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Rural Hospitals Face Financial Strain

Wisconsin’s rural hospitals are doing better compared to other states, though many are in precarious financial situations. Wisconsin Watch reports that 38% of rural hospitals had a negative operating margin in their most recent financial statements. Federal grants and loans kept rural hospitals afloat when many facilities cut back on outpatient and non-emergency procedures in the spring and summer due to the pandemic. But those federal grants have ended and those loans will need to be paid back in 2021. The losses continue to mount as COVID-19 surges through rural counties. It’s possible a rural hospital could close due to the financial strain of COVID-19, something that has not happened since 2011.

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