Kansas State University


Issues in Health Reform

The role of Critical Access Hospitals for rural communities

With so much attention on The Affordable Care Act and the opening of the Exchanges some other issues important for the continued functioning of our health care delivery system, particularly in rural and frontier communities, is being overlooked.

A recent blog by Josh Freeman covers the role of Critical Access Hospitals for rural communities fairly completely.  Most of the blog covers the factual…how CAHs were created nationally in 1997, that Kansas has more than any other state (83), what role they play in providing health care to high risk populations (those with more occupational injuries…farmers, ranchers, loggers…and older Americans), and how a recent designation change will decrease how much money these hospitals recover from Medicare putting their existence at risk.  Freeman ends his argument with an opinion on the continued worthiness of CAHs.

These CAHs are all connected to a “supporting” hospital where their patients will be transferred to if care is not completed in 3 days.  Click here for a map of those Kansas networks.

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