Cheat Sheet

The Dire State of Rural Health Care

    Written by Darby Sullivan and Madeline Chaillet

    Key takeaways

    • Rural residents on average are older, experience elevated clinical challenges, and are less able to access and afford care.
    • Rural patients of color experience even more acute health inequities, with few social safety net programs to alleviate social determinants of health.
    • Rural hospitals are increasingly shuttering, while nearly half of remaining hospitals operate in the red, threatening the livelihood of their surrounding communities.

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    Sources

    “Chronic Disease in Rural America,” Rural Health Information Hub; “Understanding the Impact of Suicide in Rural America,” National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, December 2017; Coburn, Albert et al, “Behavioral Health in Rural America: Challenges and Opportunities,” Rural Policy Research Institute, December 2019; “Rural Americans at Higher Risk of Death from Five Leading Causes,” CDC, January 2017; Smith, Amy and Trevelyn, Edward, “The Older Population in Rural America, 2012- 2016,” Census Bureau, September 2019; “Rural Health in America: How Shifting Populations Leave People Behind,” NIHCM, March 2020; Advisory Board interviews and analysis.

    Day, Jennifer, “Health Insurance in Rural America,” Census Bureau, April 2019; Coburn, Albert et al, “Behavioral Health in Rural America: Challenges and Opportunities,” Rural Policy Research Institute, December 2019; Parker, Kim et al., “Views of Problems Facing Urban, Suburban, and Rural Communities,” Pew Research Center, May 2018; “Rural Health in America: How Shifting Populations Leave People Behind,” NIHCM; Advisory Board interviews and analysis.

    “Social and Economic Factors,” County Health Rankings; Hester, Jessica; “Rural America is Hungry,” CityLab, May 2017; Bittle, Jake, “The ‘Hidden’ Crisis of Rural Homelessness,” The Nation, May 2019; Meehan, Mary, “Unsheltered and Uncounted: Rural America’s Hidden Homelessness,” NPR, July 2019; Probst, Janice and Ajimal, Fozia, “Social Determinants of Health among Rural American Indian and Alaskan Native Populations,” Rural and Minority Health Research Center, July 2019; Probst, Janice and Ajimal, Fozia, “Social Determinants of Health among the Rural African American Populations,” Rural and Minority Health Research Center, July 2019; Advisory Board interviews and analysis.

    Kacik, Alex, “Rural Hospitals’ Margins Erode, Sparking Financial Instability,” Modern Healthcare, February 2020; Mathema, Silve et al., “Revival and Opportunity,” Center for American Progress, September 2018; Tribble, Sarah, “Without Price Breaks, Rural Hospitals Struggle to Stock Costly, Lifesaving Drugs,” Kaiser Health News, September 2017; “126 Rural Hospitals Closed,” Stroudwater Associates, March 2020; Advisory Board interviews and analysis.

    “Rural Hospitals,” Rural Health Care Information Hub; “Community Vitality and Rural Healthcare,” Rural Health Care Information Hub; Kacik, Alex, “Rural Hospitals’ Margins Erode, Sparking Financial Instability,” Modern Healthcare, February 2020; Advisory Board interviews and analysis.

    Advisory Board interviews and analysis.

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