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 and/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.
Each hospital must review its own situation to determine if status would be advantageous. Critical Access Hospitals are certified under a different set of Medicare Conditions of Participation that are more flexible than the acute care hospital Medicare Conditions of Participation.
Some benefits of being designated a Critical Access Hospital include:
- Cost-based reimbursement from Medicare, which has the potential to increase revenues
- Focus on community needs
- Belonging to a Critical Access Hospital support network with an acute care hospital for support
- Flexible staffing and services
- Capital improvement costs included in allowable costs for determining Medicare reimbursement
- Access to Flex Program grant money