Blake Farmer | Nashville Public Radio

Blake Farmer

Senior Health Care Reporter

Blake Farmer is Nashville Public Radio's senior health care reporter. In a partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, Blake covers health in Tennessee and the health care industry in the Nashville area for local and national audiences.

Blake has worked at WPLN throughout his career, most recently serving as news director and primary editor for the newsroom. Previously, his reporting focused on education and the military. He's also enjoyed producing stories about midnight frog gigging and churches holding gun raffles. 

Growing up in East Nashville, Blake attended Lipscomb Academy. He went to college in Texas at Abilene Christian University where he cut his teeth in radio at KACU-FM. Before joining WPLN full time in 2007, Blake also wrote for the Nashville City Paper and filed international stories for World Christian Broadcasting.

An active member and past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists Middle Tennessee Chapter, Blake has also won numerous regional and national awards from the Associated Press, RTDNA and PRNDI. In 2017, his alma mater honored him with the Gutenberg Award for achievements of journalism graduates. 

This may say more than anything: he always keeps his audio recorder handy, even on vacation, just in case there's a story to be told.

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Jiselle Macalaguin / KOMU via Flickr

This week, Tennessee's Medicaid program began enforcing a limit on first-time opioid prescriptions. TennCare patients can only get enough pills for five days. Legislative leaders say similar restrictions are in the works to regulate painkiller prescribing for all Tennesseans.

TN Photo Services (file)

A program to assist desperate parents in rural Tennessee is expanding to DeKalb and half a dozen other counties. The initiative, which is already operating in Putnam and Coffee counties, establishes a two-person support team — a care coordinator and a family support specialist, who is often the parent of a child with a mental health diagnosis.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Mayor Megan Barry has now given until the end of the year for some kind of restructuring at Nashville General Hospital to begin, but the only idea on the table at the moment is hers: Close the inpatient hospital to save money and focus instead on outpatient chronic disease care.

Hospital officials say they’re already headed that direction, but they will still need to keep the hospital doors open.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Mayor Megan Barry sent a two-page letter to the Metro Council Thursday saying she plans to take until the end of the year to come up with a new model for Nashville General Hospital. She also apologized for publicly announcing her plans to wind down inpatient care after years of failed attempts at financial sustainability.

courtesy TNECD

The biggest investor in a Franklin-based hospital chain is giving a much-needed vote of confidence in a company thought to be on the verge of collapse.

Amtec Staffing / amtec.us.com

Leaders of the Tennessee General Assembly are jumping at the chance to add a work requirement for TennCare. A new policy from the Trump Administration allows Medicaid programs in each state to pursue new restrictions.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Veterans in the military town of Clarksville cheered Wednesday as officials opened a long-awaited VA clinic with twice the capacity of the existing facility, which had gotten so overcrowded that — at one point — it could no longer take new patients. And perhaps no one is as excited as George O'Connor.

Metro General Hospital photo
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

One of the Metro Council's most conservative members has joined the effort to keep Nashville General Hospital open, even if it means spending more money. Councilman Steve Glover is proposing a ban on closure of the city's safety-net facility.

Sharyn Morrow via Flickr

Medication used to treat opioid addiction has now been blamed as a factor in dozens of overdose deaths in Tennessee. According to data released by the state health department, toxicology reports found buprenorphine played a role in 67 of the 1,600 overdose deaths in 2016.

courtesy Decatur County General Hospital / via Facebook

Tennessee's reluctance to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is still being blamed for the high number of hospital closures in the state — the most in the U.S. outside of Texas. And this week brings one more. The Decatur County Commission decided to close its only hospital this week, citing the increased taxpayer subsidies.

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