Back in April, I wrote an article discussing the issue of hospital closures due to the failure of many states to expand Medicaid.
Tom Jensen, Partner at Emerald A/R Systems, LLC, in the Phoenix, AZ area, wrote an article today, “Are we losing the Rural Hospital Battle?”
According to Tom, a report from IVantage Health Analytics, a leading advisory and business analytic company, stated that 283 rural hospitals across the US are on the verge of closing.
These closings affect hospitals in 39 states. IVantage’s report indicated that in states that expanded Medicaid, 8.5% of their rural hospitals are vulnerable to closure, and this is compared to 16.5% in states that have not expanded Medicaid.
Tom also said that over 700,000 patients would have to travel much further away from their homes to find medical care that is equivalent to what they get currently.
In addition, over 85,000 workers would lose their jobs if these hospitals were to shut down, and the nation’s GDP would see a $10.6 billion dollar loss.
What does this mean to you?
For medical travel, it represents a golden opportunity, not only for general health care services, but for work-related injuries and illnesses, as many companies are located in rural parts of the US.
For workers’ comp, what difference does it make if a rural injured worker has to fly a few hours to a larger city in the same state or region of the country, or if you put him on a plane and fly him to a medical travel destination, the flight there would be roughly the same flight time as the domestic flight?
We are losing this battle, and the only thing both industries want to do is bury their heads in the sand and ignore the potential business and cost-savings available.
Your choice, but when you need to get an oil pipeline worker in North Dakota to a hospital, it better be in Canada, because that will be the closest one available.