Can we prevent Rural Health Hospitals from disappearing?
By Ibby Smith Stofer Read More...
Growing up in a small rural community access to healthcare was and continues to be challenging for many Americans.
In fact, over 25% of America’s population lives in what is considered by the census bureau to be rural
America. However, less than 10% of US physicians practiced in these communities according to a 2010 report by the
Office of Rural Health Policy. The projection of physician shortages varies from each source but as of 2014 and
independent firm IHS forecasted numbers ranging from 46 to 90+ thousands. Shortages combined with the challenges of
life in rural areas such as the lack of spousal employment opportunities, schools and lack of social and other
desired community attractions make it difficult to project a bright future for our rural hospital systems. In fact,
between 2010 and 2016, 80 rural hospitals (including 27 critical access hospitals) have shuttered their doors. That
leaves many without essential access to inpatient, outpatient, and emergency medical services in their communities.