A budget package approved by Congress in late 2020 included a measure creating a new provider type through the Medicare program. Rural acute-care hospitals with 50 or fewer beds, including critical-access hospitals, can seek to be designated as rural emergency hospitals. The designation will provide flexibility regarding certain Medicare rules that can pose challenges for rural hospitals.
In an opinion piece for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, ACHI Health Policy Director Craig Wilson discusses this new option and how Arkansas’s struggling rural healthcare system can make the most of it.
“When we emerge from the pandemic ― and we will ― we should emerge with a purpose and take advantage of new opportunities to redesign our hospitals to optimize both their responsiveness to local needs and their financial stability,” Wilson writes.
For more on rural health care in Arkansas, see our Rural Health Insights page.