Research / Rural Development


Policy Analysis | November 2019

Federal Analysis: Rural Health Agenda

Nick Bowman, Research and Publications Associate

Rural hospitals have struggled to remain solvent in recent years. Since January 2010, 81 rural hospitals have closed in the SLC region. State and federal policy makers are working to mitigate this trend and promote the work of rural hospitals.* At the federal level, the recently introduced Rural Health Agenda offers potential assistance for rural hospitals and residents.

On July 31, 2019, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN) introduced the Rural Health Agenda in the Senate to support the provision of rural healthcare. The agenda includes the Rural America Health Corps Act, Telehealth Across State Lines Act of 2019 and Rural Health Innovation Act of 2019. The three bills were each read twice and referred to the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

On October 29, 2019, U.S. Representative Phil Roe (TN) introduced companion bills for the Rural America Health Corps Act and Telehealth Across State Lines Act of 2019 in the House of Representatives. Both bills were referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; the latter was also referred to the Ways and Means Committee. That same day, U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN) introduced a companion bill for the Rural Health Innovation Act of 2019, which was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The information provided is a summary of the three bills comprising the Rural Health Agenda. As the bills are in committee, they are subject to change. All information is current as of November 19, 2019.

Rural America Health Corps Act

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Response for Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow:

"I suspect many legislators, including myself, avoid healthcare issues because of their complexity. This research makes it feel more manageable. Wow, just wow! That was an amazing undertaking on the part of the SLC. Thanks for your hard work."

SLC Regional Resource | November 2019

Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Nick Bowman

With decreasing rural populations and changing federal regulations, many rural hospitals have struggled to maintain financial viability in recent years. In 2017, 6,210 total hospitals operated in the United States; 2,250, of these are rural hospitals. Nationally, 113 rural hospitals have closed since January 2010. Furthermore, the rate of rural hospital closures from 2013 to 2017 was twice as high as the rate of the previous five years. In January 2010, SLC member states had approximately 831 rural hospitals. Since then, 81 rural hospitals (9.7 percent) in the South have closed.

This SLC Regional Resource examines the unique circumstances facing rural hospitals and communities today, including healthcare regulations and recent federal actions aimed at directing greater financial support toward rural healthcare providers, followed by a review of legislation adopted in the 15 SLC member states addressing rural health, rural hospitals and their challenges.


Policy Analysis | April 2019

Federal Legislation on Rural Hospitals

Nick Bowman, Research and Publications Associate

Introduction

In 2016, approximately 62 million Americans, nearly one-fifth of the total population, lived in rural areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2017, there were 1,875 rural community hospitals and 1,971 rural hospitals in the United States, 1 per the American Hospital Association (AHA). With decreasing patient volumes and increasing regulations, many rural hospitals have struggled to maintain financial viability in recent years.

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2019-2020
Acting Chair

Senator
Casey Murdock

Oklahoma

Immediate
Past Chair

Senator
Daniel B. Verdin III

South Carolina

Committee
Liaison
Anne Roberts Brody

Anne
Roberts Brody

Policy and Program Manager


Originally formed in 1961, the SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee’s agenda focuses on issues critical to the future of farming and farm communities, such as the distribution of water and other natural resources – critical for the agricultural sector – and new opportunities for the export of agricultural commodities to international markets. Several reports prepared by the committee have measured the economic impact of agricultural sector, often considered the “engine of the economy” in most Southern states. The committee's work also centers on the continued development of rural communities, highlighting access to healthcare and transportation; integration with the global economy; the many differences and surprising similarities between rural and urban America; and how to begin to bridge the infrastructure challenges that divide these communities.

More SLC Research into Rural Development


SLC Special Series Report | May 2017

Blown Away: Wind Energy in Southern States (Part 1)

Policy Analysis | February 2014

The "Black Belt"

SLC Regional Resource | January 2009

Capital Access in the Black Belt

SLC Regional Resource | January 2006

State Rural Initiatives: Where the Money Comes From

SLC Regional Resource | July 2005

Rural Centers in the South

SLC Regional Resource | December 2003

A Rural Policy for the 21st Century