The Depth of the Problem
Rural and Critical Access Hospitals are at a very concerning crossroads. 60 million Americans (nearly 20% of the United States population) live in rural areas which depend on these facilities for acute care.
Since 2005 more than 170 of these rural hospitals have closed and more than a third of these have been designated as “Critical Access” (where they are the only acute care provider within a significant distance for the patients they serve).
Unfortunately the problem only seems to be worsening. 2019 was one of the worst years on record with19 of these facilities closing their doors. At this pace, acute care for 60 million Americans is at a significant risk of collapse unless swift and disciplined action is taken to preserve it.
In addition to difficult reimbursement and volume realities in a rural setting, Rural and Critical Access Hospitals experience significant challenges in recruiting professional talent to live and work in Rural America.