The Illinois Department of Public Health Center for Rural Health and the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) are pleased to announce the release of a new publication that evaluates the impact of the critical access hospital program in Illinois and whether it provides the necessary financial stability to preserve access to quality health care services in rural communities.
The publication, “Illinois Critical Access Hospital Program: Learning From the Past, Building the Future,” was written in collaboration with Northern Illinois University Center for Government Studies researchers Melissa Henriksen, Norman Walzer, and Andy Blanke, and explores current and emerging issues and challenges in rural health care, while looking ahead to the future of CAHs and the CAH program in Illinois.
ICAHN, along with financial partners, Lancaster Pollard, the Murray Company, Eide Bailly LLP, Nixon Peabody, and Shive-Hattery, collaborated with the Center for Government Studies (CGS) to gain a better understanding of major demographic, economic, and policy changes affecting rural health care and how CAH designation has benefited CAHs in Illinois. The most recent report included a review of the CAH program and designation, a 2014 CGS-ICAHN survey of Illinois CAHs, and in-depth data analysis. Key themes included :
Funding was made available through the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant program of the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Illinois was the second state in the nation in 1999 to implement the critical access hospital (CAH) program, a new Medicare certification, and federal reimbursement program created to prevent small rural hospital closures. The CAH program was designed to assist these same rural hospitals in modernizing their facilities and to focus more on outpatient and primary care services needed by the rural communities served.