Rural Healthcare

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.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When Joe Morris had a heart attack last Easter and had to be rushed to the ER, it was the first time he’d been to the doctor in more than 40 years — since high school.

Back home in the small community of Neosho, Mo., Morris needed follow-up care to manage his heart disease and diabetes, but he didn’t have a doctor — or insurance.


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.

Lawmakers Aim To Tackle Rural Health Challenges: Transportation, New Docs

Aug 25, 2016
Susanne Nillsson/via Flickr

Two proposals meant to ease burdens faced by California’s rural patients and their health care providers are breezing through the state legislature as lawmakers finish up for the year.

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.

 

As Rural Hospitals Struggle, Some Close Labor And Delivery Units

Feb 24, 2016

 A few years ago, when a young woman delivered her baby at Alleghany Memorial Hospital in Sparta, North Carolina, it was in the middle of a Valentine’s Day ice storm and the mountain roads out of town were impassable. The delivery was routine, but the baby girl had trouble breathing because her lungs weren’t fully developed. Dr. Maureen Murphy, the family physician who delivered her that night, stayed in touch with the neonatal intensive care unit at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, a 90-minute drive away, to consult on treatment for the infant.

The needle exchange in Fayette County, Ind. is hidden in a back office at the health department. Paula Maupin, the county’s public health nurse, runs the exchange, which is basically just a desk with baskets of everything a drug user needs, apart from the drugs. There are syringes, cotton balls, alcohol swabs—even tourniquets.

 


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