Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rural hospitals in S. Carolina are in jeopardy

Many of South Carolina's 30 rural hospitals, "once the heart of their communities, are struggling to find a niche in a health care system that values the complicated procedures offered at large hospitals much more than the basic and emergency services provided by rural hospitals," Joey Holleman reports for The State newspaper in Columbia.

In 2007-09, fewer than half the hospitals' beds were filled on an average day, and 10 of the 13 smallest lost money in those years, Holleman found, thanks to a study by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The hospitals' poster child, he writes, could be Bamberg County Hospital, which he uses as the story's main example. (Photo by Gerry Melendez, The State)

"Rural hospitals are caught in a vicious cycle," Holleman writes. "They don’t have the customer volume to help pay for new technology and facilities that might lure specialty physicians to rural areas. But without those specialists, the hospitals can’t perform the procedures that bring in the most money to pay for new technology and facilities." (Read more)

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