Rural Hospitals Closures in the United States : Theoretical Impact Analysis on African Americans Health Care Disparity in the South

Ucheoma Nwagbara


This paper examines the impact of rural hospitals closures in the United States on African Americans health care access with focus on the South region (Black Belt). Specifically, the paper argues that rising rural hospital closures has disproportionate impact on African Americans and has exacerbated the health disparity between African Americans and Whites. In addition, the paper will examine the underlying socioeconomic factors influencing African Americans health outcomes in the South. Furthermore, the paper will add to the body of knowledge and literature on the subject of African Americans health disparity in the United States, with implications for public policy. African Americans health disparity in the United States is a long-standing problem. The rising closures of rural hospitals that provide critical care to historically underserved populations including Blacks has made the situation worse. The closures has made it more difficult for African Americans to obtain basic health care services and has resulted to diminishing access to care and persistent gaps in health quality for African Americans. The health disparity problem will be analyzed in the context of four underlying factors: race, discrimination, costs, and poverty. Methodically, the study is a narrative literature review and data analysis of previous and current works using Boolean search technique. The study finds and further re-affirm that race, discrimination, costs, and poverty contribute to African American health disparity in the United States. Based on the findings, the study concludes that rural hospital closures has disproportionate impact on African Americans health compared to Whites. To address the inequity, the study recommends better funding and resources for rural hospitals, Medicaid expansion, enhanced reimbursement incentives for health providers who practice in rural communities, strengthening federal health programs that support rural residents, such as, Essential Communities Providers (ECP), Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Centers (RHCs), Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). In this paper, the terms “Black (s),” “Black Americans,” and “African Americans” are used interchangeably.

Keywords: African Americans, Whites, South, health disparity, access, rural hospital closures, race, discrimination, costs, poverty

DOI: 10.7176/PPAR/10-7-06

Publication date:July 31st 2020

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email:

ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

Please add our address "" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright ©