Critical Access Hospitals

CAHs are rural community hospitals that receive cost-based reimbursement. To be designated a CAH, a rural hospital must meet defined criteria that were outlined in the Conditions of Participation 42CFR485 and subsequent legislative refinements to the program through the BBRA, BIPA, the Medicare Modernization Act, the MIPPA, and the PPACA.

The AHA ensures that the unique needs of its various constituents are heard and addressed in national health policy development, legislative and regulatory debates, and judicial matters. Indeed, from its initial creation as part of the Balance Budget Act of 1997, the AHA has been a champion of the development and subsequent improvements and enhancements of the CAH program.

Securing the future of CAHs and the essential role they play in caring for rural America is of paramount importance. The AHA is vigilant in the face of legislative, regulatory and policy proposals that threaten the local delivery of care and rural community health status. The AHA will continue to advocate on behalf of CAHs for fixes to payment and administrative limitations that constrain the efficiency and effectiveness of these essential health care providers.


Representation and Advocacy


Legislation CAH Legislative History

Additional Resources

  • The national CAH database provides the name, location, size, and date of certification for all 1,300+ CAHs in the U.S.
  • October 2015 SOM Manual


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