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Charlotte Talks: North Carolina's Rural Health Crisis

Ryan Gustman

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 

Finding adequate health care in rural North Carolina is a challenge.  Twenty counties don’t have a pediatrician.  Twenty-six don’t have an OBGYN.  Psychiatrists are MIA in 32 North Carolina counties and to make matters worse, many hospitals in rural areas are closing their doors due in large part to the lack of proper Medicaid coverage for the working poor. Mike sits down with those who are working to solve our state's rural health care crisis.

The lack of proper Medicaid coverage for the working poor, known as the insurance coverage gap, is a major contributor to hospital closures. Rural hospitals are often unable to offer competitive wages for its staff. This results in a shortage of competent doctors in areas that badly need them. 
The implementation of Telehealth services, online medical services, is one proposed solution to the problem. Unfortunately, many rural communities do not have access to a broadband connection necessary for the use of Telehealth. Areas which need these services the most are unable to utilize them. Communities are in despite need of doctors and hospitals, are unable to sustain them. 
Plus, the coming together of Carolinas HealthCare System and UNC Health Care is being billed as a way to improve all of this but Blue Cross says otherwise.


Alex Olgin, health reporter, WFAE

John Coggin, the director of advocacy, The Rural Center.

Steve North, MD, medical director and founder, Center for Rural Health Innovation

Taylor Knopf, reporter for North Carolina Health News