Thursday, June 02, 2016

What are critical access hospitals? Where are they? Where are those that have closed? Maps show

Critical access hospitals are critical to rural health care, but some of them are in critical condition. As many as one-third are in danger of closing. Twelve have closed this year, bringing the total to 74 since 2010, They are by definition small, with limited services, but we reported May 18 that a study had shown four common surgeries are cheaper and safer at such hospitals. North Carolina Health News reported on the study May 27 and linked to a map showing the 1,284 CAHs:

The Daily Yonder picked up the story this week and added another useful map, an interactive one from the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina, showing the CAHs that have closed since 2010:

Congress developed the CAH designation to help sustain rural hospitals, with additional Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. In return, the hospitals can have no more than 25 acute-care inpatient beds, must have a full-time emergency room, must be more than 35 miles from another hospital (or 15 miles from another hospital in mountainous terrain or areas with only secondary roads), and have an annual average length of stay of no more than 96 hours for acute-care patients. For more on CAHs, from the Rural Health Information Hub, click here.

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