By the time Copper Basin Medical Center launched a GoFundMe campaign in May last year, the hospital in the Appalachian foothills was buried in debt. It had been forced to suspend inpatient operations; many of its nurses and staffers had gone weeks without paychecks.
The campaign aimed to raise $100,000, but when only $5,559 came in, Copper Basin closed its doors on October 1. It was a major blow to the citizens of Polk County, Tennessee, many of whom are poor and elderly and rely on Medicaid. Hospitals are shutting their doors rapidly across the state—eight have closed since 2013.