From Becker’s Healthcare
Out of 2,176 rural hospitals, 441 face three or more risk factors, putting them at risk of service reduction or closure, according to a May 4 Bipartisan Policy Center report.
Eight things to know:
- There were 116 rural hospital closures between 2010 and 2019.
- Federal relief over the past two years helped stabilize facilities and the pace of closures slowed.
- That assistance was temporary, however, and rural hospitals continue to struggle financially and have had difficulty recruit nurses and other healthcare employees.
- Financial risk factors rural hospitals face include negative total operating margin, negative operating margin on patient services alone, negative current net assets and negative total net assets.
- Rural hospital closures can significantly reduce access to healthcare services and also affect the availability of healthcare workers.
- The Bipartisan Policy Center recommends providing rural hospitals across-the-board Medicare spending reductions until two years after the federal COVID-19 public health emergency ends.
- It recommends permanently authorizing the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and making rural low-volume payment adjustments permanent.
- It recommends updating or rebasing Sole Community Hospital and Medicare Dependent Hospital payment structures to ensure reimbursements are in line with current costs.
Read the full report here.