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Rural Hospital Closures at Hit to Patient Care Access, Outcomes

 – In areas that saw rural hospital closures, the median travel distance increased by about 20 miles between 2012 and 2018, a key hit to patient care access during a period marked by rampant closures, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Areas with high rates of rural hospital closures also saw fewer healthcare providers per 100,000, poorer health outcomes among the Medicare fee-for-service population, and more financial distress for the organizations that managed to remain open, the report added.

Over the past decade, the United States has seen high rates of both hospital consolidation and hospital closures, something that is more common in rural areas than urban ones.

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