A health epidemic that you might not hear enough about: Rural hospitals in America are closing at alarming rates. Here's a roundup of some recent stories in the news.

The (Not So) New Health Care Crisis: Rural Hospital Closing

A health epidemic that you might not hear enough about: Rural hospitals in America are closing at alarming rates. Here’s a roundup of some recent stories in the news:

Washington Post: “More than 100 of the country‚Äôs remote hospitals have gone broke and then closed in the past decade, turning some of the most impoverished parts of the United States into what experts now call ‘health-hazard zones.'”

Modern Healthcare: “Nearly a quarter of rural hospitals are on the brink of closure.” The post continues: “More than a fifth of the nation’s rural hospitals are near insolvency, according to a new report.”

“Twenty-one percent of rural hospitals are at high risk of closing, according to Navigant’s analysis of CMS data on 2,045 rural hospitals. That equates to 430 hospitals across 43 states that employ about 150,000 people and generate about $21.2 billion in total patient revenue a year.”

“Hospitals are often the economic drivers of rural communities. Per capita income falls 4% and the unemployment rate rises 1.6 percentage points when a hospital closes, a related study found. Ninety-seven rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to the University of North Carolina Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research.”

Becker’s Hospital Review provides a state-by-state breakdown of 102 rural hospital closures: “Of the 27 states that have seen at least one rural hospital close since 2010, those with the most closures are located in the South, according to research from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.”

“Seventeen hospitals in Texas have closed since 2010, the most of any state. Tennessee has seen the second-most closures, with 10 hospitals closing since 2010. In third place is Georgia with seven closures.”

New York Times: “A Sense of Alarm as Rural Hospitals Keep Closing: The potential health and economic consequences of a trend associated with states that have turned down Medicaid expansion.”

NPR: “The Struggle To Hire And Keep Doctors In Rural Areas Means Patients Go Without Care.” The post continues: “A new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that one out of every four people living in rural areas said they couldn’t get the health care they needed recently. And about a quarter of those said the reason was that their health care location was too far or difficult to get to.”

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