"To arrive at their findings, researchers focused on three financial indicators: profitability, uncompensated care and Medicaid shortfalls," Clay Chandler reports for The Clarion Ledger. "The nine hospitals the study identified as having the highest risk got to that point for several reasons, it said. Among them: the national recession that hit in 2008, population loss in rural areas, a reduction in disproportionate share payments under the Affordable Care Act that were not replaced when the (Republican Gov. Phil Bryant) did not expand Medicaid, rising cost of providing care, small size and lack of capital."
"To improve, the study offers a list of recommendations that include creation of freestanding emergency departments, integration of existing services, using hybrid delivery models that focus on preventive outpatient care and bolster primary care networks and the expansion of telehealth opportunities," Chandler writes. Researchers wrote: “The findings suggest that although rural hospitals in Mississippi face a host of challenges, there is also ample opportunity for hospitals to leverage a broad base of federal and state initiatives and self-help actions that ensure rural communities can meet the health needs of their local populations."