Since 2010, Tennessee has had the highest number and rate of rural hospital closures in America. There are a number of factors that helped raise that tide, from the state's refusal to expand Medicaid to for-profit business models that make health care in small populations hard to sustain. And once those hospitals close, people are left without close access to medical care and communities lost a major economic engine.
In this edition of HealthConnections, Dr. Carole Myers explores the factors behind rural hospital closures, why she thinks the trend is going to get worse, and what the state could do to blunt the trend.
Heard in today's discussion:
Tennessee Health Care Campaign report, "The Ambulance is Our Emergency Room: The Voices of Rural Tennessee"
Sycamore Institute's Health Care Capacity Dashboard
Kaiser Family Foundation's fact sheet on Medicaid expansion in Tennessee