rural hospitals

No one at the hospital in Fulton, Missouri (population 12,790) had ever heard of a management consultant named Jorge Perez until he showed up at its potluck in September.


$1.25 million.

That’s the size of the bill that could have shuttered the only public hospital in rural Pemiscot County, Missouri in August 2013.

$750,000 for payroll. $500,000 for a bond payment. $1.25 million total. One August day in 2013, the hospital’s CEO Kerry Noble had to face facts: The money just wasn’t there. It took an emergency bailout from a local bank to keep their doors open. For now.

Nyttend / Wikimedia Commons

More than half of U.S. rural counties have no hospital where women can give birth, according to MinnPost.com.

According to a new study by the University of Minnesota, over the past decade, the number of U.S. rural counties without obstetric units increased by 50 percent.

This means that rural women are at greater risk of birth-related complications than previously realized.

Public Domain

Washita county, in western Oklahoma, has given up on the Women, Infant, and Children program, The Oklahoman reports.

The WIC program provides nutrition services to young children and pregnant women. The announcement came from the Cordell Memorial Hospital, who administers the program. Officials said they can no longer afford to provide the nutrition for free to local mothers and children.

When evening falls, Brian Hunt makes his way to a comfortable chair in a sun room on the south side of his house near La Cygne, Kansas. But he’s not settling in to relax. He’s going to work.

Dale Denwalt / The Journal-Record

Despite a years-long crisis that has led to dozens of rural hospital closures across the U.S., there are signs of life for at least one facility in Western Oklahoma.

RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

Colorado Republicans have now pulled the plug on a bill that sought to repeal the state’s health care exchange, reports The Denver Post.

Meanwhile, rural hospitals received a bit of good news. The Colorado Legislature has passed a bill preventing $528 million in cuts to hospital funding. Some conservative lawmakers opposed the bill, as they say it will only lead to more spending and debt. Instead, they said the measure should have gone to the voters.

Creative Commons CC0

Colorado lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday about the financial difficulties facing much of rural Colorado, which helped a bill aimed at preventing cuts to rural communities in the state pass its first test.

As The Denver Post reports, officials from rural schools, hospitals and business groups testified about the dire financial situation facing much of rural Colorado – a situation that they fear will only get worse in coming years.

AgWeek

In an opinion piece this week, the editorial board of the weekly agricultural newspaper AgWeek insisted that rural health care has reached a dire state, and must be addressed now.

When it comes to heath care, writes AgWeek, “the worry is greater today than it's ever been.” Hospitals have been closing across rural America at a troubling pace. Many agriculturalists have taken jobs away from the farm, just so they can have health care.

Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post

The Colorado Legislature is proposing a major overhaul to the state’s budget, in a move that would redirect money toward rural schools and roads.

Creative Commons

The Colorado Legislature has proposed a series of deep budget cuts that could cause rural hospitals across the state to close.

StatNews.com

In recent years, rural hospitals have struggled to survive in the United States, and many have closed. But in the small West Texas town of Childress, the hospital is thriving against all odds.

Creative Commons

In the past, HPPR has reported on the fact that rural America has been struggling to find enough doctors to serve its populace.

healthline

Rural living has long been thought to be healthy for the body and the soul. But a new article in Healthline disputes this notion, with an essay provocatively entitled, “If You Want to Die Young, Move to Rural America.”

The truth is, when it comes to the five leading causes of death, rural dwellers lag behind inhabitants of America’s cities.

Dodge City Medical Center (DCMC ) will join clinics in Garden City and Ulysses as a partner of Colorado-based Centura Health.

Flap / Flickr Creative Commons

As HPPR has reported in the past, rural hospitals in the U.S. have been struggling a great deal in recent years. Many of them have closed.

This phenomenon is part of a larger trend of younger people moving to the cities and leaving rural areas with little help.

Rural hospitals have been hit hardest in states that refused to expand Medicaid or accept federal funding. These states include Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

Sixty-one Texas hospitals will see federal funding cuts next year, reports The Dallas Morning News. The cuts will come mostly in funding for patient infections and injuries.

The cut in funding is a punishment of sorts, under what is known as the hospital-acquired condition reduction program.

Khampha Bouaphanh / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Rural Texas residents have struggled to find adequate healthcare for a long time. In the last three years alone, fifteen rural hospitals have closed in Texas.

In fact, the American College of Emergency Physicians has given the Lone Star State an F when it comes to providing emergency care access to small town residents.

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.

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