13% of rural hospitals vulnerable to closure: 5 things to know

Nearly 60 rural hospitals across the nation have closed in the last 10 years, and many others are facing financial troubles that might send them down the same path.

Here are five things to know about the financial pressures rural hospitals face, according to a report from iVantage Health Analytics, a firm that compiles a hospital strength index that is based on data about financial stability, patients and quality indicators.

1. For the study, iVantage produced a strength index for 2,224 rural hospitals across the country and determined 283, or nearly 13 percent, were vulnerable to closure. The vulnerable hospitals are located across 39 states.

2. Although nearly all rural hospitals are feeling the squeeze, facilities in states that have not expanded Medicaid are under more financial pressure.

3. In expansion states, 8.5 percent of rural hospitals are vulnerable to closure, and that number is nearly doubled in nonexpansion states, where 16.5 percent of rural hospitals are vulnerable to closure.

4. Mississippi had the highest percentage of its hospitals at risk of closure, with 33.8 percent of its hospitals vulnerable to shutting down.

5. Several states evaluated for the iVantage study had zero hospitals at risk of closure, including Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Wyoming.

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