Alabama turns toward freestanding ERs as rural hospitals struggle to remain viable

Two new freestanding emergency rooms are coming to communities in Huntsville, Ala., and Decatur, Ala., as rural areas in the state turn toward freestanding emergency rooms, reported March 9.

The first freestanding hospital in the state opened in 2015 outside of Birmingham. Currently, the state has eight emergency rooms in Baldwin, Mobile, Jefferson, Shelby and Lee counties.

A recent report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform found that 31 percent of Alabama's rural hospitals were at immediate risk of closure.

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