rural health

Telehealth turned Jill Hill's life around.

The 63-year-old lives on the edge of rural Grass Valley, an old mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California. She was devastated after her husband Dennis passed away in the fall of 2014 after a long series of medical and financial setbacks.

"I was grief-stricken and my self-esteem was down," Hill remembers. "I didn't care about myself. I didn't brush my hair. I was isolated. I just kind of locked myself in the bedroom."

Charles Bowers takes long, quick strides down a worn, dirt path and stops in front of a tall thicket of bushes. He lifts a hand to signal that he's spied something.

He's leading me on a tour of camps made by homeless people in wooded corners of Fayette County, Kentucky, and there, slightly up the hill, is a patch of blue. A tent.

He keeps his voice low to avoid startling those inside.

Carol Burgos is worried her neighbors think she is bringing the neighborhood down.

She lives in a mobile home park in a woodsy part of Columbia County, N.Y, just off a two-lane highway. The homes have neat yards and American flags. On a spring Saturday, some neighbors are out holding yard sales, with knickknacks spread out on folding tables. Others are out doing yardwork.

Burgos' lawn is unruly and overgrown.

"How bad do I feel when these little old ladies are mowing their lawn and I can't because I'm in so much pain?" she says.

After the devastation from Hurricane Michael, at least one community is moving forward with recovery. Wakulla County is taking steps to put the storm and its effects behind them.

Dentists graduate with a lot of student loan debt. That means it's hard for them to set up in rural areas where people might not have much money -- or health insurance.

WMFE

There is a seven-county stretch in North Central Florida -- an area larger than Puerto Rico -- where every county health department has gotten out of prenatal care.

Since then, the rate of women getting in to see a doctor in the first trimester has dropped in all seven  counties.

Say you're a Midwestern farmer in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery or a major illness. It's time for the nurse's check-in, but there's no knock on the door.

At Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, a camera attached to the wall over the foot of the bed whirls around, as a video monitor next to the camera lights up to show a smiling face with a headset on.

"Good afternoon, this is Jeff with SafeWatch," the smiling face says. "Just doing my afternoon rounds."

  Florida's rural counties are seeing suicide rates for youth almost double that of the state's large cities. And experts say isolation, poverty, access to firearms and a lack of mental health resources are to blame.

After 45 years of providing health care in rural western Missouri, Sac-Osage Hospital is being sold piece by piece.

Ceiling tiles are going for 25 cents, the room doors for an average of less than $4 each, the patient beds for $250 apiece. Soon, the remnants of the hospital that long symbolized the lifeblood of Osceola, population 923, will be torn to the ground.

Senate Health Panel Tries Again on Telemedicine

Feb 4, 2015
Florida Senate

Pointing to a need to increase access to health care in areas such as rural communities, a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders Tuesday expressed confidence they will reach agreement this year on a plan to boost the use of telemedicine in Florida.

Sometimes called "telehealth," telemedicine involves using the Internet and other technology to provide care to patients remotely.

As a basic example, a physician could use a video link to consult with a patient who is at home.

AP

FREEPORT  — In this rural part of the Panhandle, Christopher Mitchell finds few takers when he delivers his message about the importance of exploring insurance options under the federal health overhaul. 

Gainesville Sun

The Gainesville Rural Women's Health Project, which educates Hispanic women in several rural Florida counties on early detection of breast cancer, is a finalist for a national award, the Gainesville Sun reports. 

Another story in the Sun cites Alachua County’s FluMist vaccine program, which has resulted in fewer emergency room visits for children.