Hospital closures in Rural America have become all too common. Since January of 2005, 163 rural hospitals have closed their doors with last year (2019) being the worst year; 19 rural hospitals shuttered. This, understandably, has caused many to question what can be done to save America’s rural healthcare infrastructure. There are glimmers of hope, however. New technologies such as telemedicine are increasing rural citizen’s access to healthcare. Savvy rural hospital administrators are beginning to see the value in full spectrum family medicine, and there is a renaissance of the “home visit.”
Zack Ward is an assistant professor of Health Administration at the University of Southern Indiana. Zack’s research focus includes clinician burnout and rural healthcare issues. Zack most recently completed a stint at the American Board of Family Medicine as visiting scholar where he conducted a comparative study of rural and urban family physician burnout.