When rural hospitals go out of business, they’re frequently gone for good. But now, some comebacks are a welcome sign for communities that have been without easy access to health care.
In recent years, dozens of smaller cities and towns across the U.S. have seen their local hospitals shuttered. And once a rural hospital closes, it’s usually gone for good, which is why a hospital reopening in Brownsville, Tenn., is such a big deal. Here’s Blake Farmer of member station WPLN.
BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: The sun is rising over the Haywood County Community Hospital, and Michael Banks stands out front in a seersucker suit, welcoming back employees in the dim light.
JEANINE ING: There’s no backing out now.
MICHAEL BANKS: All right. Go get your stuff set up. Let’s get ready to rock and roll.
FARMER: Banks is a local attorney who was chair of the hospital board. Now he’s CEO.