HPPR Health, Education & Welfare


‐state policy‐impact of federal policy‐rural health care delivery‐access & availability


‐state policy‐programs and opportunities‐access & availability


‐state policies‐income levels‐wellness‐quality of life

Tom & Katrien / Creative Commons

Rural children are more likely to experience health problems based on their surroundings, according to The Rural Blog.  A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services details how rural children are more adversely affected by their environment, their socioeconomic status, their own and their families’ health behaviors, and their access to quality clinical care. For example, rural children are more likely to be obese and live with someone who smokes.

Pipestone Veterinary Services / Harvest Public Media

Veterinarian and researcher Scott Dee doesn’t much look the part of a detective, in his jeans and company polo shirt.

But when a virus never before seen in North America swept through the network of hog farms where he works, Pipestone Veterinary Services, in January 2014, he had his first clue.

“These farms had the same pattern of infection,” Dee said.

Oklahoma Marks 100 Years of Executions

Dec 22, 2015
Paul B. Southerland / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma recently reached a grim milestone. As pf this month, the state has been executing criminals for a century, according to The Oklahoman.

Teen Drunk Driving Numbers Falling

Dec 22, 2015
Colorado Public Radio

Colorado Public Radio gave us a bit of good news this week. Decades of public service announcements and school documentaries about drunk driving appear to be working. There are far fewer young people drinking and driving than there were a decade ago. 2002, there has been almost a 40 percent drop in the number of young adults of legal drinking age who drive under the influence of alcohol. The drop was even more dramatic among teenagers.

Not All Altitude-Sickness Remedies Are the Same

Dec 21, 2015
Getty Images / New York Times

The holidays mean travel, and for many of us traveling to the mountains, that can mean altitude sickness. Acute mountain sickness is caused by the lack of oxygen in the lower air pressure that exists at higher altitudes. But treating altitude sickness can be a tricky business, reports The New York Times. There are many types of treatment these days, including oxygen therapies, oils, pills and wristbands.

Rising Livestock Antibiotic Sales Cause Concern

Dec 21, 2015
USDA / Creative Commons

Sales of antibiotics for livestock have been steadily rising over the past few years, reports The Rural Blog. Antibiotic sales increased 23 percent from 2009 to 2014, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Texas Panhandle Has Shortage of Large Animal Vets

Dec 19, 2015
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

The recent announcement of a proposed Texas Tech veterinary school in the Texas Panhandle has split interested parties into two camps. But there’s one thing they can all agree on: The area could use more veterinarians who specialize in large animals. West Texas clearly has a need for more vets for feed animals. But economics have make it difficult to attract large animal veterinarians to rural communities, reports Amarillo.com.

Map Provides a Window into U.S. Gun Violence

Dec 18, 2015
Small Arms Survey / Washington Post

A map in The Washington Post last week helped to explain the continuing surge of mass shootings in the U.S. According to the Post, the frequency of killings “is closely tied with America's very high rate of gun ownership.” According to a 2007 Small Arms Survey, the U.S.

Tips for Surviving Holiday Travel

Dec 18, 2015
Matt Campbell / EPA

45 million customers are predicted to fly this holiday season. The average American will spend more than seven hours getting somewhere. If you’re traveling, USA TODAY has some helpful hints to make your trip as stress-free as possible.

First, pack early and pack light. Knowing you’re ready to go will ease your mind. And packing light will save you the frustration of trying to find space for your bulky luggage.

Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

Two months ago Texas Republican leaders announced they would kick Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid. But the organization is still receiving state funds to provide health care for low-income women, reports The Texas Tribune. And now the state officials who called for cutting the funding have fallen silent.

High Plains Hunters Help Needy Families

Dec 16, 2015
@thekevinchang / Creative Commons

Hunters in the Texas panhandle are doing their part to help needy families this holiday, reports The Amarillo Globe-News. The Hunters for the Hungry program provides processed deer meat to families across the Texas Panhandle. The charitable endeavor is an effort in association with the High Plains Food Bank and Clint & Sons.

Texas Leads the Way in Bite-Mark Forensics

Dec 16, 2015
Brandon Thibodeaux / New York Times

In 1987, Texas inmate Steven Mark Chaney was sentenced to life after a dental expert testified that his teeth had caused marks on the arm of a murder victim. This same expert has now repudiated his testimony as unfounded, reports The New York Times. More than a dozen Americans have now been exonerated in cases involving debunked bite-mark testimony. And Texas is leading the way in this little-recognized corner of forensics.

Creative Commons
Grant Gerlock / NET News

There are fewer than seven persons per square mile in the Nebraska panhandle. That officially classifies the region as a “frontier area.” It also makes it a mental health shortage area, reports Nebraska Public Radio.

Rural Schools Pay Significantly More for Internet

Dec 14, 2015
Lars P / Flickr Creative Commons

In recent years Internet access in public schools has become an integral part of the education experience. But a new report by Education Week shows how rural school districts are frequently charged 2.5 times their urban counterparts for Internet. According to the Center for Rural Affairs, rural schools disproportionately lack access to fiber-optic connections and other modern technologies.

CDC / Washington Post

At least 23,000 people die as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant infections. This number is expected to rise drastically in the future as antibiotic-resistant bacteria continues to evolve. Some experts predict the death rate could rise to 10 million by 2050. Much of the problem comes from the overprescribing of antibiotics.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

North central Kansas has been dealing with soaring Alzheimer’s rates. There are well over million Americans with Alzheimer’s. Almost all of them are 65 and over and on Medicare. That number is expected to grow by almost two million in the next 10 years. And Clay County, Kansas, is the most deeply affected in the nation. A staggering 23 percent of Clay County’s Medicare population has Alzheimer’s or a related form of dementia. That’s the highest recorded rate among Medicare beneficiaries in the United States — just above Florida’s Miami-Dade County.

DennisSylvesterHurd / Flickr Creative Commons

A new report says rural health care providers should be required to participate in federal pay-for-performance programs, reports The Rural Blog. The study was requested by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pay-for-performance plans reward healthcare providers for meeting certain measures for quality and efficiency. These programs penalize caregivers for poor outcomes, medical errors, or increased costs.

Will Libraries of the Future Be Book-Free?

Dec 8, 2015
Bill Kelly / NET News

A new type of library in Omaha has Nebraska Public Radio asking, will libraries of the future contain no books? Do Space, a self-described “community technology library,” comes equipped with high-end computers loaded with professional software, gaming and electronic gizmos for kids.

Leslie Corbly / KGOU

Oklahoma’s home schooling laws are some of the loosest in the nation, reports member station KGOU. And as a result, some former home schoolers are having trouble acclimating to society as adults.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Since enrollment opened Nov. 1 for 2016 health insurance in the federal marketplace, an effort called Cover Kansas has branched out across the state to help Kansans find a plan that best suits their needs.

KeotaHopesForHillary Twitter Account

Three high school students in Iowa recently launched a successful social-media campaign to urge Hillary Clinton to visit their town. The campaign is part of an effort by the students to spark a national conversation on the challenges facing rural schools, reports The Rural Blog and The Huffington Post. The students’ town of Keota, Iowa, has 1,000 residents.

Kansas K-12 Committee Grapples with Conflicting Data

Dec 1, 2015
Jared Tarbell / Creative Commons

A Kansas legislative committee studying options for K-12 funding has run into a problem, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal. As the committee decides how to fund schools, they have competing research trying to influence them. Rival interest groups are flaunting a clash of studies to promote their positions. First there’s the Kansas Policy Institute, a conservative think tank in Wichita.

Report: Potential Health Effects of Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Kansas

Dec 1, 2015
Creative Commons

Oklahoma has been issuing emergency teacher licenses over the past few months, reports Public Radio Tulsa. The move comes after Oklahoma started the year with over 1,000 unfilled teaching positions across the state. Not long ago, emergency certificate requests were so rare that applicants were summoned before the state Board of Education to make their case. But Oklahoma has approved 948 emergency certifications for teachers since July.

John Moore / Getty Images

Colorado has been a trailblazer in the legalization of marijuana, and now the state is looking to break new ground in health care. Next year Coloradans will vote on whether to become the first state to set up a single-payer system similar to Medicare. The move would mean opting out of ObamaCare, reports The Guardian. No state currently has free statewide healthcare.

Gosia Wozniacka / AP photo

Pot smokers may soon encounter new warning labels, reports the AP’s Business Insider. That is, if the nation's most influential doctors’ group has its way. The cautionary label will read: “Warning: Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding poses potential harms.” The American Medical Association agreed Monday to push for regulations requiring such warnings.

Martin do Nascimento / Texas Tribune

The Texas State Board of Education has rejected the option of creating an expert panel to identify errors in textbooks. Several weeks ago a Houston mother sparked a nationwide uproar over a caption in her son’s textbook that described African slaves as “workers.” The new proposal would have created oversight to prevent inaccurate information from being printed in textbooks. But that the 15-member panel narrowly voted down the measure, reports The Texas Tribune.

Seliger's Education Bill Draws Criticism

Nov 23, 2015
Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

A Texas state senate bill by Amarillo Sen. Kel Seliger is drawing a good deal of criticism, according to The Texas Tribune. Senate Bill 149 allows Texas high school seniors to graduate without passing all five state exams, and instead being cleared by a panel of teachers, counselors, and parents.

John Savage / Texas Observer

12 out of every 10,000 Texans are living homeless, reports Texas Standard. And a lot of these have intellectual disabilities. For many homeless, wait times for state services have proven daunting. When it comes to helping those with intellectual disabilities, Texas consistently falls near the bottom in state rankings.