Friday, May 01, 2015

Study: Closing at-risk critical-access hospitals could cost 86,000 jobs in rural communities

Fifty rural hospitals have closed this decade, and 283 more are at risk of closure. This could lead to 700,000 Medicare patients having to seek care farther from home and the potential loss of 86,000 rural jobs, resulting in an estimated $10.6 billion loss to the Gross Domestic Product, says the 2015 Rural Relevance Under Healthcare Reform Study by iVantage Health Analytics and the National Rural Health Association.

"Critical Access Hospitals charge 71 percent less than their urban counterparts, while performance on quality, outcomes and patient satisfaction in rural hospitals is on par with urban hospitals," said a press release from researchers.
The study found that "policy changes concerning Medicare reimbursement pose a particular threat to the critical points-of-access that millions of rural Americans depend upon for their healthcare needs. Sequestration, charity care/bad-debt reimbursement cuts, disproportionate share payment cuts and the uneven adoption of Medicaid expansion under the ACA (intended to address some of these cuts) has led to significant downward pressure on rural hospital margins that may be dangerously underwater."

The study also includes iVantage's list of the top 100 critical access hospitals. For a complete list, click here

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