Healthcare Finance: Rural hospitals in trouble if Congress doesn’t renew funding programs, AHA says

EXCERPT: “Between 2010 and 2021, 136 rural hospitals closed, according to the UNC Cecil G. Sheps Center. Nineteen of these closures occurred in 2020, the most of any year in the past decade. That finding, one of several in a new report from the American Hospital Association, highlights the hardships under which rural hospitals have been operating, and represents a bid by the AHA to pressure Congress into renewing key funding programs that expire at the end of the month. Without those programs, the group said, a new wave of closures is likely. The majority of rural closures, 74%, happened in states where Medicaid expansion was not in place or had been in place for less than a year, the findings showed. And rural  hospitals face significant staffing shortages. Only 10% of physicians in the U.S. practice in rural areas despite rural populations accounting for 14% of the population. Nearly 70% of the primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) are located in rural or partially rural areas.” FULL STORY: