Access Hospital

As designated by CMS

Critical Access Hospital Serving the San Bernardino Mountains

Critical Access Hospital (CAH) is a designation given to certain rural hospitals by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). This designation was created by Congress in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act in response to a string of hospital closures in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The CAH designation is designed to reduce the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals and improve access to healthcare by keeping essential services in rural communities. This is accomplished through cost-based Medicare reimbursement.

To ensure that CAHs deliver services to improve access to rural areas that need it most, restrictions exist concerning what types of hospital are eligible to the CAH designation. The primary eligibility requirements for CAHs are:

  • A CAH must have 25 or fewer acute care inpatient beds.

  • It must be located more than a 35-mile drive (or, in the case of mountainous terrain, a 15-mile drive) from a hospital or another CAH.

  • It must maintain an annual average length of stay of 96 hours or less for acute care patients.

  • Emergency care services must be available 24/7.

Joint Commission Accreditation

MCH is proud of its Joint Commission accreditation. Only 27% of Critical Access Hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission. This shows that MCH is in compliance with regulatory standards and that we meet the highest standards of quality and safety.