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Critical Access Hospital Regulations

Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) must be located in a rural area or an area treated as rural; be more than 35 miles(or 15 miles in areas with mountainous terrain or only secondary roads available) from another hospital, or be certified before January 1, 2006 by the State as being a necessary provider of heath care services. CAHs are required to make available 24-hour emergency care services that a State determines are necessary. CAHs may have a maximum of 25 acute care and swing beds, and must maintain an annual average length of stay of 96 hours or less for their acute care patients. CAHs are reimbursed by Medicare on a cost basis (i.e., for the reasonable costs of providing inpatient, outpatient, and swing bed services).

New CMS Training Materials on Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)