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Health Officials Fear Pandemic-Related Suicide Spike Among Native Youth

This story also ran on Time. This story can be republished for free (details). WOLF POINT, Mont. — Fallen pine cones covered 16-year-old Leslie Keiser’s fresh grave at the edge of Wolf Point, a small community on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation on the eastern Montana plains. Leslie, whose father is a member of the […]

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What Happened When the Only ER Doctor in a Rural Town Got COVID

Kurt Papenfus, a doctor in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, started to feel sick around Halloween. He developed a scary cough, intestinal symptoms and a headache. In the midst of a pandemic, the news that he had COVID-19 wasn’t surprising, but Papenfus’ illness would have repercussions far beyond his own health. Papenfus is the lone full-time emergency […]

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Rural Areas Send Their Sickest Patients to Cities, Straining Hospitals

This story is part of a partnership that includes KCUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News. This story can be republished for free (details). Registered nurse Pascaline Muhindura has spent the past eight months treating COVID patients at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. But when she returns home to her small town of Spring Hill, Kansas, she’s often […]

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‘No Mercy’ Chapter 7: After a Rural Town Loses Hospital, Is a Health Clinic Enough?

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Family physician Maxwell Self is doing his same old job for a new employer. For two decades he was a doctor with Mercy Hospital. But when Mercy packed up and left, a federally qualified health center moved to town — into the hospital building itself — and […]

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‘No Mercy’ Chapter 3: Patchwork of Urgent Care Frays After a Rural Hospital Closes

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Emergency care gets complicated after a hospital closes. On a cold February evening, when Robert Findley fell and hit his head on a patch of ice, his wife, Linda, called 911. The delays that came next exposed the frayed patchwork that sometimes stands in for rural health […]

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‘No Mercy’ Chapter 2: Unimaginable, After a Century, That Their Hospital Would Close

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Closing a hospital hurts. In Fort Scott, Kansas, no one was a bigger symbol for that loss — or bigger target for the town’s anger — than hospital president Reta Baker. Baker was at the helm when the hospital doors closed. “I don’t even like going out […]

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Rural Hospitals Teeter on Financial Cliff as COVID Medicare Loans Come Due

This story also ran on NPR. This story can be republished for free (details). Note to Readers: Sarah Jane Tribble spent more than a year and half reporting on a small town in Kansas that lost its only hospital. This month, KHN and St. Louis Public Radio will launch “Where It Hurts,” a podcast exploring […]

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HHS Plan to Improve Rural Health Focuses on Better Broadband, Telehealth Services

Use Our Content This story can be republished for free (details). Knowing it may be met with some skepticism, the Trump administration Thursday announced a sweeping plan that officials say will transform health care in rural America. Even before the coronavirus pandemic reached into the nation’s less-populated regions, rural Americans were sicker, poorer and older […]