AHA, in comments today to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, voiced support for the agency’s new rural emergency hospital designation, particularly its potential value in the area of maternal health. “It is undeniable that access to maternal and child care services is lacking in certain areas of the country, including many rural communities,” AHA wrote. “Therefore, we support the agency’s proposal to allow REHs to provide labor and delivery services.” AHA suggested that CMS consider “approaches to ensuring the skills and resources needed will be on hand to provide life-sustaining care in the event of an unexpected complication during delivery.” AHA also weighed in on appropriateness of provider on-call and proximity; annual per patient average length of stay; transfer agreements with level I or level II trauma centers; and updates to critical access hospital conditions of participation. 

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