Blake Farmer

Latest Stories (108)

Why Tennessee is turning down millions of federal dollars for HIV prevention

Feb 3, 2023
State officials said they will instead use state funds they can control, including cutting out organizations tied to abortion care.
State officials spurned around $8 million in federal funding, saying they will instead use state funds that can be directly controlled — and denied to organizations like Planned Parenthood.
Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Private equity investment is flooding into addiction treatment. Is that a good thing?

Jan 25, 2023
When a new operator took over an addiction treatment center in Nashville, former employees say they saw cutbacks.
Mitzi Dawn works in addiction treatment and spent part of her career as a songwriter. Her “Sing & Share” events were part of the offerings she says were cut when a private equity-backed company took over Nashville Recovery Center in 2021.
Blake Farmer/WPLN News

Hospitals explore virtual nursing to cover staffing shortages and fight burnout

Jan 11, 2023
With nurses facing burnout like never before, some hospitals are exploring remote work options that could keep experienced RNs on the job longer.
Ardent Health is partnering with care.ai to implement virtual nursing technology in each of its 30 hospitals, though the companies say they plan to use local nurses rather than beaming in people from out of state.
Courtesy care.ai

Once pandemic emergency protections end, millions likely to lose Medicaid

Jan 2, 2023
As many as 15 million people may lose Medicaid coverage after the pandemic emergency is formally declared over. But the government’s own projections show many of them will still qualify. They’ll just get hung up in the paperwork.
Patients at a low-income clinic in Nashville wait to be seen. During the pandemic, Medicaid programs were not allowed to drop patients, but income reviews will restart once the public health emergency ends.
Blake Farmer/WPLN

To make the most of a new Ford electric truck plant, Tennessee neighbors need sewer help

Dec 21, 2022
Ford needed a sewer line to build its $5.6 billion plant in Tennessee. But neighboring communities now have to build their own wastewater system to accommodate new residents who come for the new plant jobs.
The town of Mason has its own utility system including water and sewer. Utilities have been the most difficult hurdle to overcome in developing the West Tennessee megasite.
Blake Farmer/WPLN News

Gig workers are signing up for ACA health benefits, though many still go uncovered

Nov 21, 2022
Gig workers are a major reason this year's open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act individual marketplace is likely to be big.
Sharon Barker, an Affordable Care Act navigator, discusses open enrollment in Nashville, Tennessee. She said more of her clients are working in the gig economy and using the individual marketplace to support a more flexible career.
Blake Farmer/WPLN News

Affordable Care Act enrollment expected to hit another record

Nov 18, 2022
A shift to self-employment during the pandemic may partly be responsible for the enrollment surge in plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
A federally-funded health navigator helps people in Nashville sign up for Affordable Care Act plans on the individual marketplace on the first day of open enrollment, Nov. 1.
Blake Farmer/WPLN

When should patients be admitted to a hospital through the ER?

Oct 20, 2022
A hospital giant faces questions about whether it's been too quick to admit patients to the hospital from the emergency room.
HCA is based in Nashville and has hospitals around the country. A member of Congress has asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to open an investigation into questions about its practices around hospital admissions.
Blake Farmer/WPLN News

For a rural hospital trying to reopen, hiring is a challenge

Oct 6, 2022
Many rural hospitals have closed during the pandemic, and their staffers found other work far away.
The Haywood County Community Hospital reopened in August after more than a year of renovations. The hospital closed in 2014.
Blake Farmer/WPLN News

Monkeypox cases may be down, but it still can cause economic harm to infected employees

Sep 29, 2022
Those who become sick with the disease won't find the same kind of employment help that was offered for COVID.
Though new monkeypox cases are down 50% since early August, workers are struggling to find financial assistance if they miss work due to an infection.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images