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Hospital closures and the current healthcare climate: the future of rural hospitals in the USA

Submitted: 4 March 2016
Accepted: 7 April 2016
Published: 28 July 2016

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Author(s) : Balasubramanian S, Jones EC.

Citation: Balasubramanian S, Jones EC.  Hospital closures and the current healthcare climate: the future of rural hospitals in the USA. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2016; 16: 3935. Available: (Accessed 17 October 2017)


Hospital closures occur from time to time. These closures affect not only the patients that depend on the hospitals but also the economy in many rural areas. Many factors come into play when a hospital decides to shut off services. Although influencing reasons may vary, hospital closures are likely to be caused by financial shortfalls. In the USA recently, several rural hospitals have closed and many are on the verge of closing. The recent changes in the healthcare industry due to the new reforms are believed to have impacted certain small community and rural hospitals by putting them at risk of closure. In this article, we will discuss some of the highlights of the healthcare reforms and the events that followed, to relate how they may have affected the hospitals. We will also discuss what the future of these hospitals may look like and the necessary steps that the hospitals need to adopt to sustain themselves.

Key words: Affordable Care Act, hospital closures, Lean Six Sigma, Medicaid, Medicare, rural hospitals, USA.

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