More Than Half Of All Rural Tennessee Hospitals No Longer Deliver Babies

May 12, 2023 | Political News

More than half of all rural Tennessee hospitals no longer deliver babies — a trend that shows no clear signs of reversal while pregnant patients outside major metropolitan areas routinely drive an hour, or more, in order to give birth.

Just 28 of 52 of the state’s rural hospitals that are still in operation provide obstetric services, according to a new report issued by the Center for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform.

The organization called the constriction of rural obstetric services a “crisis in rural maternity care.” The problem extends beyond Tennessee, but is also directly linked to the state’s outlier status:  Tennessee has seen 13 rural hospitals close down since 2010 — the second highest rate of closures in the United States.

A quarter of Tennessee’s still-open rural hospitals are currently operating at a loss, a sign that both obstetric services, and overall hospital care, could become even more scarce across large swathes of the state.