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I came across an eye-opening article by Molly Gamble titled “25 States at Most Risk of Rural Hospital Closures” about the alarming rate of rural hospital closures. I wanted to share how this affects our neck of the woods—Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform (CHQPR) just released a report detailing the dire financial situation of rural hospitals, and the numbers are pretty concerning.

  • Arkansas is facing severe challenges. About 29% of our rural hospitals (14 hospitals) are at immediate risk of closure within the next 2-3 years. If we look further ahead, 53% (26 hospitals) might shut down in the next 6-7 years. These closures could leave many communities without essential healthcare services, making it even harder to get timely medical care.
  • Mississippi has similar issues. With 34% of its rural hospitals (25 hospitals) at immediate risk and 52% (38 hospitals) possibly closing in the next 6-7 years, it’s clear that the state’s healthcare infrastructure is in jeopardy. Rural Mississippians might find themselves traveling long distances for medical care, which is especially tough for those with chronic conditions or emergencies.
  • Tennessee also has its share of worries. Around 31% of rural hospitals (17 hospitals) could close in the next 2-3 years, and 35% (19 hospitals) are at risk over the next 6-7 years. These closures would mean nearly a third of Tennessee’s rural communities could soon lose their hospitals, putting a strain on patients and healthcare workers.

This situation is a wake-up call for all of us. Losing these hospitals isn’t just a healthcare issue—it’s a community issue.

For more detailed info, check out the full report,Rural Hospitals at Risk of Closing, from CHQPR and the article, “25 States at Most Risk of Rural Hospital Closures,” by Molly Gamble.

Postscript. When healthcare facilities close, the repercussions extend beyond the immediate impact on community healthcare. Consider the fate of the buildings, equipment, and real estate. Here’s an update on several closed facilities in Tennessee.