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Dialogue: Can Tennessee Improve Its Rural Healthcare System?

More than a quarter of Tennessee counties don’t have a hospital and a fifth don’t even have an emergency facility, though they may have an ambulance service. When a hospital closes or there's no hospital at all, rural economies suffer. It's impossible to recruit businesses and to keep employers, residents, and retirees in the area. The communities impacted by all of this are disproportionately made up of the uninsured, the elderly, the chronically ill, and those living in poverty.

WUOT's Chrissy Keuper spoke with members of state agencies, nonprofits, and social justice advocacy about what the present and future look like for healthcare in Tennessee’s rural counties.


Dr. Carole Myers - Professor, University of Tennessee College of Nursing
Jacy Warrell - Executive Director, Rural Health Association of Tennessee Chanda Freeman - Health Policy Team Program Manager, Tennessee Justice Center Judy Roitman - Executive Director, Tennessee Health Care Campaign Bill Jolley - Senior Vice President, Rural Health Issues, Tennessee Hospital Association Tina Pilgreen - Director, Tennessee Office of Rural Health Logan McCoy - Special Projects Director, Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development

Other Links:

Center for Rural Health Research

Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development

Rural Equity Project Report Release: Rural Hospital Closures

Protecting Tennessee's Rural Hospitals: 2021 Conference (September 2021)

Tennessee Department of Health Uninsured Adult Healthcare Safety Net Annual Report 2020

Rural Emergency Hospital Overview (April 2021)

Chrissy served as WUOT's News Director and host of monthly public affairs talk show Dialogue from late 2021 to early 2023. Her first job with the station was as weekend student announcer while earning her bachelor's in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee. She had previously been the station's local host for NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered news programs; occasionally filled in as host for WUOT's Morning and Afternoon Concerts; and won multiple awards for her interviews, feature stories, and Dialogue.