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.

Ways to Connect

Blake Farmer / WPLN

As Hurricane Dorian threatened the Florida coast, top officials at HCA spent Labor Day weekend wringing their hands, pulling all-nighters in a Nashville command center.

It almost didn't matter where the storm hits; HCA Healthcare's hospitals were going to be affected. With dozens of hospitals on Florida’s east and west coasts, the for-profit hospital chain is exposed every time a hurricane threatens the Sunshine State.

Kelstew / via Creative Commons

Each end of the iconic Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge in Williamson County now has a solar-powered emergency phone.

The boxes, installed by the National Park Service and unveiled Wednesday, are one of several planned safety features meant to stop frequent suicide attempts.

courtesy Purdue Complaint

Hundreds of cities, counties and states now feel the wind at their back as they sue the makers of opioids. The $572 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in Oklahoma was closely watched by plaintiffs around the country.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Tennessee’s largest recipient of opioids from 2006 to 2012 wants a recount. A federal database found a pharmacy in Murfreesboro owned by state Sen. Shane Reeves sold 46 million pills over six years. But the company now believes that figure is way off.

courtesy BCBST

Health insurance plans sold to individuals in Tennessee are dropping for a second year. State regulators have approved rate changes for 2020, and three of the five insurers are cutting their rates.

courtesy Metro Government

Nashville’s top public health official is leaving her post after just eight months on the job. Dr. Wendy Long will take over as CEO of the Tennessee Hospital Association in mid-October.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Meharry Medical College is under fire from some of its own students for accepting money from Juul to study vaping. Anti-smoking advocates held a town hall meeting on campus Wednesday night.

courtesy U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Air ambulance companies are fighting Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s effort to ban surprise billing. They argue that limiting what they charge would hurt access to lifesaving transportation in rural areas like Tennessee, where nearly a dozen outlying hospitals have closed in recent years.

Donn Jones Photography / courtesy Nashville Health Care Council

Community Health Systems and the company’s top executives face another shareholder lawsuit as the hospital chain’s stock price hits historic lows. This time, officials are accused of misleading investors with an accounting change.

courtesy Fred's / via Facebook

Memphis-based discount retailer Fred’s is closing many of its stores and pharmacies. And as the troubled chain downsizes, patients across the Southeast are scattering.