Rural & Underserved Health Research Center Publications


When a hospital closes in a community, patients needing emergency care may spend more time in an ambulance to receive care in an emergency department (ED). We explore how hospital closures affect the time a patient travels from an incident location where 9-1-1 was called to the ED in an ambulance.

  • Rural patients average an estimated 11 additional minutes in an ambulance the year after a hospital closure in their zip code, a 76% increase compared to before the closure.
  • Urban and suburban patients have no change in transportation time in zip codes where a hospital closes.
  • Patients over 64 years old in rural areas spend 14 additional minutes in an ambulance after a hospital closes, doubling their time in an ambulance.

Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

© 2018 Rural & Underserved Health Research Center, University of Kentucky

The information, conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and no endorsement by FORHP, HRSA, HHS, or the University of Kentucky is intended or should be inferred.

Funding Information

This project was supported by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under cooperative agreement # U1CRH30041.

Related Content

Troske, S., Davis, A., & Troske, K. R. (2020). Urban and rural hospitals closures and short-run change in ambulance call times [research data]. UKnowledge Economic Research Data.