High Plains Public Radio

rural hospitals

Rachel Aston / Las Vegas Review Journal

Over the past six years, 76 rural hospitals have closed in America. That’s one and a half per state. That’s left many rural residents without recourse if they’re injured or become seriously ill.

Kansas Hospital Association

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s tax plan for hospitals has come under fire from a prominent member of the Kansas health community.

Rural Blog

Nearly half of the counties in the United States lack an obstetrician or gynecologist, reports The Rural Blog. Most of these counties are rural.

Rural Blog

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently drew criticism for releasing ratings of almost 4,000 hospitals nationwide. The hospital industry objected that the rankings were unfair and overly simplistic.

Pixabay / Creative Commons

A company that delivers blood and medicine using drone technology is looking to expand its operations across the US, reports Consumerist.com. This could be great news for many Americans who live in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

thrombocyte.com

The Oklahoma Blood Institute says there’s a simple way that Oklahomans can help victims of trauma in their state. More than any other factor, the institute says it’s important to increase the state’s supply of O-negative blood.

As KFOR reports, O-negative blood allows emergency personnel to start blood transfusions during transport to the hospital. This increases a trauma victim’s chance of survival.

Medicare.gov

Last week the Federal Government released its ratings for nearly 5,000 hospitals across the United States, reports The Rural Blog. Hospitals are rated from one to five stars, and the news wasn’t great. Only 102 institutions hospitals, or 2.2 percent, earned five stars.

insidehighered.com

The United States is facing an increasing doctor shortage in the near future. But rural medical schools may be the answer, reports InsideHigherEd.com. Over the next nine years, the country will be short as many as 95,000 doctors, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts.

New hope for a struggling hospital in southwest Kansas

May 12, 2016
Bryan Thompson / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

A southwest Kansas hospital on the verge of having to close its doors appears to have a new lease on life, thanks to a recent management contract with an Oklahoma company.

Center for Rural Affairs

In recent decades American life expectancies have been increasing. At least, that’s true for most of us. But for rural Americans, the story’s a bit different. According to The Center for Rural Affairs, new research shows a reversal of the life-expectancy trend for some Americans in out-of-the-way areas. If you’re rich, the data shows, it doesn’t matter where you live. But if you’re poor, where you live can determine how long you live.

aerocare.org

As rural hospitals continue to close at an alarming rate, more and more residents in the heartland are coming to rely on air ambulances. Being airlifted to a hospital can mean the difference between life and death. But being flown to the hospital can come with a hefty price tag as well, reports The Rural Blog.

Rural Blog

Struggling rural hospitals on the High Plains might be able to learn from a facility in Fredericksburg, Texas. The rural hospital there has gone in recent years from the brink of closing to become a thriving health center. In 2009, patient satisfaction and employee satisfaction were very low. Then the death of a 13-year-old at the hospital lead to systemic changes, reports The Rural Blog.

JAMA/Rural Blog

As rural hospitals continue to close at the rate of one per month, rural areas in the US are also experiencing a dearth of physicians. One reason for the shortage: Single physicians and married physicians with a highly educated spouses, are less likely to work in rural areas. However, a physician with a spouse who is not highly educated is more likely to be found in farm country. But these physicians are becoming more rare every year, says The Rural Blog.

Center for Rural Affairs

Over the past six years rural hospitals have been closing at a rate of nearly one per month, according to the Center for Rural Affairs. A hospital closure can be very hard on a rural hospital. But it doesn’t have to be this way, says the CFRA.

The closings have been especially widespread in the 18 states that have refused to expand Medicaid. Those states include Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Jim McClean / Kansas Health Institute

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Health care problems just one result of the economic decline of rural communities.

Members of Gov. Sam Brownback’s Rural Health Working Group have their work cut out for them.

Representatives of the state’s hospitals and doctors painted a sobering picture of the problems facing rural providers at the group’s first meeting Tuesday evening.

  Credit Josh McBee / nondoc.com Edit | Remove

  

Susie Fagan / KHI news service

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Proponents of expanding Medicaid eligibility in Kansas need to change tactics and prepare for a long process, a health policy researcher told them Wednesday.

Southwest Kansas hospitals are experiencing a blood shortage, reports The Garden City Telegram. Last month, blood donations expired at two area hospital laboratories, and another facility did not have a full stock of blood last week. The scarcity has largely been caused by recent inclement weather in the area. Kansas health officials are urging residents to give blood.

www.travelnursesource.com

Another rural hospital has closed, this time in western Oklahoma, reports The Times Record. Sayre Memorial Hospital in Sayre, Oklahoma, abruptly shut its doors on Monday. The facility blamed “continual financial strain.” Oklahoma’s GOP leaders have refused to expand Medicaid, leading to a drop in income for many hospitals across the state.

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.

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.

Kansas Hospitals Look to Improve Food Quality

Oct 13, 2015
Kansas Public Radio

Over the years, “hospital food” has come to be a synonym for tasteless glop. But now, a group of hospitals in Kansas--including some rural ones in the western part of the state--aim to change that perception, reports Kansas Public Radio. With their Healthy Food Initiative, Healthy Kansas Hospitals is hoping to make the food they serve patients and employees more healthy and delicious.

Mercy Hospital Independence

From the Kansas Health Institute:

Rep. Jim Kelly says closure should serve as warning to other communities

The scheduled closure of the hospital in the southeast Kansas community of Independence could create new urgency around the Medicaid expansion debate.

Concern Grows Over Uninsured Rates in Rural America

Sep 15, 2015
NEC Corporation of America / Creative Commons

The Institute of Medicine has grown increasingly concerned about the rate of uninsured rural Americans. Experts lament the growing threat uninsured Americans pose to the very fabric of America’s health care system.

Ohio Health Insuranc / flickr creative commons

A new study shows that rural Medicare patients are much less likely to receive follow-up care. They’re also more likely to end up in the emergency room, reports The Rural Blog. The study appeared in the September issue of the journal Medical Care. Researchers looked at the number of patients who had follow-up health care visits and emergency room visits within 30 days of hospitalization.

city-data.com

Although 25 percent of Americans live in rural areas, only 10 percent of doctors do.  Finding physicians willing to live on the prairie is a serious problem in Kansas.  Kearny County Hospital had that problem.  The small hospital is rural, very rural with five people per square mile, but the little hospital has found a solution according to a recent article by the Kansas Health Institute.

There are a number of factors making it hard for rural hospitals to make ends meet. Colorado Matters explores those issues, as well as the effects of sequestration and the Affordable Care Act. Listen to the podcast.