7 recent rural hospital updates

Rural hospitals face a myriad of challenges and their financial situation has only gotten more difficult since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are seven recent rural hospital updates Becker's has reported on since Feb. 10:

  1. Twice-closed Bowie (Texas) Memorial Hospital is reopening as a freestanding emergency room. Rural hospitals around the country can become eligible for higher Medicare reimbursement rates if they focus on emergency care and remove other services.

  2. More rural hospitals are ending their maternity care services. From 2015 to 2019, at least 89 obstetric units at rural hospitals closed.

  3. A partnership between Atlanta-based Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Macon, Ga.-based Mercer University School of Medicine is creating a $200 million fund designed to improve pediatric care in rural Georgia.

  4. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that rural hospitals suffered worse margins in states that had not expanded Medicaid.

  5. More than a dozen of Alabama's 51 rural hospitals are at immediate risk of closure.

  6. Following a series of painful cuts, rural Craig, Colo.-based Memorial Regional Health was able to make it back from having zero cash on hand to nearly two months in reserves.

  7. With COVID-19 pandemic era relief coming to an end, a new report from healthcare advisory firm the Chartis Group showed that 43 percent of rural hospitals have negative operating margins. 

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