Seven hospitals in seven states closed in 2021. That was a significant decline from a year earlier when more than 20 hospitals across 14 states shut down.
California, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas all lost one hospital in 2021. The final closure of the year occurred Dec. 31, when West Reading, Pa.-based Tower Health shuttered its hospital in West Grove, Pa.
Hospitals faced numerous hurdles last year, including deferring elective surgeries, which affected revenue, and managing higher costs related to workforce shortages. Hospitals across the U.S. saw an increase in labor expenses in November, with those in the West seeing costs rise 28.8 percent year over year, according to a report released this month by healthcare consulting firm Kaufman Hall.
Many rural hospitals entered 2021 in a fragile position, but COVID-19 relief aid allowed most to remain in business.
Two of the hospitals that closed last year — one in Kansas and one in Nebraska — were in rural areas. In 2020, 19 rural hospitals closed, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research.
🔹Heights Hospital in Houston closed Jan. 18 after its management failed to pay rent. The hospital was once an acute care facility but was offering outpatient and specialty care when it closed. Heights Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.
🔹West Reading, Pa.-based Tower Health have two hospitals closed by the end of January. The West Reading, Pa.-based system closed Jennersville Hospital in West Grove, Pa., on Dec. 31 and Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville, Pa., will be closed on Jan. 31. The closures have resulted in the loss of more than 800 jobs.
🔹MercyOne Oakland (Neb.) Medical Center closed July 1 after years of declining inpatient and emergency department volumes. While inpatient and emergency services ended, clinics at MercyOne Oakland and its affiliate, Lyons (Neb.) Family Medicine, so far remain open.
🔹Community HealthCare System-St. Marys (Kan.) closed in June, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. The Sheps Center defines a hospital closure as the cessation in the provision of inpatient services. The hospital’s clinic remains open, and physical, occupational and speech therapy, X-ray, laboratory and other services are available.
🔹Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tulsa (Okla.) closed in May. The hospital attributed the closure to patient access pressures and insurance limitations in the local market. About 400 employees were affected by the closure.
🔹Olympia Medical Center, a 204-bed hospital in Los Angeles, closed March 31. Irvine, Calif.-based Alecto Healthcare Services, a private company, sold the hospital in January to UCLA Health.
🔹Jellico (Tenn.) Medical Center closed March 1, days after the city council voted to send a contract termination notice to the hospital’s operator, Rennova Health. Rennova management said the city council’s contract termination decision left the company with no option but to close the hospital.
Kansas City, Mo.-based Saint Luke’s Health System closed two community hospitals in Overland Park, Kan., on Dec. 30, 2020. Both facilities were named Saint Luke’s Community Hospital. “Two of our locations have seen lower patient volumes since opening, and as we look at ways to provide care while operating as efficiently as possible during this challenging time, we have made the decision to close these two locations,” Bobby Olm-Shipman, Saint Luke’s South and East Region CEO, said while announcing the closure of the locations in October.
21 hospitals closed in 2020.
Carrollton, Ala.-based Pickens County Medical Center closed March 6. Hospital leaders said the closure was attributable to the hospital’s unsustainable financial position. A news release announcing the closure specifically cited reduced federal funding, lower reimbursement from commercial payers and declining patient visits.
Los Angeles-based St. Vincent Medical Center closed in January, roughly three weeks after El Segundo, Calif.-based Verity Health announced plans to shut down the 366-bed hospital. Verity, a nonprofit health system that entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, shut down St. Vincent after a deal to sell four of its hospitals fell through. In April, Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Times, purchased St. Vincent out of bankruptcy for $135 million.
Shands Lake Shore Regional Medical Center in Lake City, Fla, closed Aug. 31. The hospital, owned by the Lake Shore Hospital Authority, announced in July that it was closing. The hospital said it had to borrow money to maintain operations, and declining patient volume and financial challenges resulted in losses that were unsustainable.
Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center in Cuthbert closed Oct. 22. The 25-bed critical access hospital announced plans in July to close. The hospital closed due to financial strain worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Northridge Medical Center, a 90-bed hospital in Commerce, Ga., closed Oct. 31. The hospital closed less than seven years after opening its doors on Jan. 1, 2014. It cited a decline in patient volume as the reason for the closure. Hospital leaders said all other options were explored before deciding to shut down Northridge Medical Center.
Sumner Community Hospital in Wellington, Kan., closed March 12 without providing notice to employees or the local community. Kansas City, Mo.-based Rural Hospital Group, which acquired the hospital in 2018, cited financial difficulties and lack of support from local physicians as reasons for the closure.
Overland Park, Kan.-based Pinnacle Healthcare System and its hospitals in Missouri and Kansas filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 12. Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Overland Park, formerly called Blue Valley Hospital, closed about two months after entering bankruptcy.
Bon Secours Mercy Health closed Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Ashland, Ky., on April 30. The 214-bed hospital was originally slated to shut down in September of this year, but the timeline was moved up after employees began accepting new jobs or tendering resignations.
Mayo Clinic Health System closed its hospital in Springfield, Minn., on March 1. Mayo announced plans in December 2019 to close the hospital and its clinics in Springfield and Lamberton, Minn. At that time, James Hebl, MD, regional vice president of Mayo Clinic Health System, said the facilities faced staffing challenges, dwindling patient volumes and other issues. The hospital in Springfield is one of eight hospitals within a less than 40-mile radius, which has led to declining admissions and low use of the emergency department, Dr. Hebl said.
Pinnacle Regional Hospital in Boonville, Mo., formerly known as Cooper County Memorial Hospital, abruptly closed in January. It entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy about a month after it shut down.
The Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, a 12-bed hospital owned by physicians in Dayton, Ohio, closed March 5. The closure came after years of financial problems. In January 2019, the Medical Center at Elizabeth Place lost its certification as a hospital, meaning it couldn’t bill Medicare or Medicaid for services. Sixty to 65 percent of the hospital’s patients were covered through the federal programs.
UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury (Pa.) closed March 31. Pittsburgh-based UPMC announced plans in December 2019 to close the rural hospital, citing dwindling patient volumes. Sunbury’s population was 9,905 at the 2010 census, down more than 6 percent from 10 years earlier. Though the hospital officially closed its doors in March, it shut down its emergency department and ended inpatient services Jan. 31.
Ellwood City (Pa.) Medical Center officially closed Jan. 31. The hospital was operating under a provisional license in November 2019 when the Pennsylvania Department of Health ordered it to suspend inpatient and emergency services due to serious violations, including failure to pay employees and the inability to offer surgical services. The hospital’s owner, Americore Health, suspended all clinical services at Ellwood City Medical Center Dec. 10, 2019. At that time, hospital officials said they hoped to reopen the facility in January. Plans to reopen were halted Jan. 3 after the health department conducted an onsite inspection and determined the hospital “had not shown its suitability to resume providing any health care services.”
Cumberland River Hospital in Celina, Tenn., closed Aug. 7 and placed its license on inactive status. In a letter to the state health department, the hospital’s owner and CEO Johnny Presley cited several reasons for the closure, including severe staffing shortages and the inability to secure financial funding or grants from the state.
Parsons, Tenn.-based Decatur County General Hospital closed April 15, a few weeks after the local hospital board voted to shut it down. Decatur County Mayor Mike Creasy said the closure was attributable to a few factors, including rising costs, Tennessee’s lack of Medicaid expansion and broader financial challenges facing the rural healthcare system in the U.S.
First Texas Hospital Cy-Fair, a 50-bed hospital in Houston, closed July 26, less than four years after opening. Irving, Texas-based Adeptus Health opened First Texas Hospital Cy-Fair in 2016. When the hospital shut down, 62 workers were laid off.
Central Hospital of Bowie (Texas) abruptly closed Feb. 4. Hospital officials said the facility was shut down to enable them to restructure the business. Hospital leaders voluntarily surrendered the license for Central Hospital of Bowie.
Yakima, Wash.-based Astria Regional Medical Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2019 and closed in January. When the hospital closed, 463 employees lost their jobs.
Williamson (W.Va.) Hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2019 and was operating on thin margins for months before shutting down on April 21. The 76-bed hospital said a drop in patient volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to close. CEO Gene Preston said the decline in patient volume was “too sudden and severe” for the hospital to sustain operations.
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