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Decreasing federal Medicare and Medicaid payment rates have hit rural hospitals especially hard due the high proportion of older and poorer residents of rural areas.

Alan Morgan, CEO of the Nat Rural Health Assoc. says nearly 250 rural hospitals, including many in Illinois may close their doors in the near future due to lack of adequate funding. He adds one thing helping some facilities remain viable is USDA rural development.

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USDA Rural Dev has a 3.5 Billion dollar budget for Illinois alone, and says The Illinois Dir of rural development Colleen Callahan, much of that goes to help rural health care facilities.

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Lacking local health care, many older residents are forced to relocate to areas with adequate health care facilities… And that has an adverse impact on the local economy and tax base.. contributing to a downward economic spiral in small towns across America.

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