Rural Hospitals Struggle

As rural hospitals struggle, solutions sought to preserve healthcare access

On March 31, for-profit Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton closed its doors after more than two decades of business in southwestern Kentucky. Rural Fulton County’s only hospital employed nearly 200 and accounted for as much as 18% of the town’s tax base.

But inpatient admissions had plummeted 50% over the past four years and Community Health Systems, which owned the 70-bed facility, decided it was no longer economically viable. “Our wheels haven’t stopped turning since the day they announced that the hospital was closing,” said Cubb Stokes, Fulton’s city manager. “We have been having almost daily meetings with some type of healthcare provider.”

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