Rural Hospitals (Flex Program)

Document Type


Publication Date



rural, hospitals, health care system, MRHRC

Funding Organization or Grant

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services


Presented at the 2017 National Rural Health Association Annual Meeting. Coburn, a member of the Rural Policy Research Institute Panel, discussed the following key questions: What kind of rural health system is possible in places that cannot support a full-service hospital? How does a rural community navigate the transition from hospital-centric care toward new models that deliver high performance? What implementation support will be needed? Coburn noted that there is no single model for re-configuring the rural health system after hospital closure; local assets, affiliations and partnerships, financial and delivery flexibility and capacities must be critically assessed to determine the community’s options and strategies.