Lawmakers fight for rural hospitals to stay open

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Eighty-two rural hospitals have shut down since 2010, including four in North Carolina.

According to the National Rural Health Association, a third of remaining rural hospitals are in danger of shutting down over the next ten years.

To help the rural areas, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from rural states aims to reverse the trend.

The new legislation creates a floor, guaranteeing reimbursement rates don’t go below it.

If hospitals continue to shut down, advocates say health disparities will grow.

“Since 1990 life expectancy across the United States has increased, but in rural areas, life expectancy has actually decreased,” said Alan Morgan, National Rural Health Association.

In December, “Pungo Hospital” in Belhaven was among those forced to shut down.

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