Monday Roundup: Waiting for Medicaid

Medicaid delays • More on defining rural • A rural recreation task force • DIY spices

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A Bitter Pill to Swallow – Small town pharmacies in Illinois are struggling to stay in business due to delays in state payments for Medicaid patients. After two family owned stores in Granville and Canton closed, delays in payment were cited as major factors.

“I’m reading a lot of articles about how harsh it’s getting in Illinois,” said John Norton, a spokesman for the Alexandria, Va.-based National Community Pharmacists Association, who called Illinois a “high-profile state” in regard to payment problems.

But other factors are also affecting pharmacies, says one of the owners of a drugstore that closed. “I can identify about eight factors, and I would pretty much have to divide them equally. Public Aid was probably about 15 percent of the problem,” said Marlin Weekley, former owner of Granville Drug. Other factors include competition from large retailers who do more than sell prescriptions.

Defining Rural – The Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold looks at the byzantine world of federal definitions of rural in June 8 article. It’s a predictable story. He reports that there are 15 separate definitions based on diverse criteria such as population size and density and proximity to a metro area.

The story cites this surfeit of definitions as an example of government redundancy and waste, as communities that qualify for one federal funding program may not qualify for another. Or an applicant may have to answer a similar set of questions for multiple programs rather than filling out one standardized application.

Since the premise of the story is that multiple definitions of rural is a bad idea, the piece does nothing to explain why those definitions might vary from program to program. Some of the programs are for infrastructure development like water and sewer treatment facilities. Some are for business development. Some are for government services or broadband access. Because each program meets different needs, they look for different indicators of rurality.

But if nothing else, the Post published the word “rural” at least 15 times. You have to start somewhere, we suppose.

Spicing up Rural Business – Have you ever tried to buy something and after looking at the price murmured “It might be cheaper if I just made it myself”? Christine Suydam has.  After going to purchase cloves at a local market, she remembers being taken aback by the prices. “The prices they’re charging and the quality we’re getting — there’s got to be something better. That was always going around in my head.”

That thought lead to Suydam creating the Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants in rural Maine in 2009. Now she’s bringing flavors from Europe, India, and the Middle East to stateside stores for less, Emily Burnham reports in the Bangor Daily News.

 

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