Characteristics of us rural hospitals by obstetric service availability, 2017

Katy B. Kozhimannil, Julia D. Interrante, Mariana S. Tuttle, Carrie Henning-Smith, Lindsay Admon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives. To describe characteristics of rural hospitals in the United States by whether they provide labor and delivery (obstetric) care for pregnant patients. Methods. We used the 2017 American Hospital Association Annual Survey to identify rural hospitals and describe their characteristics based on the lack or provision of obstetric services. Results. Among the 2019 rural hospitals in the United States, 51% (n = 1032) of rural hospitals did not provide obstetric care. These hospitals were more often located in rural noncore counties (counties with no town of more than 10 000 residents). Rural hospitals without obstetrics also had lower average daily censuses, were more likely to be government owned or for profit compared with nonprofit ownership, and were more likely to not have an emergency department compared with hospitals providing obstetric care (P for all comparisons < .001). Conclusions. Rural US hospitals that do not provide obstetric care are located in more sparsely populated rural locations and are smaller than hospitals providing obstetric care. Public Health Implications. Understanding the characteristics of rural hospitals by lack or provision of obstetric services is important to clinical and policy efforts to ensure safe maternity care for rural residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1315-1317
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this study was provided by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration (cooperative agreement U1CRH03717-13-00).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Public Health Association Inc.. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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