Rural Health Research Center Finds Continued Declines in Maternity Care in Rural U.S. Counties

A new HRSA-funded University of Minnesota (UMN) study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) finds that rural U.S. counties continue to see declines in hospital-based obstetrics services. Updated data from 2014-2018 shows that an additional 5.7% of rural counties lost obstetric services, on top of the 52.9% of counties that already lacked them.

While UMN pointed to the ongoing trend of losing services as a concern, they also highlighted examples of rural communities successfully supporting births locally. One case study in rural Iowa identified continuity of care and specialized nursing staff as key factors that have enabled their success.

Read the study (PDF – 1.2 MB).