Roughly half of rural hospitals lost money last year, according to a new report.

Those struggles, moreover, are not a one-time thing:  more than 40 percent were in the same position a year ago and more such hospitals are expected to be in this position a year from now.

The problem is worse, moreover, for hospitals in states that did not take advantage of the Affordable Care Act option of expanding their Medicaid programs.

In response to these challenges, some rural hospitals are discontinuing services like obstetrics – a serious challenge for hospitals located in isolated communities; exploring Medicare’s new “Rural Emergency Hospital” designation and how that status might help them survive; and considering putting themselves up for sale or seeking to be absorbed by a larger health system.

Learn more about the financial challenges currently facing rural hospitals and the implications of those challenges for the communities they serve from the KFF Health News article “Operating in the Red:  Half of Rural Hospitals Lose Money, as Many Cut Services.”