Rural hospitals are the heartbeat of healthcare in America, serving nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population and ministering to the nation’s sickest and poorest patients. Not only do they provide vital care to a population with the highest rates of chronic disease, but they also support thousands of jobs and contribute to the economic lifeblood of many small towns and communities.
Financial and demographic pressures are threatening the existence of these cornerstone institutions, causing 83 rural hospitals to shut down over the past decade and hundreds more to fight to keep their doors open. Nearly 673 rural hospitals—about a third of those in operation—are in danger of closing, putting 11.7 million rural patients at risk of losing direct access to care, according to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).
Rural hospitals have always operated on thin margins, but recent cuts in Medicare funding, declining reimbursements from payers, and higher out-of-pocket costs for patients who struggle to pay their bills or put off treatment altogether have strapped them even more. 2017 marked the end of many hospital relief programs, and though legislators are working to pass more, rural hospitals must find new ways to survive and thrive in today’s changing healthcare landscape.
Despite the obstacles they face, rural providers can strengthen and sustain their organizations by tapping market-driven strategies and technologies that help them navigate value-based pressures, consumerism, and other industry challenges.
MEDHOST has been providing products and services to healthcare facilities of all types and sizes including rural health facilities for over 35 years. Today, more than 1,000 healthcare facilities are partnering with MEDHOST and are enhancing their patient care and operational excellence with our fully integrated clinical and financial solutions.
We offer solutions and engagement platforms that enable rural hospitals to enhance care, streamline facility management, and maximize patient volumes and profitability along with clinical and financial services that fit any budget and can be hosted. We also drive initiatives like chronic condition management, access to health and wellness content, and community engagement. Moreover, we strive to provide support that complements the efforts of internal hospital staff, freeing rural providers up to focus on the reason they exist: providing excellent care to patients who need it most.
As an NHRA partner, we are committed to helping these facilities improve the efficiency of the vital services they bring to their communities and develop new strategies to grow and evolve through challenging times.