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Rural Matters

Apr 27, 2021

This is the first of our four-part series showcasing rural hospitals, produced in collaboration with and underwritten by the Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH). Michelle talks with Dr. Nancy Dickey, CORH’s executive director and David Walker, CEO of George E. Weems Memorial Hospital in Apalachicola, Florida. They discuss how CORH's technical assistance program has helped Weems Memorial Hospital go from almost closing to thriving. The three also detail how to diagnose and overcome the challenges facing rural hospitals, the importance of connecting hospital leadership to training sessions, and how hospitals can identify the best next steps to deal with their particular situations. Walker details how the COVID-19 pandemic has made his hospital even more crucial to the local community. Dr. Dickey notes that overfilled urban hospitals have transferred patients to rural hospitals, which has allowed those hospitals to truly shine. For more information on CORH, visit,