rural hospitals

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.

hospital room
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

Images of Money / Flickr

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.

Every week, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues

This week’s topics: guns in rural schools and how low health literacy affects rural cancer patients.