A sign points toward the emergency room at the Boone Health Center. | Photo by Nicole Lunger

CHART: Rural hospital closures across the US



Earlier this fall, southeast Missouri’s Ripley County Memorial Hospital became the state’s latest hospital to close, making it the fourth rural hospital to shutter in Missouri over the last five years.

Twenty-one beds were removed with the closure, according to a database from the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Earlier this year, the 100-bed Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center, also located in southeast Missouri, closed with 259 employees laid off.

Since 2005, at least 144 rural hospitals have been shuttered in the U.S., according to the Sheps Center. The National Rural Health Association said more than a third of rural hospitals operated at a loss, while one in four was at risk of closing in the next decade.

Here’s a map of all the country’s closed hospitals since 2005:

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