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Pennsylvania Recognized for Top-Performing Rural Critical Access Hospitals

July 21, 2017

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recognized Pennsylvania’s rural Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) this week for achieving the highest quality reporting rates and improved performance during the past year. Pennsylvania is among ten top-performing states that were recognized under HRSA’s Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project. HAP commends the state’s CAHs for their achievement in earning HRSA’s recognition.

Pennsylvania’s CAHs are of critical importance to rural health care; 21 percent of Pennsylvanians live in rural areas. At the same time, the state’s 15 federally-defined CAHs face significant challenges:

  • Sparse populations that are often lower income, older, and sicker
  • Geographic barriers
  • Limited resources
  • Shortages of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals

HAP continues to support and advocate for CAHs to ensure these hospitals have the funding and resources they need to continue providing and improving the high-quality care they provide to Pennsylvania’s rural residents.

HRSA is the primary federal agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tasked with improving health care to people in rural areas who often are lower income and with few options for health care services. HRSA programs focus on improving health care access and quality, educating and strengthening the health care-related workforce, addressing equity issues, and other efforts toward achieving healthier communities.

Critical Access Hospital (CAH) is a special federal designation by Congress as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, following an increase in the number of rural hospital closures across the nation. The CAH program was developed to:

  • Reduce the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals
  • Ensure and improve access to health care for rural Americans

For more information, contact HAP’s Kate Slatt, senior director, health care finance policy.

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