Many Rural Hospitals Remain at Risk Nationwide

August 20, 2015

PBS Newshour (Ollove , 8/20) reported that “there are approximately 2,300 rural hospitals in the U.S., most of them concentrated in the Midwest and the South.” Many are struggling, for a number of reasons—Congress has reduced Medicare spending, their patient populations tend to be older, and they see fewer patients—yet they “still have to maintain emergency rooms and beds for acute care. … Given the threats to the nation’s rural hospitals, many are eager to learn from any models that work.” For example, Northern Cochise Community Hospital in Arizona joined an alliance with Tucson Medical Center and other rural providers in southwestern Arizona to negotiate better prices on supplies and services. Pam Noland, the director of nursing at Northern Cochise said that “in medicine, distance lessens the chances of survival … stabilizing them here is the difference between life and death.”