Rural hospitals are essential to the health of communities nationwide. Beyond providing care, they’re also economic engines, often the largest employer and a driver of additional businesses and jobs to communities.
But since 2010, 5% of rural hospitals have shut down, and the economic effects are immediate — a study found that when a community loses its hospital, per capita income falls 4% and the unemployment rate rises 1.6%.
A new Navigant analysis shows that this trend is likely to accelerate. According to the analysis:
21% of rural hospitals nationwide are at a high risk of closing unless their financial situations improve.
Of these hospitals, 64% are considered highly essential to their communities based on an analysis of trauma status, service to vulnerable populations, geographic isolation, and economic impact.
The situation is poised to worsen with an economic downturn looming, given that the country is in its longest period of economic expansion ever.
Scroll down for maps highlighting state-based results.