Rural America

Workforce shortages plague rural hospitals, legislation to address it stalls

Experts worry that without legislation incentivizing entry into various medical professions, rural healthcare systems will increasingly suffer from personnel shortages.

How governments are tackling medical debt

Medical debt can stymie communities’ economic mobility as unpaid hospital bills chip away at public dollars. That’s why local governments are looking to forgive residents’ medical debt, which experts say can be especially helpful for rural areas.

Rural counties dependent on recreation industry show best recovery from pandemic employment loss

Rural recreation counties added to their pre-pandemic employment numbers, but other rural economies struggled to recover.

Help for rural governments tackling the opioid crisis

The Reaching Rural Initiative helped officials in Harnett County, North Carolina, develop an opioid emergency response plan and a program to direct formerly incarcerated individuals to treatment.

A robust digital equity plan can boost rural broadband access

A new toolkit from a rural broadband association calls on local leaders to build partnerships, engage in community outreach, and emphasize digital literacy and cybersecurity skills among residents.

Study: Rural communities still at disadvantage when competing for federal grants

Despite efforts by the Biden Administration to level the playing field for low-capacity communities, applying for government funding remains a tougher challenge for rural communities.

For rural communities, broadband expansion is no single thing

Small communities trying to take advantage of massive federal funding now available for broadband expansion deal with multiple hurdles. Resistance from major providers is just one of them.

Study looks at climate change effects on rural electrical grids

Investigators from universities in South Dakota, Puerto Rico, Maine and Alaska are working together for the next four years to study severe weather events and electrical grids.

How will rural Americans fare during Medicaid unwinding? Experts fear they’re on their own

Rural residents face additional barriers to renewing their Medicaid coverage, including longer distances to eligibility offices, less access to the internet or a lack of health insurance counselors in their communities.

You might need an ambulance, but your state might not see it as ‘essential’

Ambulance services can receive state money once declared essential services.

This new law will help health care workers save lives in ambulances that cover wide-open West Texas

The emerging technology, paid for by a grant established during the 2023 legislative session, will help emergency health care workers talk with doctors in emergency rooms to better care for critical patients.

Life in a rural ‘ambulance desert’ means sometimes help isn’t on the way

Rural health care services like ambulances and hospitals are often spread few and far between, research shows. A shortage of services puts residents' health at risk and even affects local economies, experts say.

Lack of access to cloud computing may hinder rural innovation, study shows

Rural businesses innovate at rates similar to urban businesses when they have access to the cloud. But they need fast, stable internet connection to maintain that competitiveness.

Rural Texas may lose out on billions in broadband infrastructure funding due to federal regulations

Grant applicants are required to have a line of credit from a major bank and put up 25% of the project cost ahead of time. That will likely disqualify many small internet service providers in rural areas.

Recovery cafes offer support, healing in rural communities

Facing issues including substance misuse or loneliness, a new way to gather to lean on others for support is catching on in rural American towns. A rural fellowship program focused on health and criminal justice is helping support some of the efforts.

Rural Electric Co-Ops to Get $10.7B in Clean Energy Grants, Loans

The Agriculture Department says the money marks the largest single funding effort for rural electrification in the U.S. since the 1930s.

If Rural Towns Want a Stronger Local Economy, Why Do They Invest in Wall Street?

Several experts are creating tools and sharing expertise to develop an “ecosystem,” in which investing directly in local small businesses becomes a viable alternative to Wall Street for rural communities.

Rural Main Street Program Says Revitalization Starts at Home

A new initiative for small towns aims to move from simply recruiting businesses to incubating the business ideas that arise locally.

Lack of Access to Infrastructure Hurts Voter Participation in Rural America

Voter turnout is lower in rural places, something researchers say is a symptom of unequal amounts of civic infrastructure.

In the Face of Extreme Floods, Rural Communities Lack Forecasting and Broadband

Plans are in place to address the urban observation bias in national weather prediction, but the other piece—reliable broadband—could still be years away for places like Eastern Kentucky.