posted by AHIP
on September 17, 2019
There are numerous health-related challenges facing rural areas of the U.S., including geographic isolation, an aging population, and a shortage of providers and hospitals, especially as rural hospitals close at unprecedented rates.1 People living in rural communities experience higher rates of chronic conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and mental and behavioral health disorders in children, and residents are at higher risk of injury and complications from substance use disorder (SUD).
Unfortunately, access to care in rural regions is decreasing, as closures and mergers of rural hospitals are affecting millions of Americans across all states and regions. Rural hospitals provide the primary access point to care for many of the 60 million people living in rural communities, and the rate of closure – faster than at any other time – raises great concerns for rural residents, even triggering a Congressional hearing in March 2019.