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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Shalina Chatlani / WPLN

The for-profit hospital industry based in Nashville finds itself among the most expensive health care systems in the country. That's according to a new study from the RAND Corporation, though the hospital companies quibble with the conclusions.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville's newest historical marker, scheduled to be unveiled Friday, explains the name behind the city's oldest nonprofit health clinic. Matthew Walker was a surgeon at Meharry Medical College who helped launch the center late in his career.

TN Photo Services


China shocked officials around the globe this month when it acted to restrict the production of fentanyl in clandestine labs. The synthetic drugs are blamed for much of the rise in deadly overdoses in the U.S., and the crackdown in China is partially the result of prodding from Senator Lamar Alexander.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville's public health department will start making home visits to mothers in ZIP codes with high rates of infant mortality.

The program, announced Tuesday, is being supported by roughly $1 million a year from the federal government.

Lincoln Health System

Many rural hospitals across Tennessee are about to get some outside advice on how to restructure.

The state has launched a program to help rural hospitals hire outside consultants, after approving $1 million a year as part of the Rural Hospital Transformation Act.

courtesy Mission Health

The nation's largest hospital company sees more opportunities for expansion as many institutions struggle to break even. Nashville-based HCA reported its first quarter earnings Tuesday and maintained its multi-year growth streak.

courtesy Meharry archives

WPLN's Curious Nashville project elicits many inquiries about the origins of street names. After multiple questions about Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Boulevard, it's time to tell the story of one of the most promising surgeons to ever teach at Meharry Medical College.

We still don't know how seven victims in Sumner County died over the weekend. But law enforcement used words like "gruesome," so the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is worried about the mental health of first responders.

courtesy Kaiser Health News

Tennessee is angling to be the first state to switch its Medicaid program to a "block grant," a lump sum to provide health care to those with low income. 

But it's a tradeoff. The state would get wide latitude to run its Medicaid program as it sees fit, but it would also shoulder new risk.

courtesy VUMC

The agency that oversees organ transplants is delaying a policy opposed by academic medical centers in the South and Midwest. Schools like Vanderbilt University have opposed changes meant to distribute livers more equitably.