Critical Access Hospital

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A critical access hospital is defined as a rural acute care facility providing 24-hour emergency services, acute inpatient and swing-bed care and offers inpatient stay up to 96 hours on average.

A recent report sites the state's critical access hospitals as the best in the nation. The federal Health Resources and Services Administration reported Wisconsin's rural hospitals achieved the highest reporting rates and levels of improvement in the country over the past year.

For now, a move to cut a subsidy critical for some Northwoods hospitals has been put to the back burner says a hospital group spokesperson.

In August, the Wisconsin Hospital Association put out alarm bells about funding for "Critical Access Hospitals". A federal Health and Human Services Inspector General recommended removing critical access hospitals from Medicare payment status. The money from the federal budget helps the most rural of hospitals maintain service and without it, experts say, it could end service in those communities.