Healthcare Professionals: 3 Ways Rural Hospitals Are Critical To Small Communities

  • Healthcare Management - Medical Marketing
  • October 26, 2021

Rural hospitals provide crucial services to small communities. These hospitals offer healthcare services, health improvement, and employment.

Why Do Rural Hospitals Matter?

Rural hospitals are a crucial part of healthcare. In many small communities, the local hospital is the only place people can access any health services. Yet, studies have found that between January 2010 and March 2021, nearly 140 rural hospitals closed. Supporting rural hospitals is more important than ever. Consider these 3 reasons rural hospitals are critical to small communities.

viralmd healthcare marketing Healthcare Professionals 3 Ways Rural Hospitals Are Critical To Small Communities

1. Rural hospitals provide healthcare

In many parts of the country, rural hospitals provide critical healthcare services. By some estimates, about 57 million Americans rely on healthcare services from rural hospitals. In rural communities without a hospital, people must travel long distances for healthcare services, even in an emergency. Rural hospitals provide critical emergency services. Even when patients must eventually be transferred to another institution, rural hospitals are a crucial place for patient stabilization.

2. Rural hospitals provide jobs

In small communities, the hospital is often one of the biggest sources for employment. Some research has found that, on average, a rural hospital makes up about 14% of all employment opportunities in a community. Healthcare jobs often offer higher pay, better benefits packages, and more reliable schedules than other jobs in rural communities. Not only are rural hospitals vital to the healthcare system; rural hospitals are also vital to local economies.

3. Small communities stay healthier

Having a local hospital helps communities stay healthier. Rural hospitals conduct community health needs assessments. These assessments help community leaders better understand the issues that threaten the overall health of a community. Then, rural hospitals implement programs to better community health. For example, primary care services are crucial for chronic disease prevention. Many rural hospitals have formalized programs to decrease substance misuse or increase exercise participation. At the end of the day, rural hospitals improve community health in multiple ways.

How can we improve rural healthcare?

Rural hospitals have many areas of opportunity to maximize reimbursement, increase quality of care and lower costs. For example, many rural hospitals benefit significantly from offering telehealth services. Telehealth visits have the potential to significantly lower costs. Additionally, rural physicians can use telehealth options to connect with providers at larger institutions. This allows for high-level collaboration, even from afar.

Understanding the challenges of rural hospitals

Because rural hospitals often have low patient volume, budgets can be tight. Rural hospitals can also struggle to recruit and retain providers. But supporting rural hospitals is crucial for the health of small communities. Rural hospitals do more than provide medical services. These institutions also provide employment, work on disease prevention and increase overall community wellness.

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