rural healthcare

Army veteran Randy Michaud had to make a 200-mile trip to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Aroostook County, Maine, near the Canadian border, every time he had a medical appointment.

Michaud, who was medically retired after a jeep accident in Germany 25 years ago, moved home to Maine in 1991. He was eligible for VA medical care, but the long drive was a problem.

He's one of millions of veterans living in rural America who must travel hundreds of miles round-trip for care.

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Barring a congressional miracle,  Medicare payments to health care providers throughout the country will see a 2 percent reduction come Friday. That amount might not sound like much, but rural hospitals and their surrounding communities are the ones that would feel most of the pinch.

flu shot
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The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services plans to hold weekly rural flu clinics throughout the county, starting Oct. 11.  Department spokesperson Trina Teacutter says that the rural flu clinics in Boone County communities have been happening consistently for years.

"You know, doing community clinics in Ashland, Hallsville, Centralia, Sturgeon and Harrisburg — those places," Teacutter says. "We have done rural clinics in all of those areas for over 20 years."