For well over a decade, rural hospitals have been in crisis. Since 2010, 141 hospitals in rural communities have closed. And although they’ve been struggling financially for years, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed them to the brink with a record 19 closures in 2020 alone.
And while pandemic-era federal aid stopped some of these rapid closures, much of that aid expired at the end of last year. The Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform estimates that more than 600 rural hospitals – or nearly 30% of all rural hospitals in the country – are at risk of closing in the near future.