Analysis & Comment

Opinion | The Closing of Rural Hospitals

To the Editor:

“A Hospital Die-Off Hits Rural America Hard” (The Upshot, Oct. 30) encapsulated the continuing crisis. But one entity has been given unfettered power to keep these hospitals on the brink of closing. The private insurance market forces hospitals to jump through hoops to receive even 30 percent of the cost for services provided, and these hospitals are in no position to object.

Further, efforts to make up for such losses by innovating and creating new revenue streams have been met with strong pushback, including refusal to contract with facilities. These closings benefit those who seek to confine health care delivery to population centers.

Rural hospitals pay dividends enjoyed well beyond their communities. There is little doubt that if private insurance providers are not held accountable for their actions, we will witness the continued extinction of America’s rural communities.

Michael P. Murtha
Tallahassee, Fla.
The writer is president of the National Alliance of Rural Hospitals.

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