EP 276 An Emergency In Rural America

Image result for Mark Holmes, PhD, a professor at the University of North  Carolina

  Healthcare delivery and cost concerns are top of mind in our political
debate.  Nowhere is that concern greater than in rural America. If you
live in remote places in the heartland and the South, the likelihood
that the hospital closest to your home may be shuttered or downsized is
growing greater each year.  Twenty one percent of rural hospitals are at
a high risk of closing, according to one report.  That equates to 430
hospitals across 43 states that employ nearly 150,000 people.  These
places attend to emergencies when a local farmer, let’s say, has a heart
attack and rapid response time is critical.  They also represent the
heartbeat of many communities as the largest employer, supporter of
local organizations and driver of economic activity.  And many in rural
America have significant chronic health problems, such as diabetes and
obesity.  Mark Holmes, PhD, a professor at the University of North
Carolina and director of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services
Research, joins us to explain how this all came about and some possible
ways forward in dealing with a healthcare crisis.