Friday, October 23, 2015

Study says 283 rural hospitals in danger of shuttering; closings could cost 86,000 rural jobs

Already 50 rural hospitals have closed this decade, and another 283 are in danger of closing, says a report from iVantage Health Analytics. The report found that if these hospitals close, "700,000 Medicare patients would have to seek care farther from home, 86,000 jobs could be lost in rural communities and it would result in an estimated $10.6 billion loss to the gross domestic product." The main reasons for rural hospital vulnerability are failure to expand Medicaid under federal health reform and reimbursement cuts as a result of sequestration.

Researchers, who analyzed 2,224 rural hospitals, found that among states that didn't expand Medicaid, Mississippi had the highest percentage of at-risk hospitals, at 33.8 percent. That was followed by Louisiana (28.1 percent), Texas (27.5), Tennessee (26.8), Georgia (24.3), Florida (21.9), Alabama (20.9) and Oklahoma (20.5). Among states that did expand Medicaid, Arizona had the highest percentage of at-risk hospitals at 27.5 percent, followed by California (19.6), West Virginia (18.2) and Hawaii (15.4). Eleven states—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Alaska, Utah and Wyoming—have no rural hospitals at risk of closing, according to the report. (iVantage map)

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