Around 60 million Americans live in areas defined as “rural,” with local hospitals being the most viable option for care—assuming they can find one. That’s getting increasingly difficult, however, as illustrated in an article just published by Becker’s Hospital Review. Since 2011, 76 rural hospitals have shut down across the country, leaving too many patients in a precarious position when it comes to their healthcare. Texas leads the way with 15 closures, but 21 other states have lost at least one rural facility. Aside from the too-often over- (and sometimes deceptively) priced freestanding emergency rooms, primary care offices that close up shop at the end of the day are often the only hope for episodic care, and even then a patient may have to wait days or weeks. Urgent care is the obvious possible solution, as well as fertile ground for growth, as noted in an article currently in the JUCM archive, entitled Rural and Tertiary Markets: The Next Urgent Care Frontier.
Rural Hospital Are Shutting Down—Leaving Plenty of Slack for Urgent Care to Pick Up