rural healthcare

Creative Commons/Pixabay

More nurse practitioners are stepping up to meet the needs of Hoosier patients as Indiana grapples with a shortage of primary care doctors.

Screenshot/Department of Health and Human Services

  Darvin Bentlage says his health insurance plan used to be the same as all the other cattle farmers in Barton County, Mo.: Stay healthy until he turned 65, then get on Medicare. But when he turned 50, things did not go according to plan.

Jessica Stefonik is grinning. She's got a bounce in her step. Her cheeks are a little puffy and her speech is a bit thick.

"It feels weird right now, but I'll get used to it," she says.

What she's trying to get used to is the feeling of having teeth.

On the day we met, Stefonik, a mom of three from Mosinee, Wis., got a set of dentures to replace all of her upper teeth, which she lost over many years to disease and decay.

Stefonik is just 31 years old.

Rural Hospitals Lose Ground In States That Didn't Expand Medicaid

Sep 9, 2016

It isn’t news that in rural parts of the country, people have a harder time accessing good health care. But new evidence suggests opposition to a key part of the 2010 health overhaul could be adding to the gap.

Rise Of Medical Power Couples Makes It Harder To Recruit Doctors To Rural Areas

Mar 2, 2016
Bobby Troup and Julie London played opposite each other as doctor and nurse in the 1970s TV program "Emergency!".
NBC Television via Flickr

If someone is well-educated, the odds are that he or she will marry someone with similar credentials, according to census data. And that trend has consequences when it comes to access to health care in rural areas.

Rural areas have for years been facing a doctor shortage. That means for the roughly 20 percent of Americans who live in those areas, it’s harder to get care when it’s needed. Policymakers have been trying to create programs that offer medical debt forgiveness and other incentives to doctors willing to set up shop away from the city. But a research letter published Tuesday in JAMA highlights how a key demographic change — the rise of power couples — is stacking the deck against these efforts.

 

In rural communities, finding transportation to basic health care services can be difficult. So what if instead of making people come to health care – the health care came to them?

Well, the Mobile Mammography Van through Ellis Fischel Cancer Center is working to do just that - bringing preventative mammogram screenings to rural communities.


To Survive, Rural Hospitals Join Forces

Aug 17, 2015
A University of Arizona medical student examines a patient at the Copper Queen Community Hospital in Bisbee, Arizona. Copper Queen has allied with other rural hospitals in southern Arizona to survive.
AP

WILLCOX, Arizona—Ask Sam Lindsey about the importance of Northern Cochise Community Hospital and he’ll give you a wry grin. You might as well be asking the 77-year-old city councilman to choose between playing pickup basketball—as he still does most Fridays—and being planted six feet under the Arizona dust.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When cattle farmer Greg Fleshman joined the board of Putnam County Memorial Hospital in rural northern Missouri in 2011, the hospital was on the brink of closing.

“Things we just falling apart financially and the morale of the employees. And it just seemed to get worse and worse,” he recalls. “Those were the darkest days.”


One of the biggest challenges American hospitals face right now is moving to electronic medical records from old-fashioned paper files.

The switch is costing tens of billions of dollars, eating up tons of staff time, and it's especially tough for the country's 2,000 rural and small-town hospitals.