Mismatch between Medicare policy and community needs in rural hospital closures
June 18, 2019
Dr. Ty Borders of the University of Kentucky College of Public Health has been widely cited on the impact of rural hospital closures across Appalachia. National Public Radio affiliate stations in Murray, Ky., Louisville, Ky., and Bowling Green, Ky., have covered the issue, as well as online news outlet Ohio Valley ReSource.
“The reality is that many rural communities can’t really support a full-fledged hospital. They may need primary care and perhaps emergency department services, let’s say a primary care clinic attached to an emergency department…[but] Medicare won’t pay for that. Medicare will only pay for hospital or emergency department services that are in a hospital. And in most rural communities, that’s a critical access hospital,” said Borders.
Dr. Borders is the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Endowed Chair in Rural Health Policy and a professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy. He also serves as Director of the federally funded Rural and Underserved Health Research Center (RUHRC). The Center has conducted extensive research on the impact of rural hospital closures.
The University of Kentucky College of Public Health is a catalyst of positive change for population health, with a mission to develop health champions, conduct multidisciplinary and applied research, and collaborate with partners to improve health in Kentucky and beyond.