The Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act would benefit hospitals by updating the Medicare Critical Access Hospital rules to give states the authority to designate additional rural hospitals as critical access hospitals (CAH). This CAH designation gives hospitals the ability to qualify for a cost-based payment methodology.
Currently the requirements for a hospital to be designated as critical access include the hospital having fewer than 25 inpatient beds, a location 35 miles or more from other hospitals, maintaining a patient length of stay less than 96 hours and offers 24/7 emergency care. The Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act would create flexibility with the 35-mile distance requirement, giving states the power to certify a hospital as a necessary provider to obtain critical access designation. This legislation would greatly benefit hospitals that serve low income communities, hospitals in health professional shortage areas and hospitals that have operated with negative margins for multiple years.
For more information on the Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act click here.