Rural

Stokkete / Shutterstock

It all started at Dr. Sanjeev Arora's clinic in New Mexico.

"One Friday afternoon, 18 years ago, I walked into my clinic in Albuquerque to see a 42-year-old woman who had driven five hours with her two children," Arora said before a recent Senate committee hearing.


Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

 

In 2018, Idaho started a platform for health care workers to support and educate one another. Project ECHO works to share knowledge through weekly video conferences to increase the specialist knowledge among doctors in our state. 

USAFacts

Nearly half of all counties in the Mountain West have largely been spared from COVID-19, according to recent data from the nonprofit organization USAFacts. Many of these communities weren't untouched, but all have had fewer than five confirmed cases of the virus. 

Matt Cilley / AP Images

 

For counties that rely on tourism as summer approaches, Gov. Brad Little’s reopening plan can mean a chance for small businesses to make much needed money. But it also presents risks for a population with limited medical resources during a pandemic. Finding the right balance between protecting the tourism economy and protecting the health of residents is a conversation many rural leaders are looking toward. 

Report for America

 

A few weeks ago on the show, we talked to a northern Idaho newspaper struggling to stay afloat. Their story isn’t unique: local news outlets have been hurting for years.  

The Daily Yonder

Many big cities are seeing the number of COVID-19 cases fall, but rural counties are seeing the opposite, according to a new analysis by the Daily Yonder, a rural nonprofit news outlet.

 

Brandy Burke / U.S. Air National Guard

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Shelby, Mont. is home to a lot of wheat and barley fields, a decent high school football team, and an Amtrak train that passes through town twice a day. It's a place where almost everyone knows everyone. 

"The people here are fantastic," says William Kiefer, CEO of the only hospital in the county that offers 24/7 emergency medical services. "There's a huge sense of community."

So when people began getting sick and even dying from COVID-19, it hit hard. 

The Idaho Traveler explores the often ignored treasures of small-town Idaho, from historic buildings and sites to the mom-and-pop restaurants that offer the best pie and breakfast in the Gem State. Interviews with long-time residents and newcomers alike illustrate this paean to Idaho and capture the essence of what defines Idaho's unique character.


New Report Spotlights The Rural West’s Connectivity Gap 

A report published this week by the National Association of Counties found that more than 75% of rural counties had internet and cellular connections that fell well below minimum government standards. The problem is especially acute in the Mountain West. For the most part, only wealthy enclaves like Jackson, Wyoming, have good broadband, the study’s connectivity maps show.

Rural hospital closures are becoming more common, and that’s leading to longer response times for ambulances to reach the scene of an emergency, according to a recent study.

James Dawson / Boise State Public Radio

 

Boise State University President Marlene Tromp has made rural outreach to students a priority in her short time in office. Now, the university will offer a special scholarship for rural Idaho students.

Matthew Roth / Flickr Creative Commons

Rural economies could get a massive boost under policies meant to decrease carbon emissions, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

 


Idaho author Alan Minksoff first made his 24-town tour of the Gem State in the 1970s. He went back to these small towns last year to write his book “The Idaho Traveler.” Centered around interviews with locals, he brings readers from town to town sharing insider knowledge on the best drives, sights and food the state has to offer. He shares memorable stories of his travels with Idaho Matters.

Updated Monday, November 18, 2019 to include a visualization of pharmacy closure in the Mountain West.

A national study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that 1 in 8 pharmacies closed between the years 2009 and 2015. 

Counterintuitively, the total number of pharmacies is growing. 

“So you see kind of a net growth at a national level,” said Dima Qato, an associate professor at the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy and an author of the study. “But at the local, at the county, level there is variation. Some areas are not experiencing growth. Some counties are not only experiencing closures but they’re experiencing net loss.”

Boise State Public Radio

Health disparities experienced between urban and rural communities are a result of many different factors, one of these being access to physicians. In an effort to increase this access WWAMI offers a Rural Underserved Opportunities Program. This gives medical students the chance to serve in areas with doctor shortages and learn more about community medicine.

Wi-Fi can be hard to find in the rural parts of our region. In fact, about six in ten rural Americans believe access to high-speed internet is a problem where they live. But that might change. Today the Department of Interior announced a new effort to increase access to broadband on federal lands.

The American Hospital Association has released a new report on the state of rural hospitals across the country. There’s good and bad news about how the Mountain West stacks up.

First, the bad news. When it comes to the number of mental health professionals, our region looks like a black hole.

St. Luke's

St. Luke's Health System is investing $3.4 million in a virtual care center - a "high tech hub" with a medical team available to provide assistance 24/7. The center will be able to connect doctors with rural Idahoans and those with mobility issues. Idaho Matters discusses this new trend in health care with St. Luke's and how this could be a game changer for underserved rural communities.

On The Monday, August 27, 2018 Edition Of Idaho Matters

Aug 24, 2018

  • Idaho parents are given the option to refuse children's vaccinations.
  • Voter demographics in Idaho are shifting ahead of the mid-term elections.
  • A Boise State University program addresses student addiction.

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

We hear the fourth installment of 'Our Changing Idaho' and talk to BSPR reporter Matt Guilham about a small Idaho town that is neither growing like many Idaho cities, nor shrinking like many American small towns.

SAMANTHA WRIGHT / BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO

Boise State Public Radio is rolling out a series looking at the growth in Idaho and the various social, economic and environmental impacts on the people and institutions of the state. The first installment of Our Changing Idaho airs on Monday's Idaho Matters.

Bringing Doctors To Idaho's Rural Regions

Jun 6, 2018
MOLLY MESSICK / STATEIMPACT IDAHO

A study by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that only 53% of medical residents stay in the Gem State to practice medicine at the conclusion of their residency. While this is above the national average for in-state retention of doctors, this still makes it difficult to lure licensed medical professionals to Idaho's rural communities. Idaho Matters speaks with State Representative Mat Erpelding about ways to keep doctors in-state and provide quality health care for the state's rural residents.

Mike Vogt / AP Images/Idaho Press Tribune

Idaho’s doing better than in previous years when it comes to emergency preparedness. That's according to a new national study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 


Tim Albano / Flickr Creative Commons

You’ve likely heard of food deserts — maybe you've even heard of news deserts. But classical music deserts? The New York City-based Piatigorsky Foundation has made it their mission to bring classical music to underserved communities, including in rural Idaho.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Images

Tuesday, President Trump unveiled his long-awaited $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. But in order to streamline these projects, the administration is proposing changes to the way they are reviewed for environmental impact.

The National Environmental Policy Act was enacted in 1970. Called NEPA for short, the law was created after the construction of the Interstate Highways System damaged delicate ecosystems around the country.

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