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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Lamar Alexander FAFSA
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Sen. Lamar Alexander acknowledges that the final tax bill set to pass this week will increase health insurance costs for those who use the federal exchanges. But he says his bipartisan bill to stabilize the insurance marketplace will offset the cost increase.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

More Tennesseans seem to be buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, even though advertising has dropped considerably under the Trump Administration. Open enrollment for 2018 ends Friday at midnight, and the number of applications processed by federally-funded insurance guides — known as navigators — has already surpassed last year. Many enrollees are finding that despite a leap in average price, they are paying less.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The largest employers in Nashville have agreed to promote voter registration as part of their hiring process. The project is spearheaded by Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper and Republican state Sen. Steve Dickerson, who last year promoted registration in Nashville high schools and saw an 85 percent bump.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville General Hospital is trying to keep a negative audit from being used to justify shutting down the facility. The Metro Hospital Authority has been fighting a proposal from Mayor Megan Barry to downsize the city's struggling safety-net hospital, and some board members are worried about how an audit might look to the casual observer.

Maddie McGarvey for NPR

Davidson County is marking a steep drop in infant sleep deaths. The number of infants who suffocated while sleeping dropped 29 percent in one year. So called "sleep-related deaths" dipped to 15 in 2016, representing one in five of all infant deaths.

courtesy TennCare

TennCare's 98-page renewal form is making it harder than necessary for low-income Tennesseans to maintain their subsidized government health coverage, according to the Tennessee Comptroller. After conducting an investigation requested by House Speaker Beth Harwell, the state agency has issued a memo suggesting a list of changes.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The resident physicians at Nashville General will have to find somewhere else to finish their training if the hospital is downsized to a collection of outpatient services. An announcement last month that relocated Meharry Medical College's third- and fourth-year students did not affect medical residents — but related changes at Nashville General would.

courtesy TBI

Forensic experts say they're alarmed by two drug combinations that recently showed up in the TBI crime lab. One is a mixture of fentanyl and methamphetamine. Another is cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority

The ousted chief of Nashville International Airport says his firing was a violation of the Family Medical Leave Act. He had been approved to take time off for a liver transplant but wasn't allowed to come back six weeks later.

Strong Inside Wallace Maraniss
Courtesy of Andrew Maraniss

A documentary about the Vanderbilt basketball star Perry Wallace, who integrated the Southeastern Conference, debuts Monday evening on campus. But the event has taken on a somber tone because Wallace died on Friday — just as his alma mater was marking the 50th anniversary of the breaking of a stubborn color barrier.

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