NEWPORT, VT – North Country Hospital was recently named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States in the first ever comprehensive rating of critical access hospitals.
The list was compiled by The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) using the Hospital Strength Index, an objective way of measuring 56 different performance metrics in three categories: market strength, value-based strength, and financial strength.
Only three Vermont hospitals, the others being Copley Hospital in Morrisville and Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, made the list. There are 1,327 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States, according to the Rural Assistance Center.
"We are truly honored to be recognized as one of the top performing Critical Access Hospitals in the country," says Sheryl Washburn, VP of Patient Care Services at North Country Hospital. "The combination of expertise from our clinicians, training and dedication of our employees, and guidance from our Board of Directors has allowed North Country to enhance our operations as a Critical Access Hospital and to keep our focus on our top priority—the patients."
"Now is the time for us to advance the analytics and transparency of the rural health sector," said Alan Morgan, chief executive officer of the National Rural Health Association. "We play such a critical role in providing needed care to Americans, yet our challenges are completely different in access while equally complex in delivery as urban hospitals."
NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research.
The Hospital Strength Index™ incorporates 56 different measures of performance to help identify those hospitals that are best prepared for success under the new healthcare reforms. The Index includes a unique set of measures rating Market Strength, Value-based Strength (quality, outcomes, patient perspectives, and cost and charge indicators) and long term Financial Strength as key pillars for benchmarking and setting new goals under health reform.
A Critical Access Hospital (CAH) is a hospital certified to receive cost-based reimbursement from Medicare. This program is intended to reduce hospital closures in rural areas, promotes a process for improving rural health care, and focuses on community needs. CAHs must have a maximum of 25 acute care inpatient beds and provide 24-hour emergency services, with medical staff on-site. CAHs must be located in a rural area and be more than 35 miles from another hospital, or 15 miles from another hospital in mountainous terrain or areas with only secondary roads.