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CLOSURE: Why do rural hospitals close?

Characteristics of 42 rural hospitals that closed between 2010 and 2014 were compared to hospitals that remained open in this study out of the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.

Rural hospitals that closed

  • Were in worse shape financially – lower margin, fewer days cash on hand, higher debt levels
  • Had a higher Medicare patient mix
  • Had lower utilization rates
  • Had lower volume in key services – surgery, outpatient services, and obstetrics
  • Had fewer employees

The researchers also took a look at critical access hospitals that closed compared to other rural hospitals that closed.

Source: Kaufman, B.G., Thomas, S.R., Randolph, R.K., and others. (2016, Winter). The rising rate of rural hospital closures. The Journal of Rural Health, 32(1), 35-43.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jrh.12128/pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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