65% of rural hospitals confident they will not merge with larger group, report says

Despite the issues facing rural healthcare providers,  65 percent of rural hospitals are confident that they will not merge with a larger organization in the next five years, according to a new report from accounting firm Wipfli.

Additionally, 75 percent of hospitals are projecting revenue growth or  flat revenue over the next three years. However, nearly 90 percent of respondents still reported a worker shortage, according to a Feb. 2 Wipfli news release.

The results were based on a survey of 110 rural healthcare organizations across 25 states.

"Rural healthcare organizations are notably prioritizing talent and patient experience to address the staffing crisis," Kelly Arduino, healthcare industry leader at Wipfli, said. "Our research shows that technology strategies and digital transformation plans for the next five years will be crucial to making informed decisions. Only 12 percent of physicians practice in rural communities, where 20 percent of the U.S. population lives."

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