Tennessee Hospital Association Releases 2017 Rural Impact Report

Rural hospitals account for nearly 50 percent of acute care facilities in state, provided $292M in uncompensated care in 2015

The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) this week issued its 2017 Rural Impact Report. According to the report, the state’s 61 rural hospitals provided 15,654 jobs with a total annual payroll of more than $791 million. Given the rate of employment and associated revenue, rural healthcare can represent up to 20 percent of a community’s employment and income.

For Tennessee as a whole, the impact of rural hospitals results in $994 million for the state’s economy.

“Tennessee’s rural hospitals are the cornerstones of their communities,” said Craig A. Becker, THA president and CEO. “These facilities employ thousands of people and serve as major economic engines in their respective communities. In addition, they often are among the only options for rural residents when they need quality, affordable healthcare services.”

Tennesseans in rural areas are frequently older and more likely to suffer from a host of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, that sometimes bring about additional complications. In light of recent conversations regarding federal healthcare reform, rural hospitals could face more challenges when it comes to financial viability. This threatens the ability for facilities to continue providing quality care, especially when it comes to the uninsured and underinsured.

Becker continued, “These facilities face a unique set of issues that are far different from their urban counterparts, such as the recruitment of healthcare providers and limited financial resources and capital. They’re under a constant threat of potentially closing their doors, which would leave entire communities vulnerable.”

Below is an excerpt from the 2017 Impact Report that outlines more statistics about rural hospitals:

Small and Rural by the Numbers Graphic

The full Rural Impact Report is available for download here.