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July 31, 2021

Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law

Can Micro Hospitals Be Part of the Cure for Rural Health Care?

  • July 31, 2021
  • James Henry , Phelps Dunbar LLP

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the health care landscape. Regulations have been waived or eased, patient volumes dropped precipitously for providers and facilities, and the government stepped in and issued subsidy payments in an attempt to provide a lifeline. With health care being our most precious resource during the pandemic, the affects the pandemic has had on our health care system have been especially severe on rural health care. Rural hospitals have suffered for years from declining inpatient volumes, and the pandemic has exacerbated the decline. Elective surgeries, which are key to the financial viability of many hospitals, have been curtailed. Rural hospitals, which often operate with little to no margin, are ill-suited to survive such a downturn. When a rural hospital closes, the community loses its anchor for health care. This article will explore how micro hospitals can help restore or create access to health care in rural communities through flexible and intelligent design that addresses the majority of a community’s health care needs, create a locus for recruiting health care professionals, and how it can be accomplished in a financially sustainable model.

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