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Crisis-hit US rural hospitals operating on the brink

“Unrelenting pressure” on the nation’s rural healthcare safety net means more hospital closures and many operating on the brink. That’s according to a new report by the Chartis Center for Rural Health. The center says hospitals have been in crisis mode for the last 15 years, but even in just the last 12 months, the situation has worsened further, with the percentage of America’s rural hospitals operating in the red jumping from 43% to 50% in that time.

Some of the report’s other key findings include:
Access to inpatient care continues to deteriorate, as 167 rural hospitals since 2010 have either closed or converted to a model that excludes inpatient care.

Between 2011 and 2021, 267 rural hospitals dropped OB services. This represents nearly 25% of America’s rural OB units.

Between 2014 and 2022, 382 rural hospitals have stopped providing chemotherapy services.

We get more details about what’s driving these trends from Michael Topchik, director of the Chartis Center for Rural Health. We’re also joined by Dr Lesley Ogden, the CEO of two Lincoln County hospitals: Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport. Oregon Public Broadcasting

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