It’s Official: CMS Creates New Rural Emergency Hospital Provider Type

By A.J. Plunkett

CMS has finalized the rural emergency hospital (REH) as a new provider type in the hopes of helping rural areas keep much needed healthcare services as hospitals continue to close.

In its annual final rule on hospital outpatient prospective payment and ambulatory surgical center payment systems, scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on November 23, CMS also finalized a set of REH Conditions of Participation (CoP), which it says track closely with CoPs for critical access hospitals.

“REHs are facilities that convert from either a critical access hospital (CAH) or a rural hospital (or one treated as such under section 1886(d)(8)(E) of the Social Security Act) with not more than 50 beds and that do not provide acute care inpatient services, with the exception of post-hospital extended care services furnished in a distinct part unit licensed as a skilled-nursing facility,” according to a CMS fact sheet.

“Along with the REH Conditions of Participation, the policies in this final rule will allow rural hospitals to seek this new designation and provide continued access to emergency services, observation care, and any additional outpatient services elected by the REH,” said CMS.

A.J. Plunkett is editor of Inside Accreditation & Quality, an HCPro publication.