THE MARINE HOSPITAL IN MEMPHIS WAS OPENED IN THE LATE 1800S to care for soldiers wounded in the Civil War. Although the hospital has been abandoned since 1965, photographer Walter Arnold captured the beauty of its decay as part of his series “The Art of Abandonment.”

Empty hospitals are no longer as rare as they once were, as economic pressures force more closures every year—Mount Sinai Beth Israel, a large hospital in Manhattan, recently announced plans to close its doors. But the threat is greatest in rural America. According to the Rural Health Research Program at the University of North Carolina, 78 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and a separate study found that more than 600 others face an uphill battle for solvency. The uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act may also play a role. If millions in rural America become uninsured, hospitals will bear the economic burden.