rural doctors

The University of Kansas Hospital and Hays Medical Center announced Wednesday that they have signed a letter of intent to join forces, bringing together the state’s only academic hospital and one of its leading rural hospitals.

The partnership, which was announced at simultaneous news conferences at both hospitals, builds on a relationship established nearly three years ago when the two institutions, along with more than a dozen critical care hospitals, partnered to treat heart and stroke patients in western Kansas.

Stefani Fontana / KCUR 89.3

Former KCUR intern Stefani Fontana, now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, spent the summer of 2015 doing clinical rotation in western Kansas. Fontana joins us to share some of her experiences.

Read the KCUR series "Reflections Of A Med Student: How Rural Medicine Taught Me To Be A Better Doctor."

Guest:

Stefani Fontana / KCUR 89.3

Former KCUR intern Stefani Fontana, now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, spent last summer doing a clinical rotation in western Kansas. We asked her to keep a journal of her experiences. We’ve edited out actual names of people and places to protect privacy, but otherwise present these condensed journals largely as she wrote them. 

Part 1 of 4: Go west, young doctor

Getting The Hang Of Treating Patients In Rural Kansas

Aug 30, 2016
Stefani Fontana / for KCUR 89.3

Former KCUR intern Stefani Fontana, now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, spent last summer doing a clinical rotation in western Kansas. We asked her to keep a journal of her experiences. We’ve edited out actual names of people and places to protect privacy, but otherwise present her journals as she wrote them. 

Part 2 of 4: From nerves to needles

Skipper Plowman / for KCUR 89.3

Former KCUR intern Stefani Fontana, now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, spent last summer doing a clinical rotation in western Kansas. We asked her to keep a journal of her experiences. We’ve edited out actual names of people and places to protect privacy, but otherwise present her journals largely as she wrote them.  

Part 3 of 4: Thank goodness for nurses

Stafani Fontana

Former KCUR intern Stefani Fontana, now a fourth-year medical student at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, spent last summer doing a clinical rotation in western Kansas. We asked her to keep a journal of her experiences. We’ve edited out actual names of people and places to protect privacy, but otherwise present her journals largely as she wrote them.   

Part 4 of 4: Lessons learned

Andy Taylor

Dr. Julie Stewart doesn’t want political candidates and elected officials to show up at her nonprofit medical clinic in Coffeyville for photo opportunities, grant announcements or organized tours.

Instead, the Coffeyville physician would like those officials to take a personal interest in the patients who have chosen Stewart’s Community Health Clinic of Southeast Kansas because they have no health insurance options.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Rural Americans are gaining health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act at rates outpacing their urban counterparts, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mark Andes is among those in rural Kansas who have benefited. Andes was living and working in McPherson last year when he began having some scary health symptoms.

KHI News Service

Some supporters of Medicaid expansion say that Gov. Sam Brownback’s rural health task force is little more than political cover. They say that in an election year Republican lawmakers opposed to expansion need to be seen as doing something about the financial pressures that forced a hospital in southeast Kansas to close its doors and that are threatening others.

But Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, the person appointed to lead the group, says the governor’s critics have it wrong.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

People who live in small towns across Kansas are struggling to save institutions that in their minds define their communities. Schools are often at the heart of these efforts.

But recent changes in the health care system are also focusing attention on rural hospitals, which are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. That’s true of both hospitals in Harper County, located along the Oklahoma border southwest of Wichita, where a long-standing rivalry is complicating efforts to find a solution.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

A new partnership in southwest Kansas aims to build mental health services and help strengthen a couple of rural hospitals at the same time.

The nonprofit United Methodist Health Ministry Fund is leading an effort to make the health system work better for people in rural Kansas. The fund’s president, Kim Moore, says the current structure based on small, low-volume hospitals isn’t likely to survive long-term.

Andy Marso / KHI News Service

 

 

In the last two years Seth Nutt has traveled to nearly every corner of Kansas, introducing rural students to health care professionals.

Tim Walter

Although 25 percent of Americans still live in rural areas, only 10 percent of doctors do, according to the National Rural Health Association, and finding physicians and other medical professionals willing to work in the hinterlands remains a serious, growing problem in Kansas and other parts of the United States.

Courtest of Gary Yarbrough

Dr. Gary Yarbrough has practiced family medicine in small towns for 30 years.  In that time he's met some memorable people.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

Recruiting doctors to small towns is a chronic problem. Most places try to lure a physician by rolling out the red carpet with a big salary, a home on a golf course or other cushy perks.

Telemedicine Gets Boost

Sep 9, 2010

Kansas City, MO – Leaders of a new telemedicine initiative are hoping to expand the use of the technology in rural areas where doctors and other specialists are difficult to access.

The virtual Heartland Telehealth Resource Center will help doctors and other providers get started with video-conferencing and other telemedicine technologies.