fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

Standing up for Rural Hospitals

May 19, 2017 | Chip Kahn

Category: FAH News, Quality, Rural

Temperatures are heating up, classes are winding down and the Memorial Day Weekend is almost here – all sure signs that summer is almost here. The auto club AAA estimates that over the next few days nearly 40 million people will get away to the beach, the lake or the mountains looking to cool off and relax!

You may be miles away from the city, but you can rest easy knowing quality care is still nearby. Rural hospitals are there to take care of visitors and locals – 24/7/365.

We at the Federation of American Hospitals think this is the perfect time to celebrate Rural Hospitals Week. From May 22nd to May 26th we will be highlighting the positive impact these facilities have – not just for the patients they care for, but also the communities they serve.

When you hear rural community you think small town, but add up the population of these areas across the country and it equals nearly 60 million people, or one in five Americans.

At the heart of many of those communities is the local hospital.

The most obvious benefit they provide is also the most vital: timely, quality care. Whether you need emergency treatment or have a scheduled routine procedure, the presence of a hospital in these community saves lives. When seconds matter most, having essential health care minutes away, instead of hours, can mean the difference between life and death.

But the impact to a community extends far beyond medical capabilities. In many rural areas the hospital is the largest or second largest employer in the area. It also contributes to job creation throughout a community. A recent study by the American Medical Association said that “each physician supports almost 14 jobs and adds more than $2 million in economic input, on average.” Those aren’t just jobs in the hospital or doctor’s office, they include restaurants, dry cleaners and day cares. I bet you would be hard pressed to find a business in a rural area that isn’t touched in some way by those who work for or get treatment at one of these facilities.

Rural hospitals are vital to keeping a community healthy – physically and fiscally. The goal of Rural Hospital Week to raise awareness of their impact nationwide. Spreading the word from Main Street to the halls of Congress. You can help by joining the conversation on social media. Follow the Federation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see stories of success and discover what these facilities mean to a community.  Please check out our new infographic here.  Hospitals in rural areas have a big impact on our nation’s health care system so join us this week as we #StandUp4RuralHospitals.