America’s Health Care Deserts

When debt mounted to over $1 million at the 15-bed Fairfax Community Hospital in Oklahoma, the local mainstay managed to stay open because staff—many who were born or gave birth there—worked for free.

They narrowly averted the fate of over 100 rural hospitals that have shuttered after running out of money. The closures have turned these areas into so-called “health hazard zones.”

But as funds dry up, demand for services is growing. Emergency room visits to rural hospitals have climbed over 60% in the past decade. But margins are tightening at these facilities, which treat an outsize number of older and uninsured patients.

The Washington Post

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