Rural hospitals in Oklahoma provide essential health care services for the nearly 2 million Oklahomans who live in rural areas. These individuals depend on the hospital in their community for timely, appropriate and affordable care. Often, this access can mean life or death.
Rural hospitals face a unique set of challenges, including remote geographic locations, limited workforce, physician shortages, and increasingly constrained financial resources. Rural hospitals are particularly vulnerable to the effects of Medicare and Medicaid payment cuts. The continued viability of rural health care providers is in jeopardy.
In Oklahoma, 90 rural hospitals, including 40 critical access hospitals, provide local, affordable, quality care to 66 counties across the state. These hospitals, working in partnership with rural health clinics, community health centers, physicians in private practice, and local emergency medical services, are the backbone of the rural safety net.