8 hospitals have closed so far this year — here's why

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) - Print  | 

From reimbursement landscape challenges to dwindling patient volumes, many factors lead hospitals to close.

Here are the factors that led eight hospitals to close so far this year:

1. Carrollton, Ala.-based Pickens County Medical Center closed March 6. Hospital leaders said the closure was attributable to the hospital's unsustainable financial position. A news release announcing the closure specifically cited reduced federal funding, lower reimbursement from commercial payers and declining patient visits.

2. The Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, a 12-bed hospital owned by physicians in Dayton, Ohio, closed March 5. The closure came after years of financial problems. In January 2019, the Medical Center at Elizabeth Place lost its certification as a hospital, meaning it couldn't bill Medicare or Medicaid for services. Sixty to 65 percent of the hospital's patients were covered through the federal programs.

3. Mayo Clinic Health System closed its hospital in Springfield, Minn., on March 1. Mayo announced plans in December to close the hospital and its clinics in Springfield and Lamberton, Minn. At that time, James Hebl, MD, regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System, said the facilities faced staffing challenges, dwindling patient volumes and other issues. The hospital in Springfield is one of eight hospitals within a less than 40-mile radius, which has led to declining readmissions and low use of the emergency department, Dr. Hebl said.

4. Central Hospital of Bowie (Texas) abruptly closed Feb. 4. Hospital officials said the facility was shut down to enable them to restructure the business. Hospital leaders voluntarily surrendered the license for Central Hospital of Bowie. 

5. Ellwood City (Pa.) Medical Center officially closed Jan. 31. The hospital was operating under a provisional license in November when the Pennsylvania Department of Health ordered it to suspend inpatient and emergency services due to serious violations, including failure to pay employees and the inability to offer surgical services. The hospital's owner, Americore Health, suspended all clinical services at Ellwood City Medical Center Dec. 10. At that time, hospital officials said they hoped to reopen the facility in January. Plans to reopen were halted Jan. 3 after the health department conducted an onsite inspection and determined the hospital "had not shown its suitability to resume providing any health care services."

6. Los Angeles-based St. Vincent Medical Center closed in January, roughly three weeks after El Segundo, Calif.-based Verity Health announced plans to shut down the 366-bed hospital. Verity, a nonprofit health system, shut down St. Vincent after a deal to sell four of its hospitals fell through.

7. Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima, Wash., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May and closed in January. When the hospital closed, 463 employees lost their jobs. Attorneys representing Astria Health said the closure of Astria Regional Medical Center, which has lost $40 million since 2017, puts Astria Health in a better financial position. "As a result of the closure … the rest of the system's cash flows will be sufficient to safely operate patient care operations and facilities and maintain administrative solvency of the estate," states a status report filed Jan. 20 with the bankruptcy court.

8. Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Mo., closed Jan. 15. Officials cited the need for costly repairs as the reason for the closure. Pinnacle Regional shut down about a month after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services inspected the hospital and cited it for sterile processing procedures. Hospital officials initially said they were working with the state to rectify the situation, but they ultimately decided to close the facility instead of making the repairs.

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