Research / Health & Human Services


SLC Regional Resource | June 2021

Rural Hospitals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nick Bowman

Rural hospitals are a vital part of the U.S. healthcare sector and provide strong economic impacts. These healthcare facilities, which have an average of 25 inpatient beds, differ from urban hospitals in several ways. Many rural hospitals serve as the first point of care, sending patients to larger hospitals with more staff and medical equipment for specialized treatment. Due to their larger size and budgets, urban hospitals can offer a more comprehensive array of services. However, many rural hospitals perform just as well as urban hospitals and, in some cases, even outperform them.

Due to several factors, rural hospitals have struggled financially for years; 180 of them have closed since January 2005, with most closures in the South.* The reasons behind these closures include decreasing rural populations, changing federal healthcare regulations, and geographic isolation. A February 2019 report from Navigant, a Chicago-based consulting firm, found that 21 percent of U.S. rural hospitals were at high risk of closing unless their finances improve.

Since the emergence of COVID-19, Southern states have taken numerous measures in response to the pandemic. This SLC Regional Resource provides a summary of important state-level legislation related to rural hospitals and rural healthcare enacted between January 2020 and April 2021.


* For more on these issues, please see the November 2019 SLC Regional Resource, Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.


Policy Analysis | April 2021

Coronavirus Impacts on State Legislatures: 2021

Mikko Lindberg, Roger Moore, Nick Bowman, Cody Allen, and Amanda Budd

Last updated: April 15, 2021

As of April 15, 2021, approximately 2.9 million people worldwide, including 548,000 Americans, have died from the coronavirus pandemic. On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an emergency use authorization for Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine. On December 18, 2020, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine for use in individuals 18 or older. On February 27, 2021, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a recommended schedule for states to administer these vaccines. As of April 15, approximately 123 million vaccinations have been administered in the United States. Against this backdrop, Southern legislatures are convening for their 2021 legislative sessions.

This SLC Policy Analysis, updated as new measures are implemented, tracks the special measures that Southern legislatures are adopting in order to meet safely in 2021.

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Policy Analysis | March 2021

Unemployment in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Roger Moore

Disclaimer: On November 30, 2020, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the U.S. Department of Labor inaccurately reported the number of people filing for unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Due to the historic number of individuals filing for benefits beginning in March 2020, and states' frequent backlogs processing the claims, the traditional method of reporting unemployment did not accurately capture the number of unique individuals claiming benefits, according to the GAO report. For example, if a person filed for five weeks of benefits in a given week, the Department of Labor typically counted it as five separate claimants, not one. This method of reporting normally is a reliable proxy for the number of unique individuals claiming benefits, but it did not account for states' processing delays and claimants retroactively applying for benefits during the pandemic. While the absolute figures may not be accurate, the trend levels remain helpful for understanding the overall employment outlook.

This SLC Policy Analysis was concluded on March 26, 2021. For additional information regarding the Department of Labor data, please contact Roger Moore at rmoore@csg.org.

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2020-2021
Chair

Senator
Katrina Shealy

South Carolina

2020-2021
Vice Chair
Representative Fredrick Love, Arkansas

Representative
Fredrick J. Love

Arkansas

Immediate
Past Chair

(former) Senator
Doug Overbey

Tennessee

Committee
Liaison
Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Senior Policy Analyst


Ensuring the public's general welfare and protection are among states' most pressing concerns, with both areas constituting considerable shares of state budgets. The SLC Human Services & Public Safety Committee has a broad agenda, which takes into account the challenges states face in the areas of human services and corrections, as well as policies and programs that address them. The committee frequently undertakes assessments of pressing health issues including the national opioid crisis, organ donations and long-term care, as well as various corrections issues such as aging inmate populations, female offenders and mental health parity in prisons.

More SLC Research into Health & Human Services


Policy Analysis | February 2021

2020 Medicaid Enrollment in the SLC Region

Policy Analysis | December 2020

Hospital Property Tax Exemptions in SLC States

Webinar | September 2020

Alternative Payment Models in Healthcare

Policy Analysis | January 2020

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Other | December 2019

Issues to Watch - 2020

Policy Analysis | November 2019

Federal Analysis: Rural Health Agenda

SLC Regional Resource | November 2019

Rural Hospitals: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Policy Analysis | April 2019

School Counselor Legislation in the South

SLC Regional Resource | April 2019

Surprise Medical Billing in the South: A Balancing Act

Policy Analysis | April 2019

Federal Legislation on Rural Hospitals

Policy Analysis | January 2019

Medical Marijuana Laws in Southern States

Other | January 2019

Issues to Watch - 2019

SLC Issue Brief | October 2018

The Growth of Synthetic Opioids in the South

Policy Analysis | September 2018

Poverty Statistics for Southern States

Policy Analysis | August 2018

Suicide Rates in the South

SLC Regional Resource | May 2018

Opioids and Organ Donations: A Tale of Two Crises

SLC Special Series Report | December 2017

Long-Term Care in the South (Part II)

Comparative Data Reports | July 2017

Adult Correctional Systems, Education and Medicaid

Policy Analysis | April 2017

Cross-State Health Insurance Policies

SLC Special Series Report | January 2017

Long-Term Care in the South (Part 1)

SLC Regional Resource | May 2016

Spread of Zika: Impact on Southern States

Policy Analysis | May 2016

Recent numbers on Zika Infections

SLC Regional Resource | March 2016

Heroin Epidemic in SLC Member States: Finding Solutions

SLC Regional Resource | April 2015

Vapor Rising: E-Cigarettes in the SLC States

Webinar | October 2014

Food Safety Modernization Act

Policy Analysis | August 2014

Southern States' Medicaid Spending

SLC Regional Resource | March 2014

A Special Condition: Medical Marijuana in SLC States

Policy Analysis | October 2013

Southern States' Medicaid HMO Plans

Comparative Data Reports | July 2012

Medicaid, Revenue and Transportation

Policy Analysis | June 2012

Grandparental Visitation Rights

Policy Analysis | March 2012

Organization of Public Health Services

Policy Analysis | September 2011

Prospective Changes in Long-Term Care Policies

Policy Analysis | May 2011

A Prescription Drug Epidemic

Policy Analysis | November 2010

Economic Impact of the Great Recession

SLC Regional Resource | July 2010

Meth: Resurgence in the South

Policy Analysis | March 2010

Southern States' Health Insurance Rates

SLC Regional Resource | January 2010

Autism and Schools

Policy Analysis | January 2010

Drug Recycling Programs

Policy Analysis | October 2009

Southern States' SCHIP Programs

SLC Issue Alert | January 2009

An HIV Epidemic?

Policy Analysis | March 2008

Prescription Drug Reuse and Recycling

Comparative Data Reports | November 2007

Adult Correctional Systems, Education, Medicaid and Revenue

SLC Regional Resource | April 2001

Methamphetamine Production and Abuse in Southern States

Comparative Data Reports | November 2000

Adult Correctional Systems and Medicaid