Some 63 million rural residents across the U.S. depend on their area hospital as their primary – and often only – source of accessible medical care. Yet a variety of factors have caused the closure of 136 rural hospitals from 2010 to 2021, with a record 19 closures in 2020 alone. Most reasons are economic. They include low reimbursement rates, staffing shortages, low patient volume and regulatory barriers, as well as the continued financial challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, expenses for labor, drugs, supplies and equipment have skyrocketed.
In this podcast Jeff Subler, president and CEO of Wayne HealthCare in Greenville, Ohio, discusses the unique challenges facing rural communities and rural hospitals, the impact closures have on the communities they serve, and the role Congress must play in extending programs such as the Low-volume Adjustment that support rural hospitals.