Mendocino, Calif., lures vacationing tourists and retirees. But the lone hospital on this remote stretch of coast, in nearby Fort Bragg, is struggling financially. David McSpadden/Wikimedia hide caption

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One of the first signs drivers see on the way into Unionville, Mo. is this billboard advertising cardiology at Putnam County Memorial Hospital. Offering specialty services, like cardiology and psychiatry turned the hospital around, community leaders say. Bram Sable-Smith/KBIA/Side Effects Public Media hide caption

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Leo Thompson stands in front of his isolated home, where he has lived for 35 years, on the Navajo Nation reservation. Like an estimated 18,000 Navajos homes, his his isn't connected to the electrical grid — it's a half-mile from the nearest line — and until recently Thompson used a generator for power. Ibby Caputo for NPR hide caption

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In the documentary Remote Area Medical, a boy chooses a new pair of glasses after receiving an eye exam. Remote Area Medical/Courtesy of Cinedigm hide caption

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Something's missing in the small town of Jackman, Maine. They've have an electrician and some carpenters among their 800-odd residents, but no plumber — which can complicate things. Ruediger Wittmann/iStockphoto hide caption

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Chief Medical Resident Dr. Julia Vermylen (right) critiques interns during an "intern boot camp," held at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital in June. Stacy Thacker/AP hide caption

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Charlton Memorial Hospital closed in 2013, but it may now be able to offer some ER services thanks to a limited license Georgia is now offering to struggling rural hospitals. Susanna Capelouto hide caption

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The 2011 Asparagus Queen, Megan Roskan, and runner-up Christine Merten wave to spectators during an Independence Day parade in Whitehall, Mich. With interests waning in agricultural pageants, organizers are relaxing the requirements to encourage more people to apply. Courtesy of Phil Squattrito hide caption

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Pumpkins for sale at the Mt. Rogers Pumpkin Patch in the a parking lot in Centreville, Va. Paul J. Richards/Getty hide caption

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Dr. Dan Shuman (right), who was recruited to the Ashland Health Clinic as part of its mission-focused medicine program, consults with a patient about smoking cessation. Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media hide caption

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