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Financially Fragile Hospitals: Mergers and Closures

Rural hospitals serve as major sources of health care and employment for their communities, but recently they have been under increased financial stress. Although hospital closures are nothing new, the recent pace is unprecedented; the National Rural Health Association has reported that the number of rural hospital closures in the past year was more than in the previous 15 years combined. This article examines why the number of rural hospital closures is accelerating and the effect on communities.