The Rural Hospital Closure Crisis Continues

The UNC Sheps Center reports that two rural hospitals in Florida have closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and converted to off-campus emergency departments. Both Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center and Shands Starke Regional Medical Center were CAHs that were part of a sale and required to cease all non-emergency services by May 1st. Both are now operating as off-campus emergency departments of Lake City Medical Center and North Florida Regional Medical Center. The total number of rural hospital closures since 2010 is now 130, and 2020 is on-track to surpass last year’s record number of closures.