A capacity crowd assembled Wednesday at the Mason County Health Department for a public hearing on the state of rural hospitals in Kentucky. The hearing was lead by Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen and is one of 10 being conducted in the state. The focus of the hearings is to get a realistic feeling for issues facing rural Kentucky hospitals in areas of reimbursements, private insurance carriers and managed care regulations. Edelen has called the situation for rural hospitals as being "in critical condition," citing difficult financial times being experienced at the state's 66 rural hospitals. He said the situation is particularly bad in eastern Kentucky, which has been hit by cuts to the coal industry.