ST. LOUIS — Twenty of 57 rural hospitals in Missouri, or 35%, are at risk of closing, a nonprofit said, citing losses on patient services and low financial reserves.
Two of the Missouri hospitals are at immediate risk of closing, said the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform, a Pittsburgh nonprofit that seeks to provide information and assistance on payment and delivery reform. Rural hospitals at immediate risk of closure have inadequate revenue to cover expenses and very low financial reserves, it said.
The nonprofit's president and CEO, Harold Miller, said it doesn't release the names of individual hospitals included in its "at risk" counts, since the data used usually are a year or two old, "and we wouldn't want to label an individual hospital as being at risk of closing if it has already taken (or is taking) actions that will significantly improve their circumstances, nor would we want to label a hospital as 'not at risk' at the same time they are trying to solve a new financial crisis."
The nonprofit said more than 150 rural hospitals across the country closed between 2005 and 2019, with an additional 19 rural hospitals closing in 2020.
"Those closures were not caused by the pandemic, but by losses on patient services in previous years," it said.
Six more closed nationwide in 2021 and 2022, and "the number was smaller than in previous years because of the special financial assistance hospitals received during the pandemic," it said. "The expiration of that aid will increase the risk of closures."
States with a bigger percentage of rural hospitals at risk of closing include Alabama (60%); Arkansas (46%); Connecticut (67%); Florida (38%); Hawaii (75%); Kansas (53%); Maine (36%); Mississippi (54%); New York (41%); Oklahoma (46%); Tennessee (44%); and Texas (50%).
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