Across the nation, operational, clinical, and financial challenges are testing skilled nursing facilities’ (SNFs) abilities to adapt to the obstacles present in today’s healthcare landscape. Furthermore, rural SNFs are facing an additional set of headaches brought on by their size and location. In a recent Provider Magazine article, Health Dimensions Group addressed the difficulties challenging rural providers, as well as the strategies to tackle them head on.

Challenges Facing Rural Providers

  • Competition with critical access hospitals (CAHs) with Medicare swing beds and senior services. Forty-two percent of CAHs provide skilled care, and 25.4 percent of CAHs provide long term care services, according to Rural Health Information Hub.
  • Access to physician and other ancillary services, especially specialty services. The patient-to- primary care physician ratio per 100,000 people is 39.8 physicians in rural areas, compared with 53.3 physicians in urban areas, according to the National Rural Health Association.
  • Geographic isolation. While rural areas have a higher proportion of the 65 and over population, rural providers are often located in areas with few hospitals and a declining population, resulting in a decrease in referrals to skilled care.
  • Proximity to urban wages. In rural areas, prospective talent is often interested in, open to, and familiar with driving large distances to urban centers to find similar or other competitively waged positions.
  • Census decline. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, since the mid ’90s, growth rates in rural counties have been significantly lower than in urban counties.

To see Health Dimensions Group’s innovative solutions to the obstacles facing rural providers, check out “Rural Providers Need New Strategies to Succeed,” in Provider Magazine.

For more information on how Health Dimensions Group can help your care community overcome these challenges and to better position for success, contact us at 763.537.5700,, or online at

Authored by:
Erin Shvetzoff Hennessey
CEO, Health Dimensions Group