Rural hospitals’ margins erode, sparking financial instability

From Modern Healthcare:

More than 450 rural hospitals are financially unstable as operating margins decline, new research shows.

Of the 453 vulnerable rural hospitals, 237 are “at risk” and 216 are the least stable, according to an analysis from the Chartis Center for Rural Health that weighed case mix, ownership model, capital efficiency, occupancy and other factors. About 47% of the country’s 1,844 rural hospitals are operating in the red, up from 39% in 2015.

Rural hospitals in states that have not expanded Medicaid recorded a -0.3% median operating margin, compared to 0.8% for rural facilities in expansion states, according to the report. Providers in a Medicaid expansion state are 62% less likely to close.

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