What Is a Critical Access Hospital?
All six of the partner hospitals for the Cancer Center of Western Wisconsin are designed critical access hospitals.
A critical access hospital meets criteria for being a limited service hospital that has been converted to a special designation under the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant Program. The majority of critical access hospitals are in health professional shortage areas or medical underserved areas.
A critical access hospital is certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare. The reimbursement is intended to improve financial performance and thereby reduce hospital closures to promote local, rural access.
Some benefits of being designated a critical access hospital include:
- Cost-based reimbursement from Medicare
- Focus on community needs
- Membership in a critical access hospital support network with an acute care hospital for support
- Flexible staffing and services
- Capital improvement costs allowed to be included for determining Medicare reimbursement
- Flex program grant money access
For more information about Critical Access Hospitals, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.