Ongoing Coverage:

rural health

Health & Wealth Update
1:08 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Why federal money for rural hospitals is vulnerable to budget cuts

Credit Fotos GOVBA / flicker

  Compared to their urban counterparts, rural hospitals serve a population that tends to be older, sicker, uninsured and have less income. Rural hospitals provide a lot of uncompensated care and run on more narrow profit margins.

To stay open, these hospitals depend on special federal designations that give them a higher rate of reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid. For example, when a hospital designated as a critical access hospital, Medicare reimbursements can make up to a third of its entire revenue

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Health & Wealth
11:37 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Why rural Missouri hospitals are rooting for Medicaid expansion

Credit Images of Money / Flickr

Listen to this week's Health and Wealth Update featuring KSMU's Jennifer Davidson.

The uphill congressional battle to expand Medicaid in Missouri is making rural hospitals that serve areas with high poverty levels really, really nervous. KSMU's Jennifer Davidson has the story.

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Health & Wealth Blog
1:33 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Rural Reads: On rural definitions and rural doctor shortage

With the Rural Reads series, we’re trying something new. Every Friday, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural issues.

What’s in a definition? The eligibility for federal grants

In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report that recommends defining ‘rural’ as areas with 50,000 or fewer residents - a number that's getting some strong reactions. The rural definition determines eligibility for USDA’s rural grants and programs. 

The excellent online news service The Daily Yonder is publishing a series of opinion pieces in response to USDA’s newest recommendation. Last week, Aletta Botts, a legislative staffer who helped draft the 2008 Farm Bill, wrote that the 50,000 size limit is too large and would hurt smaller communities that can’t compete with larger towns to win federal grants.  

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Health & Wealth Update
11:34 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Why local advocates are rallying to support Missouri's 911 Good Samaritan bill

Credit Alexandra Olgin / KBIA News

A recent study by researchers at Chicago’s Roosevelt University found that between 2007 and 2011, the number of deaths from heroin overdose in the state of Missouri more than tripled. In 2007, fewer than 70 people died from heroin overdose. In 2011, that number ballooned to 244. 

Studies show most accidental overdoses happen in the presence of others. KBIA’s Alexandra Olgin takes us to a rally in Jefferson City on Tuesday supports a bill that could encourage overdose witnesses to be a Good Samaritan and call 911.

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Business Beat
10:10 am
Thu February 28, 2013

How sequestration leads to cuts in research, Medicare

Credit Andrew Magill

Coming up we’ll tackle sequestration which is set to occur March 1. But first, when a large group of farmers in the Southeast banded together to sue a powerful dairy cooperative a few years ago, many hoped that the case would bring big changes to the industry. But as Peggy Lowe of Harvest Public Media reports, the recent settlement of the case involving Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America has resulted in some money for small farmers in the short term but little long-term reform.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:46 am
Wed February 22, 2012

New program eases debt for rural medical students

Brady Didion, fourth-year med student at MU, was recently chosen for an early loan repayment program with the National Health Service Corps.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

The average medical school student graduates with close to $160,000 in debt. That heavy burden is one reason why there is a long-running shortage of primary care doctors in rural America. More and more graduating students choose higher-paying specialties over rural primary care. In this weekly update, a new pilot program helps medical students pay off loans as soon as they start residency, so it's easier to choose a lower-paying, but possibly more fulfilling career path.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:29 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

How One Hospital Entices Doctors To Work In Rural America

Dr. Dan Shuman (right), who was recruited to the Ashland Health Clinic as part of its mission-focused medicine program, consults with a patient about smoking cessation.
Peggy Lowe Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Thu February 2, 2012 8:04 pm

Recruiting doctors to live and work in rural America is a chronic problem. Most health centers try to attract workers with big salaries and expensive homes.

Shots previously reported that one center in Maine was trying to lure medical students to the countryside for their final two years with the hope that they stick around.

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Health & Wealth Blog
3:45 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Versus urban areas, rural Missouri has poorer health, fewer doctors

According to the Missouri Hospital Association, some 500,000 additional people will enroll in health insurance between now and 2019. That's expected to put some serious strain on the rural health system. Click through for more graphics.
Lydia Mulvany KBIA

Health is generally poorer in rural Missouri compared to urban areas, yet there is a distinct shortage of primary care physicians in rural Missouri. KBIA’s Jacob Fenston has reported that the shortage is only expected to worsen over the next ten years as the elderly population expands.

This graphic shows some of these inequalities--click through for more detail.  Created by Lydia Mulvany.

Health & Wealth Report
7:30 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Growing doctors in rural Missouri

Dr. Dale Essmeyer shows Milan High student Kaylee Michael how to take blood pressure.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

In rural Missouri, there are roughly half as many primary care doctors per person, compared to urban parts of the state.  That's a problem, when you consider that rural residents are also older (about three years, on average) and poorer (about five percent more live in poverty). In this Health & Wealth report, small towns in Missouri are facing the shortage by "growing their own" doctors and nurses, starting as early as middle school.

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Health & Wealth Update
7:56 am
Wed November 23, 2011

Rural women diagnosed later

Faustine Williams

Women in rural Missouri are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a late stage than women in urban or suburban counties. In this weekly Health & Wealth update, the urban / rural disparity in breast cancer detection. 

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Health & Wealth Blog
8:23 am
Mon November 21, 2011

Should Medical School Be Free?

Peter Bach is a doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
mskcc.org

Heck yeah!! So should lunch. But two researchers say making medical school free could send more young doctors into primary care and rural practice, thus solving one of the big challenges facing health care today. And they've got a way to pay for it too.

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Health & Wealth Blog
12:13 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

It's Rural Health Day!

celebratepowerofrural.org

To celebrate, experts from non-profits and government agencies are holding a live webinar on some of the challenges and rewards of providing health care to rural America.

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Health & Wealth Report
5:59 pm
Mon October 24, 2011

Missouri's Rural Doctor Shortage

Dr. David Hill on his ranch outside Southwest City, Mo.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

There’s a doctor shortage in rural America. This is not news – just the opposite – it’s been going on for ages. Even old Doc Adams, the country doctor in “Gunsmoke,” was constantly overworked. In one episode, when he finally gets a vacation, he’s kidnapped by outlaws in need of his services. Present-day Missouri ain’t Dodge City, Kansas. But many rural doctors are still overstretched. 

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Health & Wealth
3:01 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

Rural Hospitals Face Medicare Cuts

Bill Sexton is CEO of Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Two weeks ago, President Obama told the nation, “Washington has to live within its means.” As Democrats and Republicans continue to scour the federal budget for over a trillion dollars in possible cuts, one group very likely to be affected is rural hospitals in the Midwest and across the nation.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:00 am
Thu June 9, 2011

Rural Missourians struggle with mental health treatment options

Antique map of Hickory County, Mo.
Mitchell's New Universal Atlas.... (Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1857) Courtesy of Dickinson College

There are 1.6 million people living in rural Missouri, and many have a hard time accessing health care. In the 2011 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s healthy county rankings, Hickory County in West Central Missouri is rated one of the worst in the state in terms of mental health. It’s so bad, residents say they experience just over a week’s worth of poor mental health days each month. They are also unhealthier and experience more poverty than the national average.

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