- Effective Feb. 28, 14 of Louisiana Heart Medical Group’s North Shore Medical clinics will no longer be in operation, The Times-Picayune reports.
- The announcement comes on the heels of the shutdown of LHMG affiliate Louisiana Heart Hospital, a private facility near Lacombe, LA.
- The hospital has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing “significant financial challenges in recent years.”
Since 2010, more than 75 rural hospitals have closed and another 673 are vulnerable and at risk of closing — threatening access to medical care for an additional 11.7 million patients, according to the National Rural Hospital Association. Financial pressures stem not only from congressional spending measures that reduce Medicare payments but also the ACA, which favors hospitals with high patient volumes.
Challenges such as cuts to reimbursement and shrinking patient volumes helped lead to the closure of 21 U.S. hospitals in 2016, according to Becker's Hospital CFO. A few still offer outpatient or urgent care services.
Among them was Gulf Coast Medical Center in Wharton, TX, which shuttered operations in November. The closure was part of a downward trend among rural hospitals.
And the closure rate is escalating: six times as many hospitals closed shop in 2015 as in 2010. Uncertainty about the ACA could also be hurting at-risk hospitals. Immediately following President Trump’s election in November, stocks for most major U.S. hospitals dropped by double digits, spooked by Trump’s promise to repeal the healthcare law.
Roughly 20 million Americans stand to lose their health insurance if the ACA is repealed, which could further depress already sinking inpatient rates and leave hospital’s footing the bill for more emergency room visits and hospital care.