Pandemic will force rural hospitals to consolidate, Oregon hospital CEO predicts

The CEO of Sky Lakes Medical Center, a rural hospital in Klamath Falls, Ore., sees little way around consolidation for some rural hospitals that have been pushed to the brink by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Rural hospitals were struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. For some, financial pressures brought by the pandemic have forced them to close. For others, cash shortages are making long-term operations unviable

Paul Stewart, CEO of Sky Lakes Medical Center, told Oregon Business that while his hospital will emerge from the pandemic financially stable and independent, that won't be the case for many rural hospitals.

"Many rural facilities will not be in that position," Mr. Stewart told Oregon Business, "and they will be forced to consolidate and merge with other organizations. While that is good for their viability, it will entail making decisions for that local community that the community may not like."

Read more here.

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