Hospitals in the United States, 2020

The spread of COVID-19 has shed light on the alarming lack of access to hospitals for those living in more sparsely populated regions of the country.

While those in urban and eastern regions often have multiple options for facilities, those in rural or western areas frequently must travel hundreds of miles to obtain specialized care.

This reality highlights the need for better infrastructure for telemedicine, which isn't covered by many insurers, and reassessment of our distribution of hospital services.

Use the filters below to hide or show different types of hospitals.

Data source: Homeland Infrastructure Foundation-Level Data (HIFLD)

Limited to the continental United States.

Number of US Hospitals Over Time

Lack of convenient, proximal access to hospitals is exacerbated by a decades long trend of steady hospital closures. Reasons for this include decisions by some states not to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act; hospital mergers and acquisitions resulting in consolidation of services; and more efficient, rapid care. Regardless of cause, closures result in increased time and distance to access of critical services, which for many conditions can lead to worse outcomes.

In the face of current unprecedented health challenges, it is imperative that we re-evaluate and strategize deliberately regarding effective provision of critical, time-sensitive, and often life-saving resources.

Toggle the buttons below to display trends in total nationwide hospital counts over time, broken down by various categories of ownership type. We see steady downward trends across all categories except for-profit hospitals, which comprise a minority of the total. Further details at the CDC National Center for Health Statistics.