MRHA Partner Releases Book Focused on Hospital Survival

“Rural Hospital Renaissance” Gives Nation’s Struggling Rural
Hospitals Pathway to Growth and Revival”

New book and survival assessment tool provide at-risk hospitals with
a blueprint for engaging leadership, staff and patients to reverse the 
epidemic of closures and start growing.

A fifth of the nation’s rural hospitals are nearing collapse, according to North Carolina’s Sheps Center for Health Services Research, and 2019 is on pace to record the highest number of closings ever. With rural hospital closures at a crisis point, finding the pathway back to growth has never been more urgent.

“Rural Hospital Renaissance,” the new book by Brian Lee, one of North America’s leading experts in the field of Five Star patient experience, offers rural hospitals a proven formula for achieving a breakthrough in the patient experience to transform their future prospects from decline and survival to growth and revival.

“A cultural renaissance is needed in healthcare today,” says Lee, of the industry’s renewed focus on improving the patient experience. “The magic takes place when leaders truly engage the frontline with a ‘License to Please’ bundle of empowerment skills that transform their task-driven efforts to mindful presence and kindness. This book provides a step-by-step blueprint for transforming hospital culture and engaging caregivers to create a healing experience that patients will enthusiastically recommend.”

Lee says the patient experience is critical for rural hospitals, where patient volumes are declining due to the “drive-by factor” as tens of millions of dollars are lost to competing nearby urban tertiary hospitals. Because patients in these communities often rely on recommendations from their neighbors, friends and family when selecting a healthcare provider, “advertising will not bring back patients who don’t like you,” Lee emphasizes. “Word of mouth, will.”

“Rural Hospital Renaissance” explores evidence-based best practices that rural hospitals should take to engage patients and create a positive experience of healing kindness, including the four must-haves to become the hospital patients recommend: a culture of caring, frontline engagement, leadership and patient engagement.

“The patient experiences empathy and compassion through the actions of empowered frontline caregivers who become ‘patient relationship experts,’” Lee explains. “That’s why moving from decline and survival to growth and revival takes a strong commitment and some simple but profound changes in leadership and frontline behaviors. By following the practical, easy-to-do best practices outlined in this book, a renaissance is possible for every rural hospital. These are mostly simple things that leaders and caregivers can do while they’re doing what they already do, and they don’t cost a cent.”

Included in the book, Lee and his company Custom Learning Systems (CLS) introduced the Rural Hospital Renaissance “Survival Index” tool to help hospitals gauge their risk. While conventional research focuses on lagging indicators such as financial and volume factors tied to revenue, the Survival Index takes a proactive, comprehensive view by examining all the leading quality indicators that ultimately impact a hospital’s ability to survive in today’s economy.

Also launching as part of this effort is “,” and Facebook page “Saving Rural Hospitals” dedicated to addressing the epidemic of rural hospital closings. offers insights and resources, including the Survival Index Tool, for healthcare leaders and anyone who has an interest in being part of this movement.

Lee formally released “Rural Hospital Renaissance” in his keynote address to the Indiana Rural Health Association on National Rural Health Day, November 21, 2019.

About Brian Lee

Learn more about Lee here.

About Custom Learning Systems Ltd. (CLS)

Learn more.

Contact Bruce Lee at or by phone at 1-800-667-7325 ext. 213

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