17-34 Segment 1: Rural Hospitals in Trouble


Approximately 14% of Americans live in a rural area and require access to local hospitals, but many rural hospitals struggle to keep their doors open, citing such financial pressures as the upkeep of equipment and technology.

Dr. Carrie Henning-Smith, a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, says rural hospitals rely on government funding from programs like Medicare and Medicaid, however neither program cannot fully support the upkeep of buildings and the care of the patients. Although Medicare and Medicaid provide funding, 40% of rural hospitals still operate with a large loss.

Michael Topchik, Director of the Chartis Center for Rural Health, projects that if the current administration cuts Medicaid funding, 15 million recipients will lose health benefits. In addition, Medicaid cuts will drastically affect rural hospitals. Eighty rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and many more could be at risk in the years to come. Closing these rural hospitals would lead to a loss of 35,000 jobs and a $4 billion drag on domestic product. In addition, the residents of rural areas would have to travel long distances to get access to basic health care when they might need it most.


  • Dr. Carrie Henning-Smith, Research Associate, University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center

  • Michael Topchik, Director, Chartis Center for Rural Health

  • Dr. Daniel Derksen, Director, University of Arizona Center for Rural Health

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17-31 Segment 2: Evaluating Veterans’ Healthcare


There are about 22 million veterans in the United States, and odds are that you know at least one. More than 40% of veterans are enrolled in the Veteran Affairs Health Care System, or the VA, making it the largest healthcare system in the country.  The VA provides life-saving treatments for our country’s former servicemen and servicewomen, but has long been criticized for its inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Is this negative perception warranted?

We talk with Suzanne Gordon, author of  The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Policy Making and Patient Care, who believes we that the VA system offers more positives than negatives. She points out that salaried VA doctors are incentivized to provide comprehensive care to their patients, and that compared to private providers, VA doctors rarely refer a patient to outside specialists. Gordon argues against the push to privatize health care and believes that the shortcomings of the VA come from it being severely underfunded.  Gordon says that although many Americans are willing to fund the military, few consider the importance of providing veterans with with healthcare and other aid after they have served their country.

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  • Suzanne Gordon, author, The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare: Dispatches From the Frontlines of Policy Making and Patient Care

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Coming Up On Radio Health Journal Show 17-31



Car Crash Victims and PTSD

Auto accidents are the largest cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. About 25 percent of people injured in car crashes will suffer from it. Accident survivors and one of the world’s foremost experts discuss variables that make PTSD worse and those that make recovery easier, as well as the essentials victims must carry out to recover.

Evaluating Veterans’ Healthcare

Around nine million military veterans receive healthcare services from the Department of Veterans Affairs. An expert discusses her contention that the care the VA provides is much better than its perception.