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

courtesy CPS

A Brentwood-based chain of pain clinics — whose former CEO was indicted earlier this year — is also part of an ongoing federal investigation, according to court transcripts obtained by The Tennessean. The revelation partially explains why Comprehensive Pain Specialists abruptly shut down most locations this summer.

The Tri-Cities in Northeast Tennessee have the country's highest rates of pre-existing conditions, according to an analysis of metro areas by the Kaiser Family Foundation. More than four-in-ten adults — 41 percent — have a condition that could have precluded them from buying health insurance prior to the Affordable Care Act.

Chas Sisk / WPLN (File photo)

An effort to defund Planned Parenthood in Tennessee will also cut off Medicaid reimbursements to other health care providers in the state. The federal government has begun reviewing the new restriction and started taking public comments on Friday.

Screenshot of Republican Convention / TN Photo Services

In public appearances and small campaign gatherings, former Governor Phil Bredesen and Congressman Marsha Blackburn have been offering a few competing ideas for dealing with the opioid crisis.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

A hospital in Murfreesboro has launched a special unit meant to relieve overcrowding in the emergency room, which has grown busier as Rutherford County's population booms. It's a model that's a middle ground for patients who need to see a doctor quickly but don't necessarily need to be admitted to the hospital.

Nils Wommelsdorf / via Flickr

Fentanyl has quickly surged to become a leading killer drug in Tennessee, spiking 70 percent between 2016 and 2017. That's according to new overdose statistics put out by the Health Department this week.

Public health officials are redoubling their warnings.

John Ingram Martha Ingram
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN (File photo)

The Metro Council advanced the ordinances required to build a new stadium for a Major League Soccer team Tuesday night and abandoned efforts to put the project up for a vote as a ballot initiative.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Dozens of zebra finches are learning to sing inside makeshift recording booths in a Vanderbilt lab. Adult and baby birds are paired up to live together, and some have more difficult living conditions than others. The idea is to study how struggling for survival can impair the learning process and how to get around it.

Courtesy of Debbie Martens

Last year set another record for overdose deaths in Tennessee. The state's health department released the latest figures Monday that showed 1,776 fatal overdoses in 2017.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

A small slice of the money Tennessee dedicated to the opioid crisis this year is going to a social network developed by a Nashville startup. It's an app designed for people in recovery.