Our rural hospital closure crisis is not just a health crisis, but an economic one as well. In many rural communities, the relationship between the existence of a hospital and economic development is critical to the overall success of the community. When the only hospital in a county closes or doesn’t exist, it becomes nearly impossible to attract and maintain industry, jobs, and people. Public health is compromised. For example, a Tuberculosis outbreak has plagued the citizens of Perry County since 2014. The infection rate there is 100 times the national average and higher than rates in India, Kenya, and Haiti. Further, as we’ve seen in recent international news reports, the rates of hookworm in Lowndes County are appalling and shameful at 33 percent due in part to the inadequate wastewater infrastructure there.