This document provides some information about improving access to healthcare in rural and underserved areas. This is referred to as the democratization of healthcare. This is generally a problem for sparsely populated areas, and areas impacted by severe poverty where schools, hospitals, grocery stores, libraries, and other essential services are limited or dismantled.
Related recent news stories are below in chronological order. Entry headings provide the source and date.
PBS (23 Nov 2022)
“Doctor creates program to expand medical care in rural and underserved areas” — Millions of Americans live in rural or underserved areas where there are fewer medical care facilities and doctors with specialized expertise. One doctor in New Mexico is trying to help change that with his vision dubbed “Project ECHO.” Fred de Sam Lazaro reports in a partnership with the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. [Source]
VICE (8 Sep 2021)
“America Has a Healthcare Crisis, and It’s Hurting Rural Towns” — In the last decade, almost 10% of community hospitals have shut down in rural towns across the country. The closures have led to dwindling populations and limited access to healthcare. [Source]
CNBC (6 Feb 2020)
“Why U.S. Hospitals Are Closing” — In rural towns across the U.S. hospitals are in crisis. Since 2010, 121 rural hospitals have closed. And, the National Rural Health Association says more than one-third of all rural hospitals in the U.S. are at serious risk of shutting down. But not all hospitals are losing money. A series of mergers and acquisitions that began in the 1990’s has created massive hospital groups. Many of these hospital consortiums are turning huge profits every year by offering high priced services to well insured patients. [Source]
Tee Faircloth via TEDx (9 Apr 2019)
“Why we ALL have a stake in solving the rural healthcare crisis” — Tee Faircloth is a turnaround expert with a 20-year track record rebooting insolvent companies and distressed industries. As CEO of Coordinated Care Inc., he is at the forefront of revitalizing rural healthcare to make a difference for the 70 million Americans who depend on rural hospitals. Today, Tee is actively working with legislators, state governments, academic institutions and national rural health advocates to drive innovations that can benefit patient care and hospitals alike. Tee Faircloth loves solving big challenges. His latest target: rural healthcare. Tee spent the last 20 years rebooting insolvent companies and distressed industries. His company Coordinated Care Inc is revitalizing rural healthcare to make a difference for the 70 million Americans who depend on rural hospitals. Today, through the company’s mission, Tee is a thought-leader on rural health actively working with legislators, state governments, academic institutions and national rural health advocates to drive innovations that can benefit patient care and hospitals alike. [Source]
CBS (10 Mar 2019)
“Rural medical care in crisis” — Since 2010, 99 rural hospitals in the United States have closed, leaving residents in isolated communities without access to proper medical or emergency room care. The effects can be deadly, as Lee Cowan discovered meeting with residents in Nevada and Oklahoma who have witnessed their towns’ only hospital close. He also visited a hospital in Kansas that took an unusual approach to profitability, and a charity whose international outreach to provide medical care in remote locations has taken a domestic turn. [Source]
WSJ (22 Feb 2018)
“Health Care in America: Insurance Gaps and Medical Deserts” — In Trenton, Tenn., and similar rural communities around the U.S., many residents are underinsured or uninsured and struggle with medical costs, often forgoing care. This burdens local hospitals, which in turn close or scale back care, putting patients at risk. [Source]
Dr. Cheryl Whitaker via TEDx (4 Dec 2017)
“Taking Health Care to the Streets” — Heath care in underserved communities has poor results due to lack of access and engagement. To succeed, it’s necessary to innovate. What works? Borrowing a page from the community organizer’s playbook and hitting the streets, using care consultants who are from the community. They understand the conditions and the lifestyles that pertain to their community’s residents, and are armed with mobile technology and know-how that can make a difference. How do you assess a patient’s neighborhood? None of the 81 measures health plans use to measure performance do, yet studies show that social determinants are up to 50% of what impacts health and the care patients receive.
Cheryl Whitaker, MD, co-founded NextLevel Health (NLH) in 2014 because government-funded health care programs often fail to reach their intended beneficiaries. This innovative for-profit health insurance company helps the underserved access and manage Medicaid services by borrowing a page from the community organizer’s playbook. NLH provides extensive patient services with a geographically based Care Management Team model.
Cheryl is a Washington University- and Stanford-trained physician with a Harvard MPH. After practicing medicine, consulting for the government and NGOs and founding NLH, she has a 360-degree view of the health care system as a patient, provider and now payor. This informs her conviction that payors need a new model of patient-centric engagement. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. [Source]