rural healthcare

Michael Leland / Side Effects Public Media

Many of America’s rural counties have just a handful of COVID-19 cases. And health experts say that may be giving residents a false sense of security. Now, outbreaks at food processing plants could shake that complacency.

Natalie Krebs / Side Effects Public Media

In many states, emergency medical services are not considered essential, like fire or police. That means when you call 911, there’s no guarantee an ambulance will respond. And this is a big problem in rural areas, where volunteers are scarce.


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We asked you, our listeners and readers, to share  your concerns with healthcare costs. And the results are in. 

Carter Barrett/Side Effects Public Media

On this sweltering summer day, only a few people walk by Mousie’s restaurant. The building’s blue facade stands out next to its neutral surroundings. In one of its circular windows, there’s a neon ‘open’ sign that’s turned off. 

It's just one example of the economic decline in Connersville, Ind., once known as "Little Detroit."


Natalie Krebs/Side Effects Public Media.

Rural areas in America have high death rates from car crashes, hunting accidents and other trauma. But many rural hospitals are only equipped to handle basic emergencies. In one Iowa town trauma experts are helping a small ER prepare for big emergencies.

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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.

 

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