453 rural hospitals vulnerable to closure: 6 things to know

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) - Print  | 

More than 120 rural hospital have closed since 2010 and another 453 rural hospitals across the nation are vulnerable to closure, according to a report from The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

The Chartis Center for Rural Health and iVantage Health Analytics have been tracking rural hospital closures across the U.S. since 2010. Their analysis of a series of financial and operational metrics for closed rural hospitals revealed a rapid decline in performance in the year prior to shutting down. Informed by the findings, The Chartis Center and iVantage developed a regression model that identified nine variables of statistical significance in predicting the likelihood of closure.

Here are six findings from the report:

1. Across the U.S., 453 rural hospitals are considered "vulnerable" to closure based on performance levels.

2. Within the group of hospitals vulnerable to closure, 216 are considered "most vulnerable" and a second group of 237 hospitals are defined as "at risk."

3. Rural hospital vulnerability is greatest in the Southeast and lower Great Plains, which are two areas that have been hit the hardest by the rural hospital closure crisis.

4. In Tennessee, 52 percent of rural hospitals are performing at a level similar to the rural facilities that have closed in the past decade. Other states with high rates of vulnerability include Texas (51 percent), Alabama (38 percent) and Oklahoma (37 percent).  

5. Of the 216 hospitals most vulnerable to closure, 97 are critical access hospitals.

6. Seventy-five percent of the hospitals most vulnerable to closure are in states that have not expanded Medicaid.  

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