Rural Hospitals' Ability to Finance Inpatient, Skilled Nursing, and Home Health Care


Surveys 448 rural hospitals to see how they are restructuring in light of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Among its findings: the most popular strategy for small rural hospitals is to convert to Critical Access Hospital status-35 percent of those surveyed have done so; despite the closing of some facilities, the vast majority of rural patients still have access to one or more skilled nursing facilities and one or more home health agencies; and to help preserve access to care, policy makers should consider paying a portion of the bad debt and charity care expenses that Critical Access Hospitals incur when treating non-Medicare patients.

University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Jeffrey Stensland, Ira Moscovice