Rural Hospitals Hang on as Pandemic Reaches Smaller Communities

July 24, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified July 27, 2020

This article by The Pew Charitable Trusts discusses while the COVID-19 pandemic battered large, metropolitan areas this spring, rural hospitals prepared to be next on the frontlines. But in order to ready their facilities for a potential surge in patients, those small hospitals had to forgo many of their most profitable operations. Months later, a few rural hospitals are fighting outbreaks. But others have empty beds, further threatening their viability in an era of shrinking health care options for people living in rural communities.

“When you add COVID, there’s no question that the targeted rural funding with the other CARES Act funding has helped, but we’ve not covered at this point the cost of lost revenue, nor the expenses associated with COVID,” said Dr. Donald Williamson, president and CEO of the Alabama Hospital Association.

Rural hospitals are buying N95 masks, gowns and other PPE that are being used with all patients regardless of COVID-19 status. The additional costs cut further into their already thin margins. Before the pandemic, 47% of rural providers operated in the red. So far this year, 12 rural hospitals have closed across the country, including four in April before they could benefit from federal support.  

Share this

Related Articles

                                Leave a Comment