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What is a “Critical Access Hospital”?

What Makes Us A Critical Access Hospital:
Southern Inyo Healthcare District has been designated a Critical Access Hospital, as defined by the Office of Rural Health Policy (External Link), part of The Health Resources & Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Program was established to aid in the continuation of healthcare services for rural residents.

  • Aids in the continuation of health care services for rural residents.
  • Enables hospitals to be eligible for cost-based Medicare reimbursement for inpatient and outpatient services.
  • With a signed MOA, hospitals are eligible to receive enhanced reimbursement from Medicaid and the State Health Benefit Plan (SBHP).

A Critical Access Hospital:

  • Can limit services and utilize physician assistants and /or nurse practitioners in an effort to reduce their loss.
  • May choose to maintain its current services; however, the hospital must agree to the bed size and annual impatient length of stay limits.
  • Provides small, rural hospitals with a range of opportunities for service enhancement, quality of care improvement, and certain economies of scale through network participation.


  • Receive enhanced Medicare reimbursement for covered in-patient services.
  • Receive 100% of allowable costs for Medicaid out-patient services.
  • Retain any Medicaid payment for inpatient services in excess of charges.
  • Receive 100% of charges for outpatient services by the State Health Benefit Plan and Board of Regents Health Plan.
  • May enroll with SHBP as their group insurance provider.
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