As Coronavirus Spreads, NC Rural Health Care Providers Shoulder Unique, Outsized Burden

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As the coronavirus rages across the United States and rural health care providers brace for the impact of the pandemic among some of the most vulnerable, a new report released by Piedmont Rising highlights why so many rural hospitals in North Carolina struggle, why others have ultimately closed, and examines the continued impact of those closures on the community.

“As North Carolina’s rural health care providers face an extraordinary health crisis that threatens to drain their resources, we must ensure they receive the equipment, resources, and immediate federal relief they desperately need to remain financially viable,” said Casey Wilkinson, Piedmont Rising Executive Director. “When rural hospitals suffer, the entire community suffers. It’s never been more important for Senator Tillis and Senator Burr to consider every tool available to guarantee essential resources and affordable care for all North Carolina families, no matter where they live.”

KEY FINDINGS:

  • North Carolina has experienced more rural hospital closures than almost any other state in the country.
  • Only Texas, Tennessee and Georgia have had more rural hospitals close in the last 10 years. All, including North Carolina, are states that have refused Medicaid expansion.
  • In 2019, 19 hospital closures occurred in the United States  — more than any other year since 2005.
  • A lack of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina has had a direct, negative impact on rural health care providers due to the economic burden caused by uncompensated care costs.

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