Opinion: 1 in 5 rural hospitals are at risk of imminent closure. Lawmakers could help some stay open

No political leader — at any level — should be surprised to learn of the possible demise of his or her local hospital. We need action now to save these…
In this 2015 photo, a sign at the emergency entrance of Pungo Hospital in Belhaven, N.C., announces the facility's closure. It has since been torn down. Source: Gerry Broome/AP

The decline of rural hospitals has been a slow-moving train wreck. It’s now accelerating.

Since 2010, nearly 100 rural hospitals have closed their doors. The closures have resulted in statistics like this — half of all rural counties lack an obstetrician — that make the United States sound like a third-world country. As bad as that may seem, things are likely to get much worse, and soon.

According to that I conducted with my colleagues at Navigant, 21 percent of rural hospitals nationwide are currently at high risk of imminent closure. It’s more than double that in

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT4 min readPolitics
Opinion: Economic Barriers To Organ Transplants From Living Donors Must Be Removed
Many people would willingly donate a kidney or part of the liver but can't afford to. It's time to reduce barriers — including economic ones — so anyone who wants…
STAT7 min read
Opinion: A Bird’s-eye View Of Clinical Trials Provides New Perspectives On Drug Research And Development
A data visualization that reveals the forests and the trees of new drug clinical trials can help open up new possibilities for shaping the drug development landscape to better serve…
STAT4 min read
How The Drug Industry Keeps Winning In Washington
D.C. Diagnosis is STAT’s weekly newsletter about the politics and policy of health and medicine. Sign up here to receive it in your inbox. What if I told you the Sen. Thom Tillis campaign account was graced with nearly $20,000 in personal donations f