17-34 Segment 1: Rural Hospitals in Trouble

 

Approximately 14% of Americans live in a rural area and require access to local hospitals, but many rural hospitals struggle to keep their doors open, citing such financial pressures as the upkeep of equipment and technology.

Dr. Carrie Henning-Smith, a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, says rural hospitals rely on government funding from programs like Medicare and Medicaid, however neither program cannot fully support the upkeep of buildings and the care of the patients. Although Medicare and Medicaid provide funding, 40% of rural hospitals still operate with a large loss.

Michael Topchik, Director of the Chartis Center for Rural Health, projects that if the current administration cuts Medicaid funding, 15 million recipients will lose health benefits. In addition, Medicaid cuts will drastically affect rural hospitals. Eighty rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and many more could be at risk in the years to come. Closing these rural hospitals would lead to a loss of 35,000 jobs and a $4 billion drag on domestic product. In addition, the residents of rural areas would have to travel long distances to get access to basic health care when they might need it most.

Guests:

  • Dr. Carrie Henning-Smith, Research Associate, University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center

  • Michael Topchik, Director, Chartis Center for Rural Health

  • Dr. Daniel Derksen, Director, University of Arizona Center for Rural Health

Links for more information:

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