Health Affairs 12:58-80, 1993.
Rural hospitals continue to face the threat of closure. Congress passed legislation in 1989 and 1990 to offer an alternative for small rural hospitals; the legislation encourages hospitals to form networks comprising an essential access community hospital (EACH) and one or more rural primary care hospitals. This legislation is a tightly focused program that will affect no more than an estimated 150 hospitals in seven states; implementation of the program has been controversial, as this DataWatch demonstrates. The authors describe the profile of rural hospitals that are likely to apply to participate in the program, based on distances between hospitals and number of beds.