Since 2005, more than 100 rural hospitals have closed and
more are at risk. Rural hospital closures jeopardize
access to emergency services in the affected communities.
As communities react to and/or prepare for closures,
providers and policy makers seek a viable alternative for
emergency services provided in a rural hospital setting.
A rural freestanding emergency department (RFED) is one
potential model for providing emergency services in areas
where hospitals have closed. To inform the current policy
discussion around RFEDs, The North Carolina Rural Health
Research Program's Findings Brief, Estimated Costs of
Rural Freestanding Emergency Departments explains the
concept of an RFED and estimates the costs of operating
an RFED under three different volume scenarios.