When the coronavirus pandemic hit rural hospitals, including some in Montana, already on the brink of closing were spared by an infusion of government money. The money was a buffer, but Medicare reimbursements will likely be reduced this summer. Significant hospital closures may be avoided this year, but nursing shortages increase the risk for 2023. Rural hospital budgets feel the pinch when forced to hire traveling nurses who make as much as $120 an hour.
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