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.
For people with chronic conditions, getting Medicaid services can be a confusing, disjointed experience, shuffling from provider to provider. Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, states can apply for federal money to help coordinate that care. Missouri did just that, and the news came today that the state will be the first to get this kind of funding under the ACA. Missouri’s application was aimed at helping people with chronic mental health issues.
Chronic medical conditions are a huge problem for the homeless, unemployed, or uninsured. In an effort to address this problem, a group of University of Missouri medical students founded MedZou, a student staffed and managed medical clinic that provides free medical care to the uninsured. Though the clinic is a little ad-hoc – it sees patients in a donated meeting area a few nights a month – it provides the students with valuable practice and the patients with potentially life-changing care. KBIA’s Jessica Pupovac has this story.
I ran a marathon in Joplin last weekend – the second annual “Mother Road Marathon,” along Route 66. It was hot, there was a head wind, and it was a long slow day. My time was exactly one hour longer than my first marathon six months ago. I didn’t have a good excuse for my slowness – I’ve just been lazy about training. But for locals in Joplin, training for this race was truly challenging.