Preserving CAH Status
One of the best ways that the federal government can show its appreciation for the work of rural providers would be to outright reject or at least very carefully scrutinize any reconfiguration of critical-access status for small and isolated hospitals.
"If we lost our critical access hospital status that would have a very bad affect on the people we serve," Bengtson says "We have a primary service area of least 30,000 people, and there would be a lot of people around here who would automatically lose access to a lot of needed services. Would the hospital go out of existence all together? No. But it probably would have to morph into something that would be much less than what it is capable of doing now."
"Frankly, the benefit of what we have to offer the population would be much diminished and also the population would be very disappointed. When I ask people 'what do you need from us?' their answer is almost uniformly 'be there. Be there now. Be there in five years. Be there in 10 years. Be there in 20 years for my family.' That is what people are looking for."