Over the past six years, 76 rural hospitals have closed in America. That’s one and a half per state. That’s left many rural residents without recourse if they’re injured or become seriously ill.
And, as The Rural Blog reports, the future doesn't look much brighter for the rural hospitals that are still functioning. Many are struggling to make ends meet. Thirteen percent of rural hospitals are currently at risk of closing. Many of the rural closings have come in states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
A recent report in Fierce Healthcare says the situation is so dire that it “raises questions about the viability of rural health care as a whole.” This isn’t just a concern because the 62 million Americans who live in the rural U.S. need access to doctors. The closings also hurt rural economies, because these hospitals are often the largest employer in a region.