This study builds upon our existing research into the stability of the rural health safety net and provides the clearest picture yet of the extent to which the pandemic has impacted rural hospitals and their ability to deliver care within their communities. Through the close examination of newly released and updated data, and the results of a rural hospital executive survey conducted by The Chartis Center for Rural Health and the National Rural Health Association, this report aims to:

  • Expand our understanding of the intersection between rural hospital closures, vulnerability, and the realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Examine the impact of COVID-19 on hospital operations and finances.
  • Identify rural hospital leadership concerns for the short- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on the rural health safety net.
  • Outline considerations and strategic imperatives for maintaining dual models of care.

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