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Rates of rural hospital closures have been increasing over the past decade. Closures will almost certainly restrict rural residents' access to important inpatient services, and they could also be related in important ways to the supply of physicians in the local health care system. We used data from the Area Health Resources Files for the period 1997-2016 to examine the relationship between rural hospital closures and the supply of physicians across different specialties in the years leading up to and after a closure. We observed significant annual reductions of up to 8.3 percent in the supply of general surgeons in the years leading up to a closure. We also found that rural hospital closures were associated with immediate and persistent decreases in the supply of surgical specialists and long-term decreases in the supply of physicians across multiple specialties-including an average annual 8.2 percent decrease in the supply of primary care physicians in the six years after a closure and beyond. This dynamic relationship could lead to reduced access to care for rural residents. Future policy efforts must focus on supporting and maintaining health care delivery models that do not depend on hospitals.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Health affairs (Project Hope)
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Hospitals located in a rural area.
The inhabitants of rural areas or of small towns classified as rural.
The status of health in rural populations.
A branch of nursing requiring generalist training with specialty knowledge in crisis assessment and management in all subdisciplines of nursing. Rural nursing practices often include geographical and social distance concepts in delivery of health care.
The physician's inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to the patient due to the physician's disability. Common causes include alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness, physical disability, and senility.
Surgery is a technology consisting of a physical intervention on tissues. All forms of surgery are considered invasive procedures; so-called "noninvasive surgery" usually refers to an excision that does not penetrate the structure being exci...