A Look at Rural Hospital Closures and Implications for Access to Care: Three Case Studies
The number of rural hospital closures has increased significantly in recent years. This trend is expected to continue, raising questions about the impact the closures will have on rural communities’ access to health care services. To investigate the factors that contribute to rural hospital closures and the impact those closures have on access to health care in rural communities, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute conducted case studies of three hospital closures that took place in 2015: Mercy Hospital in Independence, Kansas; Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton, Kentucky; and Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville, South Carolina. Two of these hospitals were in states that did not adopt the Medicaid coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Kansas and South Carolina), while one of the hospitals was located in a Medicaid expansion state (Kentucky).