Rural Blog – Seventy-eight rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to the University of North Carolina. What happens to one of these towns when it loses its hospital, especially if that hospital is the lifeline for the community? Haywood, Tenn., lost its only hospital three years ago and still hasn’t recovered, Amy Goldstein reports for The Washington Post. Besides losing medical care, the town also lost jobs. Mayor Bill Rawls told Goldstein, “The emergency room now is the back of an ambulance.”
Haywood is considered a “dead zone” for hospitals, with the nearest hospitals, 26 and 60 miles away, also having closed. That’s nothing new for Tennessee, which ranks second for most rural hospital closures, with eight, trailing only Texas, where 13 rural hospitals have closed. Texas has nearly five times as many people as Tennessee.
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