Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
In the United States, rural hospital closures increased 34% since 2015 due to financial reasons, affecting access to healthcare services in rural communities. For rural hospital leaders, improving the hospital's financial performance is a valuable strategic goal. This multiple case study was designed to explore strategies that rural hospital leaders implement to improve their hospital's financial performance in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and the United States Virgin Islands. The strategic decision-making framework supported the study because top leaders make decisions that affect the organization's health and survival. Fifteen rural hospital leaders who maintain their hospital's financial stability provided hospital documentation and pertinent strategic information from their respective semistructured interviews. Sections of text signifying concepts from collected documentation and transcribed interviews were organized and coded according to research question and interview questions to explore strategies rural hospital leaders implemented to improve their hospital's financial performance. The methods triangulation process encompassed comparing findings from the interview themes and hospital strategic documentation analysis. The key themes that emerged from coded data were rural hospital leaders' decision-making when addressing rural hospital financial performance, developing synergies with external providers and hospitals, creating effective short-term and long-term strategies, and translating success to the entire organization. Implications for social change include the potential to prevent rural hospital closure and ensure access to healthcare services for the communities rural hospitals serve.