Rural residents struggle to get emergency care after hospital closures

Americans living in rural communities are struggling to access emergency care after a slew of hospital closures, according to a joint report from NPR and Kaiser Health News.

Over 100 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. After each closure, local emergency workers must navigate shrinking city budgets and uncertainty about where to take patients.

These changes often translate into longer response times and longer ambulance rides for patients. A 2019 study found rural patients spent 14.2 minutes in an ambulance before a hospital closed and 25.1 minutes after the closure. Such delays can mean the difference between life and death.

Rural communities increasingly rely on air ambulance companies to transport patients to healthcare facilities in other towns. Air ambulances pose several potential problems, however. They are far less regulated than traditional ambulances, since they are not required to respond to emergency calls, publicly report their responses or explain why the team declined a flight. The air ambulance companies also charge tens of thousands of dollars but rarely participate in insurance networks.

To view the full story, click here

More articles on patient flow:
Temple's hospital, medical school campus responds to nearby shooting, hours-long standoff
Active shooter situation prompts lockdown at Chicago VA hospital
FAA investigates whether air ambulance pilot fell asleep with patient onboard

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months