rural hospitals | Texas Public Radio

rural hospitals

From Texas Standard:

Rural hospitals in Texas face many challenges to staying in business, even when they aren't having to manage the effects of a pandemic.

Three such hospitals are doing whatever they can to prepare for a potential surge of patients as the coronavirus spreads across Texas.

Across the U.S., including in Texas, there are simply not enough nurses. Demand for all types will likely exceed Texas' healthcare workforce supply by the end of the decade, with a labor deficit of 59,970 Registered Nurses alone.


KEN PIORKOWSKI | FLICKR (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Nov. 20, Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas.

Reed was convicted of raping and killing 19-year-old Stacey Stites in 1996 in Bastrop County. Reed said they were in a consensual relationship and maintains his innocence.


In the central Idaho community of Arco, where Lost Rivers Medical Center is located, the elk and bear outnumber the human population of a thousand. The view from the hospital is flat grassland surrounded by mountain ranges that make for formidable driving in wintertime.

"We're actually considered a frontier area, which I didn't even know was a census designation until I moved there," says Brad Huerta, CEO of the hospital. "I didn't think there's anything more rural than rural."

Mike Rastiello: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0: http://bit.ly/2JWhBbs

Conversations about building strong and economically robust communities can often be focused on bigger cities. An upcoming conference seeks to cultivate, innovate, and collaborate on ideas to improve conditions in rural Texas.  

  

Bonnie Petrie / Texas Public Radio

Professors at the University of Texas at San Antonio are using 3D tech to show their undergraduates how interesting a medical career can be. But that's the easy part. The hard part is convincing them to spend some of that career in rural Texas.

Rural hospitals close when they don't have enough paying patients to care for, but they're also dinged when the same patients show up over and over again. That puts outlying medical facilities in the precarious position of needing to avoid repeat customers.

Charlotte Potts is the type of patient some hospitals try to avoid. She lives in Livingston, Tenn. — a town of 4,000, tucked between rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau.

From Texas Standard:

The system of small hospitals that provides emergency and other health care to millions of rural Texans is in trouble. As many as 18 rural hospitals in Texas have closed since 2013, and many more may be on the verge. These closures can devastate local economies and leave some of the most vulnerable Texans with few health care options.

From Texas Standard: 

Texas has almost a dozen medical schools, but it also has a rural healthcare worker shortage. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is set to vote tomorrow on whether to approve another medical school.

Huntsville-based Sam Houston State University thinks it can address Texas’ critical shortage of doctors in rural parts of the state. It’s seeking accreditation this week for its proposed college of osteopathic medicine.
 
Dr. Stephan McKernan is the associate dean for clinical affairs at the proposed school. He says the goal is to teach students from underserved, rural areas.

Hospital pharmacist Mandy Langston remembers when Lulabelle Berry arrived at the emergency center of Stone County Medical Center in Mountain View, Ark., last year.

Berry couldn't talk. Her face was drooping on one side. Her eyes couldn't focus.

"She was basically unresponsive," Langston recalls.

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