For decades, it has been axiomatic that rural health care systems are crucial factors not only in the health of the populations that they serve but also in the viability of America's rural communities. Medical care, as it is delivered in rural America, is becoming increasingly problematic as national health care delivery models evolve. Increasing reimbursement pressures and changing practitioner lifestyle expectations have had negative effects on rural communities and resulted in rural hospital closings and a declining level of surgical care available. These two factors are interrelated, given the importance of surgical services to the revenue stream of any hospital.
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