A Rural Practice Fights to Stay Solvent

For one of the only pediatric providers in Hertford County, providing care to an underserved rural population is the dream. But the troubled rollout of NCTracks turned that dream into a nightmare.

Set back behind a car dealership, just off what passes for a main drag, Ahoskie Pediatrics fills a squat brick building that has seen better days. The landscaping is meager and the parking lot pavement is worn and faded. Inside, the brightly lit waiting room is clean and cheerful, filled with well-loved toys from decades past.

By many measures, this is a pediatric practice that shouldn’t exist. Ahoskie is home to 5,000 people, only 1,200 of whom are under 18. The median income of the town hovers right around the federal poverty level, and the bulk of the young residents qualify for Medicaid or the state’s children’s health insurance program, free school lunch and other services. Beverly Edwards, MD, is one of only two pediatricians within a two-hour drive of Ahoskie, and never has a shortage of patients.

Despite the challenging environment, and state bureaucratic changes that have nearly bankrupted her practice, Ahoskie Pediatrics’ sole doctor says she’s been living the dream. Now, reality is horning in on her dream. Read more here.

This story appeared originally on North Carolina Health News




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