Already in peril, rural hospitals unsure on health care bill

CLAXTON, Ga. (AP) — Rural hospitals and communities are watching the debate closely in Congress over the future of health care.

Those hospitals have been hit hard in recent years by closures of facilities, particularly in the South and Midwest.

They face a host of challenges such as patients who are older, suffer from chronic illness, and are more likely to be on Medicaid or Medicare.

Doctors at the 10-bed Evans Memorial Hospital in Claxton face those challenges. The hospital went through four years of in-the-red budgets before landing $50,000 in the black this year.

CEO Nikki NeSmith says they no longer fear the doors closing but they also don't get too comfortable.

But many people question whether rural hospitals will fare any better under the recently unveiled Republican health care plan.