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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
handa Freeman - Health Policy Team Program Manager, Tennessee Justice Center
udy Roitman - Executive Director, Tennessee Health Care Campaign
ill Jolley - Senior Vice President, Rural Health Issues, Tennessee Hospital Association
ina Pilgreen - Director, Tennessee Office of Rural Health
ogan 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 is WUOT's News Director, as well as host of monthly talk show Dialogue. Her first job with the station was as a weekend student announcer while earning her bachelor's in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee. From 2004 to 2015, she served as the station's local host for Morning Edition. In 2019, she returned to the station as the local host for All Things Considered.