Supporting CAHs during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results of a Survey of State Flex Coordinators
COVID-19, rural, Critical Access Hospitals, survey, MRHRC, Flex Program
COVID-19 has exacerbated the financial and operational vulnerabilities of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), including loss of revenue, reductions in non-emergent utilization, shortages of specialized equipment (personal protective equipment, testing supplies, and ventilators) and limited capacity to care for COVID-19 patients. Due to these challenges, many CAHs are at increased risk for closure and others will emerge from this pandemic in significantly weakened financial states.
Under the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program, State Flex Programs (SFPs) receive grant funding to support CAHs. COVID-19 complicated the work of SFPs and caused many to reassess their activities to better assist CAHs during the pandemic. Research staff in the Flex Monitoring Team at the University of Southern Maine administered a survey to collect information on COVID-19’s impact on CAHs, SFP efforts to support CAHs during the pandemic, their plans to support CAHs once the immediate crisis has passed, and SFP promising strategies. The survey also collected information on the immediate and post-pandemic technical assistance and resources needed by SFPs to support CAHs. This paper reports on the results of this survey and provides links to resources to assist SFPs in their efforts to support CAHs.
FMI: please contact John Gale, firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID-19, pandemic, rural hospitals, survey,
Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
Gale J, Croll Z, Jonk Y, Kahn-Troster S, Pearson K. Supporting CAHs during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results of a Survey of State Flex Coordinators. University of Southern Maine, Flex Monitoring Team;2020.