Senator Gary C. Peters (D-MI) https://www.peters.senate.gov Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on July 15, 2019 wrote a letter to Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) https://www.gao.gov requesting GAO to conduct a study into the impact of rural hospital closures on communities in the U.S.
Senator Peters wants GAO to do the study to better understand the impact of rural hospital closures on local residents and communities but would also like GAO to address the following questions:
- How many rural hospitals have closed in the past six years? Please provide the number and location of closures for each year from 2013 through the most recent year available
- What has been the impact of rural hospital closures on residents of rural areas, and which residents have been most impacted by these closures?
- How have rural hospital closures affected rural residents’ access to needed healthcare services, including inpatient and outpatient care? Please include information on access to ER care, primary care, and behavioral healthcare related to treating opioid addiction
- How many jobs have been lost due to rural hospital closures? In particular, how many people did rural hospitals employ, and how many full time positions did they offer in the years leading up to closure? Were there any patterns in rural hospital employment as hospitals near to closure?
- What is known about the financial health of the remaining rural hospitals?
Go to https://www.navigant.com/insights/healthcare/2019/rural-hospital-sustainability for more information on the high financial risk of closing.