- Two rural hospitals straddling the Ohio River — one in eastern Ohio and the other in West Virginia — are closing their doors in the coming months and more than 1,000 are set to lose their jobs, according to filings submitted to each state.
- The two sister facilities, West Virginia-based Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Valley Regional Hospital, are separated by just a few miles and operate a combined 340 beds. They are expected to close in just over a month on Oct. 7.
- For Belmont County, Ohio, it marks the second closure this year, raising concerns about the challenges this places on nearby facilities to meet increased demand, according to the Ohio Hospital Association spokesman John Palmer.
The closures add to a growing list of rural hospitals that have shuttered amid increasing financial pressures.
"The closure is the direct result of a national trend that many rural hospitals are facing: declining inpatient care due to a lower daily census, Medicare payment reductions, and the cost of maintaining aging facilities," Ohio Valley Medical Center CEO Daniel Dunmyer, said in a document submitted to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Since 2010 about 113 rural hospitals have closed, according to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. Many of those facilities were scattered throughout the South in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Alabama.
"It is concerning when we see this trend happening," Palmer, of the Ohio Hospital Association, told Healthcare Dive.
Last year, Ohio tallied three hospital closures and, this year, they’re about to experience the second. Meanwhile, between 40 and 50 hospitals have been identified as facilities in a precarious financial situation due to slim operating margins, Palmer said, adding that not all of them are located in rural areas.
The hospital group spends a lot of its focus on educating lawmakers about the economic challenges hospitals are facing, he said.