November 10, 2022

I hear the new Medicare Hospital Outpatient Payment Rules that were just published by CMS last week created a new breed of cat called a “Rural Emergency Hospital.”  What’s that?

Rural Emergency Hospitals (“REHs”) are a new provider type established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 to address the growing concern over closures of rural hospitals.  The REH designation provides an opportunity for Critical Access Hospitals (“CAHs”) and certain rural hospitals to avert potential closure and continue to provide essential services for the communities they serve.  Conversion to an REH allows the facility to continue providing emergency services, observation care, and, if elected by the REH, additional medical and health outpatient services, that do not exceed an annual per patient average of 24 hours.  The implementation of this new provider type, effective January 1, 2023, is designed to promote equity in health care for those living in rural communities by facilitating access to needed services.

For more information, see the CMS information page here.