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Declining access to health care in northern New England
Access to health care is a major concern across the northern New England states?Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont?where rising operating costs and population loss threaten the stability of hospitals and other medical facilities that serve their surrounding rural communities. New analysis of financial data shows that many rural hospitals are operating at losses that are predictive of financial distress or even closure. Consequently, the communities served by these hospitals may be at risk of losing the benefits they provide to public health and the local economy. Addressing the financial health of medical facilities in rural areas poses a complicated challenge for policymakers working to sustain or revitalize the economies of these communities. This report reviews recent data on hospital profitability and explores health care from a geographic perspective, looking at how a community?s distance from a hospital or other medical facility affects the health and well-being of residents and the local economy.
AUTHORS: Sullivan, Riley
Aging and declining populations in northern New England: is there a role for immigration?
In hundreds of communities across northern New England, the population is aging rapidly and becoming smaller. The entire country is aging, but northern New England stands out: Among the populations of all US states, those of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the top-three highest median ages, respectively. The situation is even more extreme in northern New England?s rural counties, where the populations of the smallest towns generally are substantially older than those of the rest of the region. These communities also have seen the slowest, or even negative, population growth over the last three decades. As the populations of the rural regions become older and smaller, policymakers are concerned about the ability of the local communities to maintain their labor force, sustain local businesses and the tax base, and provide care for the growing number of senior residents. This regional brief explores changes in the size and age of the populations of the cities and towns in the three northern New England states. It also considers the role immigration plays in sustaining the stability and growth of those populations.
AUTHORS: Sullivan, Riley