40% of Rural Patients Stay at City Hospitals
[imgbelt img=Screen+Shot+2014-07-30+at+9.20.13+AM.jpg]Many rural patients “bypass” rural hospitals and get admitted at urban facilities, a federal study shows. Rural from rural America who stay at rural hospitals tend to be older and on Medicare. They are also less likely to get medical procedures like surgeries.
The patient load of rural hospitals is one factor in a growing crisis in rural healthcare, which has seen an increasing number of hospital closures.
The report said 6.1 million rural residents were hospitalized in 2010. About 3.7 million of these patients received their care in a rural hospital. The remaining 2.4 million rural hospital patients were admitted to urban institutions.
More than half of the rural patients admitted to rural hospitals were aged 65 and older. Only about third of rural patients who went to urban hospitals were aged 65 and up.
“Prior research has shown that patients in this age group were less likely to leave rural areas for their hospitalization due, in part, to the barriers imposed by traveling to urban areas, and to their preference for remaining closer to home,” the report said.