It is a precarious time for all health care providers given the continued effort to reduce spending and increase efficiency of care. Eighty rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and analysis has shown another 673 hospitals are vulnerable or at risk of closure.
Rural hospitals face inherent financial challenges that result from operating in sparsely populated areas. Low patient volumes primarily comprised of Medicaid, Medicare, dual-enrolled, and uninsured patients result in high levels of uncompensated care and bad debt.
Moreover, the cost of providing care in rural areas is relatively higher than in urban areas. Due to their size, rural hospitals cannot take advantage of economies of scale to reduce costs – giving them limited bargaining leverage. It is also difficult to recruit medical and administrative staff to rural areas due to inequities in the Hospital Wage Indexes and Geographic Practice Cost Index.
To better serve CAH Coalition members, we are consistently updating advocating for our members. Take a look at our current Coalition priorities.