Since 2010, 138 rural hospitals have closed, including 19 in 2020 alone.
To help mitigate this trend and promote health care equity in rural communities, CMS released a proposed rule with participation requirements allowing a facility to be a rural emergency hospital ( REH).
This conversion allows a facility to provide services, such as emergency services and observational care, that do not exceed an annual average per patient of 24 hours, according to ACDIS.
The REH designation was created in 2021 to help curb hospital closures, and CMS is now looking to further enable smaller facilities and critical access hospitals in rural areas to “adjust their service footprint and avoid potential closure. the rule information sheet said.
CMS also said it was seeking comments on specific standards for rural facilities. Some of these include whether an WER should be required to provide day surgery services if surgical work is needed, and whether it can allow certain providers with emergency medicine training or experience to be care by telephone or on site within a certain period of time.
“The availability of the new type of rural emergency hospital provider will maintain access to essential health services and help reduce disparities in rural communities,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement. .
Amanda Norris is Revenue Cycle Writer for HealthLeaders.