Rural Emergency Hospitals: Q&A
This Briefing is brought to you by AHLA’s Regulation, Accreditation, and Payment Practice Group.
- November 29, 2022
- Emily W.G. Towey , Hancock Daniel & Johnson PC
- Zada Hall , Hancock Daniel & Johnson PC
Health care shortages pose an acute threat to rural communities across the United States. With insufficient health resources, residents of rural America frequently experience delays in care, preventable hospitalizations, and poor medical outcomes. In the past 12 years, 138 rural hospitals, including 44 critical access hospitals, have stopped providing inpatient care; 75 of these institutions have closed their doors altogether. Providers attribute many of these closures and reductions in service to a rural facility’s competing obligations. Medicare reimbursement is conditioned upon the provision of traditional hospital inpatient acute care, but rural hospitals commonly lack the patient volume necessary to sustain profitability while offering such a breadth of services. Seeking to address this rural health care crisis, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) on December 27, 2020. The CAA authorizes the establishment of a new, Medicare-eligible provider type: The rural emergency hospital (REH).
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