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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Bloomberg / via Getty Images

The largest insurer in Tennessee has announced it will no longer cover prescriptions for what was once a blockbuster pain reliever.

It's the latest insurance company to turn against OxyContin, whose maker — Purdue Pharma — faces dozens of lawsuits related to its high-pressure sales tactics around the country and contribution to the opioid crisis. Last fall, Cigna and BlueCross BlueShield of Florida both dropped coverage of the drug.

davidd / via Flickr

An annual report tracking obesity rates state-by-state finds Tennessee to be a little bit thinner than the previous year, especially compared to other southern states.

Tennessee fell several positions to having the 15th-highest obesity rate in the nation.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Physicians who seem to be over-prescribing painkillers or working with addicted patients may now get a tap on the shoulder from a Nashville startup working on behalf of insurors. The company uses sophisticated algorithms to identify problem patients and providers. But since this is such a delicate issue with doctors, they've hired a pharmacist to initiate those chats who — herself — is in recovery from opioid abuse.

Metro General Hospital
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Auditors are chiding Nashville General Hospital for lax use of credit cards, racking up $400,000 in charges over two years without much documentation to support the spending. The findings are part of a broader audit, monitoring progress in the cash-strapped hospital paying its bills on time.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville health officials say it's time to take the city's temperature. They're launching a county-wide survey of more than 12,000 residents to get a baseline view of health-related behaviors, chronic conditions and preventative health care practices.

Emily Siner / WPLN

A troubled chain of pain clinics — reportedly treating tens of thousands of Tennesseans a month — has blamed its sudden closure on tighter regulations.

But Comprehensive Pain Specialists had a hand in shaping the state's pain clinic laws. And the company, which is under federal investigation, has been quietly co-owned by a current state lawmaker from Nashville. 

TN Photo Services

Tennessee's top Republicans are watching a lawsuit meant to strike down the Affordable Care Act with mixed emotions. Tennessee is one of 20 states that joined the litigation led by Texas. The first oral arguments occur in a Fort Worth courtroom today.

But the legal argument justifying another court challenge to the ACA is "as far-fetched as any I've ever heard," Senator Lamar Alexander said in June.

istock

Wednesday is looking like yet another pivotal day in the life-or-death saga that has marked the history of the Affordable Care Act.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

A panel of doctors met for the first time last week with a single mandate: Decide how to punish physicians who prescribe too many opioids. 

courtesy TriStar

TriStar Centennial is trying to be more accommodating for kids on the autism spectrum. It's part of a national trend in children's hospitals to be more 'sensory-friendly' given the increasing prevalence of spectrum disorders.

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