critical access hospital

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critical access hospital2016-12-19T05:36:06+00:00

critical access hospital


A category of health center created by the US Congress in 1997 in response to the accelerating closures of rural hospitals. Critical access hospitals have 25 beds or less and, when the program began, were to be located at least 35 miles from the nearest alternative point of inpatient care*.

*A requirement which has been relaxed to the point where only 20% of CAHs meet this requirement. The 30-day mortality of patients admitted to CAHs for acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and pneumonia increased from 2002-2010, so one might conclude they haven’t been a resounding success story. 

Reference JAMA 2013; 309:13979-1387

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