rural hospitals

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Side Effects Public Media and KBIA reporter Bram Sable-Smith has just received a 2018 Edward R. Murrow Award for his continuing coverage of the issues forcing hospitals in rural Missouri communities to close.

Sable-Smith was honored with the National Murrow Award for his story "Urgent for Care: Can Missouri's Poorest County Keep Its Hospital Alive?"

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Pubic Media

Taja Welton is ready for her daughter to be born. She’s moved into a bigger house, one with room for a nursery. She has a closet full of pink, Minnie Mouse-themed baby clothes. Her baby bag is packed right down to the outfit she plans to bring her baby home in that reads, “The Princess Has Arrived.”

“I can’t wait to put it on her,” Welton smiles. The princess even has a name: Macen.


Medicaid Is Rural America's Financial Midwife

Mar 13, 2018
Maddie McGarvey / Kaiser Health News

Brianna Foster, 23, lives minutes away from Genesis Hospital, the main source of health care and the only hospital with maternity services in southeastern Ohio’s rural Muskingum County.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When the hospital closed in rural Ellington, Missouri, a town of about 1,000, the community lost its only emergency room, too. 

That was 2016. That same year, a local farmer had a heart attack.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

It’s a familiar story in rural America. Four years ago the Pemiscot County hospital, the lone public hospital in Missouri’s poorest county, nearly closed. What’s keeping it in business today has also become increasingly common in rural healthcare: relationships with a handful of local pharmacies.


Dan Margolies / KCUR

No one at the hospital in Fulton, Missouri (population 12,790) had ever heard of a management consultant named Jorge Perez until he showed up at its potluck in September.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When Sarah Scantling went into labor this summer, she had to drive 30 miles and across state lines.

Three years earlier, the only maternity ward where she lives in Pemiscot County, Missouri closed down. Scantling had to choose between a handful of other hospitals in the region between 20 and 70 miles away. She chose to give birth in the hospital in Dyersburg, Tennessee.


Without Price Breaks, Rural Hospitals Struggle To Stock Lifesaving Drugs

Sep 18, 2017
Sarah Jane Tribble / Kaiser Health News

Hospital pharmacist Mandy Langston remembers when Lulabelle Berry arrived at Stone County Medical Center’s emergency department last year.

Berry couldn’t talk. Her face was drooping on one side. Her eyes couldn’t focus.

“She was basically unresponsive,” Langston recalls.

In Appalachia, Two Hospital Giants Seek State-Sanctioned Monopoly

Jul 24, 2017
Phil Galewitz / Kaiser Health News

Looking out a fourth-floor window of his hospital system’s headquarters, Alan Levine can see the Appalachian Mountains that have defined this hardscrabble region for generations.

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.

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