rural health

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New funding will drive a pilot project to connect patients with rides to medical appointments and address transportation barriers to health.

Lack of transportation can mean people miss important medical appointments including prenatal visits or cancer screenings.

A $208,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will allow Indiana University Health to develop and implement a new ride software program for patients. 

Jami Marsh, executive director of system philanthropic strategy for the IU Health Foundation, says the tool aims to provide better care access.

Photo by Dan Margolies, KCUR

Nine months ago, things were looking bleak for Hillsboro Community Hospital, a 15-bed facility in central Kansas about 50 miles north of Wichita. 

The critical access hospital appeared to be facing the same fate as four other rural hospitals in Kansas that have closed over the past three years. 

Why Rural Hospitals Keep Closing Maternity Wards

Sep 30, 2019
Natalie Krebs/Side Effects Public Media

Jessica Sheridan’s plan was to have her first daughter at the local hospital, five minutes from her house in Iowa Falls.

But when she was seven months pregnant, that plan suddenly changed.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia / Side Effects Public Media

On a sunny afternoon in Sedalia, Mo., a town between St. Louis and Kansas City, Jennifer and Matt Boatright escorted some unusual visitors into a pasture on their farm. They opened the heavy gate and called their sheep over to meet a half-dozen medical students from the University of Missouri system. 

The farm tour was part of a week-long program designed to introduce future doctors, pharmacists and nurses to rural life.  The goal: Get the students interested in working in rural areas.


E-cigarette Popularity Surges In Rural Classrooms

May 24, 2019
Vaping devices and e-liquids confiscated from students at North Newton Junior/Senior High School in Morocco, Indiana.
Leigh DeNoon/Side Effects Public Media

North Newton Junior/Senior High lies in the Northwest corner of Indiana, in a county home to more dairy cows than people.

But students have no problem getting e-cigarettes in all shapes and sizes. Some look like pens, others like computer thumb drives.

Lisa Gillespie/Side Effects Public Media

Dennis Pond doesn’t tell his psychiatrist about his thoughts of suicide.  But he has them. He often feels useless, in large part because his diabetes has caused terrible pain and numbness in his feet, and that affects his ability to drive, to help out around the house, to even go out in the yard.

Rural Hoosiers Face Long Drives To Reach Prenatal Care

Oct 23, 2018
Zach Herndon, WFIU/WTIU News

Indiana’s maternal and infant mortality rates are far higher than the national average. Experts say one of the reasons is a lack of access to care providers. 

It’s a problem statewide, but it's especially felt in rural areas.

Driving Hours To Reach OB Care 

Deidra Firestone is expecting a child this year. This time, she says she’s blessed with a ‘normal pregnancy.’ But last year, she wasn't so lucky.

As the nation's dairy farmers struggle through their fourth year of depressed milk prices, concerns are rising that many are becoming depressed themselves. The outlook for the next year is so bleak, it's heightening worries — especially in the Northeast — about farmer suicides.

Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative with about 1,000 members, saw three farmers take their own lives in the past three years. The most recent was last month. It's a very small sample, but very sharp and disturbing increase.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

This story was originally published February 6. It has been updated as of February 9 at 1 pm.

The Atchison-Holt Ambulance District spans two counties and 1,100 square miles in the far northwest corner of Missouri. The EMTs who drive these ambulances cover nearly 10 times more land area than their counterparts in Omaha, the nearest major city. 

For those not familiar with Missouri, the so-called "Bootheel" refers to the wedge of the state that juts down between Tennessee and Arkansas — a area that's been profiled by Side Effect's own Bram Sable-Smith, who covered a struggling rural hospital there in 2017.

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