Minnesota Rural Hospital Flexibility Program and Critical Access Hospital Information
The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program was created to improve access and quality and relieve some of the financial pressures on rural hospitals and emergency medical services.
The focus of Minnesota’s Flex Program is supporting rural systems of care with the Critical Access Hospital as the hub. The Flex Program provides support and assistance by:
- Providing financial assistance to rural hospitals through grants and other programs
- Offering information, training and technical assistance on topics related to CAH operations
- Acting as the liaison between communities and federal and state programs
- Providing related program planning and research
- Implementing program enhancements
- Monitoring and communicating changes in federal programs
- Convening the Flex Program Advisory Committee and
- Evaluating program performance.
Other elements of the Flex Program
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS): EMS services are vital to rural communities and an essential element of emergency preparedness. Flex-funded EMS projects help rural EMS providers with challenges like staff recruitment, retention and training, and operations issues such as reimbursement and environmental hazard management.
- Quality and Performance Improvement: Small rural hospitals often lack the capacity and resources to pursue organized quality improvement initiatives. Flex funding promotes optimum care, improves patient health and safety, and promotes and preserves local access to care.
- Promoting Networks and Community Development: Many rural hospitals cannot support a full range of specialty and high tech services. Well-organized networks can promote system efficiency, help hospitals maintain their census and maintain compliance with CAH rules.