The Critical Access Hospital (CAH) program is for organizations that meet CMS requirements for designation as a CAH. Such an organization:

  • Is located in a state that has established a Medicare rural hospital flexibility program with CMS.
  • Has been designated by the state as a Critical Access Hospital.
  • Currently participates in Medicare as a rural public, non-profit or for-profit hospital or
    was a participating hospital that ceased operation during the 10-year period from November 29, 1989 to November 29, 1999
    or
    is a health clinic or health center that was downsized from a hospital
    and
  • Is located in a rural area or is treated as rural.
  • Is located more than a 35-mile drive from any other hospital or CAH (in mountainous terrain or in areas with only secondary roads available, the mileage criterion is 15 miles).
  • Maintains no more than 25 inpatient beds.
  • Maintains an annual average length of stay of 96 hours per patient for acute inpatient care.
  • Complies with all CAH Conditions of Participation, including the requirement to make available 24-hour emergency care services 7 days per week.