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Rural Americans in Pharmacy Deserts Hurting for Covid Vaccines

As the Biden administration accelerates a plan to use pharmacies to distribute covid-19 vaccines, significant areas of the country lack brick-and-mortar pharmacies capable of administering the protective shots. A recent analysis by the Rural Policy Research Institute found that 111 rural counties, mostly between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, have no pharmacy that […]

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Rural Hospital Remains Entrenched in Covid ‘War’ Even Amid Vaccine Rollout

Editor’s note: KHN wrote about St. James Parish Hospital in April, when it was experiencing its first surge of covid-19 patients. Ten months later, we checked in to see how the hospital and its staff were faring. The “heroes work here” sign in front of St. James Parish Hospital has been long gone, along with […]

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Journalists Explore Inefficiency and Inequities of Vaccine Rollout

KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber spoke about the covid-19 vaccine rollout for WAMU’s “1A” on Jan. 29. KHN social media manager Chaseedaw Giles discussed racial disparities in covid vaccine distribution with NBC LX News on Feb. 3. KHN senior correspondent Sarah Jane Tribble discussed why President Joe Biden’s use of the Defense Production Act might […]

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California’s Rural Counties Endure a Deadly Covid Winter

Covid-19’s fierce winter resurgence in California is notable not only for the explosion in overall cases and deaths in the state’s sprawling urban centers. This latest surge spilled across a far greater geographic footprint, scarring remote corners of the state that went largely unscathed for much of 2020. In the past two months, covid-related infection […]

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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 […]