This month I’m launching a new research note series. Rural Regions describes the regional nature of some important rural topics, including health care and food access. Comments are welcome as these research notes relate to on ongoing research. The series will appear at http://ruralcommunities.tamu.edu. The purpose is not to advocate for the maintenance or closure of facilities, but to get a picture of factors affecting the presence of services in rural areas.
The first note, A Look at Rural Hospital Closures, is available today and provides some context for the hospital closure data published by the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. My Twitter feed keeps telling me about the 80 rural hospital closures since 2010. But I wondered the distance to the next hospital and the state of the regional economy. This research note looks at road distance to the next hospital, county population change, and Medicaid expansion. Many other factors remain to be explored, of course. Because I don’t have an agenda other than promoting a more complete understanding of regional economic dynamics, I’m also publishing my data in Excel format. As this is ongoing research, I invite comments and suggestions.