Critical Access Hospital Program:

Issue 2:  Collaborating for Effective Rural Health Care | January 2013 

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As health care budgets tighten and professional resources become more limited, critical access hospitals (CAHs) may need to consider collaboration as an option to maintain local viability, allowing CAHs to continue providing access to care and quality services for their rural residents. Collaborative health care models are becoming commonplace in today's health care vocabulary, and already several

Midwest CAHs in six states are participating in these types of models. This paper will describe the experiences of these CAHs through survey findings and highlight effective approaches taken to achieve successful rural collaboration. The paper will also identify issues that precipitate discussions about collaborative partnerships and explain what may or may not change as collaborations become more formalized. In addition, implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is accelerating discussions about collaboration among providers in an effort to move to a quality, outcome-based care system as opposed to a volume-driven payment system. CAHs will need to determine which collaborative initiatives are the best match for their organizations and recognize that important unique challenges exist in addressing the long-term sustainability of rural providers.

Issue 1:  Enhancing Quality of Care in Rural Illinois | April 2012 

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Critical access hospitals (CAHs) are essential to rural health care and play an important role in its delivery as a safety net for rural patients. While CAHs operate in a challenging environment, this report focuses on the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) and Illinois CAHs commitment to provide high quality health care despite limited resources, both financial and personnel. Illinois CAHs rank high on several nationally measured patient outcomes, patient satisfaction indicators, and provide a high value, affordable option for rural patients. They are also exploring "rural relevant" measures that consider the distinct characteristics of rural health care delivery, while continuing efforts to increase the number of CAHs reporting on all national measures, and prepare for upcoming required reporting. ICAHN and Illinois CAHs recognize that the effort to accomplish meaningful quality of care outcomes is major, but delivering effective care will benefit patients, hospitals, and the community as a whole.


Economic and Community Impact in Illinois | May 2011 

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The Illinois Critical Access Network (ICAHN) is a not-for-profit entity that works with member critical access hospitals to share resources, provide education opportunities, promote operational efficiency and improve health services in their respective communities. In 2006, ICAHN partnered with the Center for Governmental Studies (CGS) at Northern Illinois University (NIU) to analyze the economic impact critical access hospitals (CAHs) generate in Illinois. This project builds on that work.The current project updates information on the effects of CAH designation on various aspects of CAH operations, including revenues and expenditures. This report examines four additional areas: the current economic condition of CAHs and services provided; the impact of the current recession and CAH responses; the economic impact of CAHs on their communities, regions, and statewide; and CAHs adaptation to technology, organizational and personnel changes, and related trends.