According to the National Rural Health Association, a third of rural hospitals could shut down over the next decade. That has damaging implications for communities and patients of community health centers. Since iVantage Analytics released its report in February 2016 on the vulnerability of rural hospitals, another 16 rural hospitals have closed. This brings the total closed since 2010 to 82, and 122 since 2005 according to recent research conducted by the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program and funded by HHS’ Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
What are the implications of such closings on the patients served by community health centers? How have recent health care policies fueled or limited these closures? What policy approaches might reduce the impacts of rural hospital closings on vulnerable communities? This session will highlight lessons learned by a health center whose patients were impacted by the closure of a rural hospital and recommendations for minimizing impacts of such closings.