Rural hospitals are the lifeblood of much of Virginia. They provide emergency medical care to those in need and the preventative health care that sustains communities. Rural hospitals employ tens of thousands of people and drive local economies through their payrolls, purchases and infrastructure investments. They are essential to attracting and keeping businesses and economic development because it would be highly unlikely that a major employer will locate in a community that does not have readily available hospitals and health care. Rural hospitals support local schools, higher education and workforce development with their need for technical skills and training necessary to manage and operate today’s modern health services. They also drive a sense of community by being both a sponsor and a beneficiary of charitable works and support.