montana Free Press and the University of […]

Montana in legal gray area when it comes to aid-in-dying cases

By: - March 30, 2021

Linda Heim knew her dad didn’t plan to wait for the cancer to kill him. For decades, he’d lived in Montana, which they’d thought was one of the few places where terminally ill people could get a prescription to end their life. After two years of being sick, Heim’s dad got the diagnosis in 2019, […]

Looking to Kentucky’s past to explain Montana’s future?

By: and - March 1, 2021

The nominee to be Montana’s next health director faced an unwieldy disease outbreak and pushed Medicaid work requirements — two issues looming in Montana — when he held a similar job in Kentucky. Montana senators will soon decide whether to confirm Adam Meier, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s pick for director of the state Department of […]

Spurred by pandemic, Little Shell Tribe fast-tracks its health service debut

By: - February 22, 2021

Linda Watson draped a sweater with the words “Little Shell Chippewa Tribe” over her as she received the newly recognized tribal nation’s first dose of covid-19 vaccine. “I wanted to show my pride in being a Little Shell member,” Watson, 72, said. “The Little Shell are doing very good things for the people.” Watson has […]