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‘Where It Hurts’ Brings Attention To Rural Health Care Access

David Kovaluk
“Where It Hurts” is a production of Kaiser Health News and St. Louis Public Radio.

Missouri has lost seven rural hospitals since 2014. It’s a trend seen in areas across the country, and it’s a topic explored extensively in the new podcast “Where It Hurts.”

“These hospitals have been an anchor to the community,” said Sarah Jane Tribble, podcast host and Kaiser Health News senior correspondent. “They’re often one of the places with the most jobs, some of the best-paying jobs — [and] they are places where you go for safety and security.”

The show's first season focuses on Fort Scott, Kansas. The rural town’s Mercy Hospital closed due to financial difficulties.

“When this hospital closed, they didn’t know if they’d have an emergency department; they didn’t know what health care services they would have in the community,” Tribble said. “And to top it off, Mercy Hospital had been in Fort Scott for 132 years, since the town’s pioneer days. So it was really part of their DNA.”

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske spoke with Tribble, who grew up an hour from Fort Scott.

“Where It Hurts” is a production of Kaiser Health News and St. Louis Public Radio. It debuted Sept. 29, and episodes will be released weekly each Tuesday through Nov. 10.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.