9 States with the Fewest Hospitals

As healthcare reform unfolds, one of the biggest issues facing public health officials is patient access to medical care. While the looming shortage of primary care physicians gets the primary focus, access to hospitals is also an issue in some regions.

As healthcare reform unfolds, one of the biggest issues facing public health officials is patient access to medical care. While the looming shortage of primary care physicians gets the primary focus, access to hospitals is also an issue in some regions.

Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, compiled by the American Hospital Directory, shows a wide variation in the number of non-federal, short-term, acute-care hospitals in each state.

Texas has the most: 379 hospitals, with more than 57,000 beds. The Lone Star State is followed by California, with 348 hospitals. Those two states are far ahead of the pack. Next in line is Florida, with 212 hospitals. However, most states (32) in the US have at least 50 non-federal acute-care hospitals in the state.

On the other end of the spectrum, a handful of states have hospital counts in the single digits. What follows is a list of the 9 states with the fewest hospitals, according to the American Hospital Directory.

Number of Hospitals: 15

Number of Beds: 2,069

Population: 1 million

The Big Sky State is 147,000 square miles, making it the fourth-largest state by area. However, when it comes to hospitals, there’s plenty of wide open space between medical centers.

Number of Hospitals: 14

Number of Beds: 2,213

Population: 1.3 million

New Hampshire is on the opposite extreme of Montana. It’s one of the smallest states in the nation area-wise. And while it’s got 300,000 more people than Montana, the Granite State has one fewer hospital.

Number of Hospitals: 13

Number of Beds: 2,373

Population: 1.4 million

Hawaii had 13 hospitals but more than a half-million patient days per year when these data were collected in 2012. That’s the highest number of patient days of any state on the list.

Number of Hospitals: 13

Number of Beds: 1,853

Population: 582,000

The Equality State is the smallest in the US population-wise, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Wyoming is on this list. The state has roughly one hospital bed for every 314 people.

Number of Hospitals: 12

Number of Beds: 2,543

Population: 1.1 million

Rhode Island is the smallest state area-wise, but it’s the not quite at the bottom when it comes to number of hospitals. It’s got the most beds of any hospital on this list.

Number of Hospitals: 12

Number of Beds 1,005

Population: 735,000

Ironically, the largest state in the nation by area is tied with the smallest on the list of fewest hospitals. However, Alaska’s hospitals tend to be much smaller, with only about two-fifths as many beds as in Rhode Island.

Number of Hospitals: 10

Number of Beds: 1,817

Population: 723,000

North Dakota leads off the top 3 hospitals on the list. It joins its neighbor to the west, Montana. South Dakota, by contrast, has 28 hospitals.

Number of Hospitals: 8

Number of Beds: 2,020

Population: 917,000

The First State comes in second on this list. Delaware has just 8 hospitals, although those hospitals have an average of 252 beds, the largest average size of the states on this list.

Number of Hospitals: 7

Number of Beds: 801

Population: 626,000

Vermont is the second-smallest state by population, the sixth-smallest state by area and it has the smallest number of hospitals of any state in the US. Vermont also has the fewest hospital beds of any state.