Rethinking Rural Health Solutions To Save Patients And Communities

National Public Radio

Adrienne St. Clair

Heidi Schultz grew up traveling from one end of South Dakota to the other, tagging along as her sister saw doctors and specialists in the “big cities” to treat her diabetes.

Schultz thought she knew rural America well when she took a position with the Helmsley Charitable Trust overseeing their rural health program in seven Western and upper Midwestern states, including Montana and Wyoming.

But even she has been surprised by how she can drive hours on country highways seeing few cars and just “a handful of gravel driveways going somewhere you can’t see.”

“It’s almost scary,” Schultz says. “You’re thinking, ‘If something happened to me here on this road now, how long would it take for someone to get to me? An ambulance? And where would they take me for care?’ ” [Full text]

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