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Why health care is still hard to access in rural towns near Texas’ bigger cities

Bigger cities like Lubbock can unintentionally suck health care resources and professionals from smaller towns, creating what one local expert calls the “doughnut effect.”

Main Street in downtown Ralls on Sept. 1, 2022.

Erin Gonzales works as a nurse practitioner at the Sudan Medical Clinic Monday, March. 6, 2023, in Muleshoe, Texas.
Cars pass through downtown Muleshoe, Texas, Monday, March. 6, 2023. (Justin Rex for The Texas Tribune)
Buildings sit vacant Monday, March. 6, 2023, in Muleshoe, Texas.
A truck passes a county road in Bailey Co. on March. 6, 2023.
A truck drives down Highway 84 towards Muleshoe. The town is closer to New Mexico than it is to Lubbock, the nearest city.

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