Rural hospital closures remain a worrisome issue for policy makers and communities. Since 2005, 170 rural hospitals closed. The North Carolina Rural Health Research Program and Policy Analysis Center tracks these closures and studies potential predictors. Profitability (revenue greater than expenses) is not the only predictor, but it is one of the main predictors of hospital closure.
Researchers and policy makers are trying to better understand what leads up to a closure and how to develop sustainable health care models for communities who lose their hospital services. The intent of this infographic, Understanding the Broader Context of Rural Hospitals and Profitability, is to quantify rural hospital profitability in the broader context of all hospitals. Many rural hospitals qualify for special payment adjustments in recognition of the challenges they face in serving low-volume, geographically isolated communities that are heavily reliant on public insurance coverage (i.e., Medicare and Medicaid). These payment adjustments often receive significant attention from policy makers, researchers and analysts without necessarily having the broader context.
Other briefs in this series include: