Rural Hospitals: Navigating Your Path to Success

More than ever, rural hospitals must focus their resources on a narrow path to success.  Today, there is no margin for error when it comes to prioritizing rural hospital strategic initiatives and capital expenditures.

In recent years, rural hospitals have faced a unique set of challenges relative to their urban counterparts.  For 2016, up to 673 hospitals were identified as at risk of closing, following a record closure rate in 2015, which was six times higher than that of 2010, according to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).  The NRHA also reports more than 35% of rural hospitals are operating at a financial loss, which is troubling as rural hospitals often represent 20% of a community’s employment and income.

Because they vary in size, structure, affiliation status, and type of community served, each rural hospital needs to develop its own unique pathway to success.  Some have chosen to operate independently, while others have aligned with larger health systems.  Some have opted for more favorable payment structures by seeking designations such as critical access hospital, sole community hospital, or disproportionate share hospital.

Regardless of its current financial stability, a hospital must make strategic decisions that will positively impact its future success.  PYA has developed several tactical models for “pathways to success” (as depicted at a high level in the graphic below) to help rural hospital leadership identify priorities and determine the path forward.

rural hospitals

How we can help:

PYA has significant experience helping organizations achieve their desired financial outcomes.  Through education and guidance, PYA can help your organization design a plan and explore the best viable options for implementing it.  From service line or medical staff development to revenue cycle improvement and expense reduction to assistance defining your roll within a larger system, PYA’s multidisciplinary team can assist your organization as it implements financially sustainable options to meet critical community needs.

If you have questions about strategic positioning for rural hospitals, or would like to request a speaker on this topic for your organization or event, contact one of our executives below, (800) 270-9629.

Scott Clay

Scott Clay


David McMillan

David McMillan


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