skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

NH gun-safety advocates advise services, bipartisan laws after deadly shootings; Food banks, pantries address rising food insecurity during winter holidays; Despite cost debate, some MN businesses intrigued by paid-leave law.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Muslim American leaders in swing states like Michigan threaten to Abandon Biden, VP Harris criticizes greenwashing at COP28, former congresswoman Cheney calls the GOP a "threat," and George Santos is expelled.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Rural Iowa declared 'ambulance desert'

play audio
Play

Thursday, September 21, 2023   

People in rural America are five times as likely to live in so-called "ambulance deserts," areas far from an ambulance service or station, than those in urban areas.

In rural Iowa, ambulance service has declined as the population dwindles. The study, from the Maine Rural Health Research Center, said half of those living in ambulance deserts are in rural areas, more than 25 minutes from an ambulance station.

Keokuk, along the banks of the Mississippi in eastern Iowa, has seen its population shrink to fewer than 10,000, with a sharp decline in ambulance service.

Cole O'Donnell, city administrator, said the situation got worse when officials were forced to close the local hospital.

"It frightened a lot of people," O'Donnell recounted. "I know that we have older people that moved out of Keokuk to someplace closer to a hospital. You know, they had health problems and if something happened, they couldn't wait those extra minutes, or even the extra minutes of getting them from Keokuk to a hospital."

In addition to trying to bolster county ambulance service, O'Donnell noted Keokuk is working to help reopen the local hospital as a federally designated Rural Emergency Hospital, which requires the facility to provide emergency services and outpatient care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Emergency medical service is not considered essential in rural America, and the federal government does not fund it. Volunteers form the backbone of E-M-S operations in many areas, including Iowa. But O'Donnell acknowledged in Keokuk, times have changed. It is hard to find paramedics and emergency medical technicians, let alone people who do not get paid to do those jobs.

"When I was growing up in the '70s and the '80s, my mom was even part of the first responders," O'Donnell explained. "You can't even get first responders now to set up a service where they respond before the ambulance gets there, because nobody wants to volunteer anymore."

While about 14% of Americans live in rural areas, the report shows they make up more than half the population living in ambulance deserts.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
According to the National Family Farm Coalition, the average U.S. farmland value is now $3,800 per
acre, the highest since the 1970s. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …


Social Issues

play sound

Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…

Social Issues

play sound

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…


An estimated 40% of recent college graduates in the U.S. are underemployed, according to Statista. (Adobe Stock)

play sound

A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …

Social Issues

play sound

Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…

The Thrive Indianapolis Annual Report 2022 says Indianapolis has been recognized as a Tree City USA for 35 consecutive years. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …

Health and Wellness

play sound

New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …

play sound

Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021