4 Challenges Facing Critical Access Hospitals

Critical Access Hospitals serve a vital role for residents in rural communities who need access to emergency care. Unfortunately, many of these hospitals are on the verge of shutting down due to challenges, including staffing and finances. Despite recent legislation to helpCritical Access Hospitals need more solutions to ease the burdens that threaten them from staying open. Here’s a look at the top challenges these hospitals need help to overcome and how artificial intelligence may be part of the solution. 

1. Lack of staff  

Because Critical Access Hospitals are in rural areas, finding well-trained staff members has always been an issue. Besides location, salaries for nurses and doctors at Critical Access Hospitals also keep qualified employees from applying. These obstacles create an extreme shortage in these communities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMSsay rural communities only make up 20% of the U.S. population yet account for 65% of the physician shortfall. 

2. Uncompensated care 

Another challenge Critical Access Hospitals face is higher-than-average uninsured rates. Treating uninsured individuals increases a hospital’s uncompensated care costs. While rural hospitals treat more uninsured individuals, they also see a more significant share of patients with chronic diseases, multiple health issues, and socioeconomic disadvantages.  Rural hospitals rely on federal funding to offset some these costs, but many times it isn’t enough to cover the additional costs of these patients.  

3. Budget cuts 

Because Critical Access Hospitals rely on federal funding, budgets are often in flux. Since the government established the program in 1997, there have been many changes and modifications to Critical Access Hospital funding. These inconsistencies and consistent cuts create financial struggles that keep these hospitals from remaining open. 

4. A shift to value-based care 

A shift from volume-based care to value-based care also impacts Critical Access Hospitals. This change in care models takes a large amount of upfront capital. Not only is an investment in IT infrastructure needed, but additional staff is typically required.  As stated above, Critical Access Hospitals do not have the financial resources or availability to the team necessary for value-based reimbursement success.     

How Artificial Intelligence can help 

Xsolis offers Critical Access Hospitals, opportunities to save time and money using an artificial intelligence-based utilization review tool called Dragonfly, formerly known as CORTEX. To learn more about how Dragonfly works and how it can benefit the challenges that Critical Access Hospitals face, you can also schedule a free, noobligation demo so you can see how Xsolis can support your organization here.