Monday Roundup: Hospital Gap in Rural Indiana

Hospital shortage in Indiana • Nothing runs like a... Mahindra? • More aid for West, TX • Roadblock for the pipeline • Vote for you favorite small town

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Hospital shortage in Indiana. Low Medicaid reimbursements and a difficulty recruiting medical staff are leading to a lack of hospitals in rural Indiana, especially among facilities that provide ob-gyn services, according to the Fort Wayne, Indiana, Journal Gazette.

Sixteen Indiana counties have no hospital. Another 13 have hospitals but offer no ob-gyn services. “That means people in that community have to travel farther for care,” said Doug Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association. “The more space on the map in terms of gaps in care, I think that’s concerning.”

Joe Haddix, maternal and child health epidemiologist at the Indiana State Department of Health, says it makes more sense for strapped rural hospitals to provide pre-natal care and let mothers drive farther when it’s time to deliver their babies. “If doctors identify high- risk pregnancies early, you have won half the battles,” Haddix said. “It’s not how far they drive. It’s the fact that they go to the right place.”

Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, chairman of the Indiana House Health Committee, said the ob-gyn services were only one part of a larger problem of providing adequate medical care in rural parts of Indiana. “Unfortunately, it’s a broader issue for rural Indiana than just OB services,” Clere said.

Nothing runs like a… Mahindra? Indian tractor manufacturer Mahindra aims to take a bigger share of the U.S. market by offering smaller tractors for “gentlemen farmers.”

Bloomberg Businessweek reports:

The corporation’s biggest model for sale in the United States is 100 horse power, not powerful enough for big farms, but fine for what Cleo Franklin, the marketing and strategic planning vice president, calls the company’s target demographic:  “gentleman farmers,” or baby boomers buying small farms and ranches.

“A lot of customers are going back to their roots,” says Franklin. …  “That segment is truly driving a lot of our growth “

Mahindra dominates the market in its home nation of India and is making inroads in the United States through “red, white and blue” marketing – sponsoring bull riding and getting angler Bill Dance to act as the conglomerate’s U.S. spokesman.

But selling to small farmers and hobbyists isn’t a winning strategy in America, says analyst Joel Tiss. He says Mahindra is “coming to developed markets with a developing-market product.” “In a few years, Tiss says, the gentleman farmer ‘will be doing something else.’”

More aid for West, TX. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has decided to give additional disaster funding to the city of West, Texas, reversing an earlier ruling. President Obama signed a declaration Friday that gave FEMA authority to provide major disaster assistance to West, where an April fertilizer plant killed 15 people and injured more than 200.

FEMA provided initial assistance to the town but then denied Texas’ application to have the town declared a major disaster area, which would open the door for additional federal resources. FEMA initially said the explosion, which destroyed $100 million worth of property and reduced the taxable value of West by 40%, did not reach the level of a major disaster.

“We’ve been living this for three months and it’s been pretty major,” West Independent School District Superintendent Marty Crawford told the Huffington Post.

The school system is hustling to get temporary buildings ready for the first day of classes on August 26.

DTN’s Todd Neeley has a separate story on the difficult rebuilding process in the town of about 2,500. Although many families are rebuilding, not everyone will return:

“Some [residents] are at the age where they’re better suited for a senior living center or something like that. You get to 85, 89 years old, you’re not building back,” said West Mayor Tommy Muska.

As for younger families, “It’s very simple for people to right now move 15 miles to Waco, buy a house, get their students in a nice school, and continue with their lives,” Muska said in an interview with DTN at his business office where he works as an insurance adjuster. “So, I don’t want that to happen. If this town is going to survive, we need to have the incentives available so people can get out there and start moving dirt.”

Roadblock for the pipeline. The Washington Post explains how a lawsuit in Nebraska brought on by three landowners could prove to be a huge speed bump for the progress of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The plaintiffs claim Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman was unconstitutionally given power to approve the route of the pipeline. A win for the landowners probably wouldn’t stop the pipeline, but it could stall the $5.3 Billion project for years. “I don’t think [people] realize how Nebraska is a big monkey wrench in all this,” said Brian Jorde, attorney for the three landowners.

Vote for your favorite small town. James Fallows, writer for the Atlantic, and his wife are taking a trip across the country to explore “smaller-town America.” And they’re doing it in a small airplane. The goal is to “learn about places that illustrate under-reported aspects of current American realities — economic, technological, social, demographic, and all the rest.”

Fallow is asking for input on places to visit. This is where Daily Yonder readers can help. Go to the post and suggest a small town for the writers to visit.

You can also follow their trip on the Atlantic’s website,

 

 

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