By Jim McLean | Oct. 28, 2019
ANTHONY, Kansas — Few things signal a rural community’s decline more powerfully than the closure of its hospital.
Like shuttered schools and empty Main Streets, an abandoned hospital serves as a tangible reminder of the erosive power of decades of population loss and unrelenting economic trends.
“Our rural communities are challenged and, because of that, our small hospitals are challenged as well,” said Tom Bell, the head of the Kansas Hospital Association. “It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg thing.”
In just the last 15 years, 160 of the nation’s rural hospitals have closed, including six in Kansas.
Many more are in danger of shutting their doors.