Rural Health Care

About Rural Health Care

California’s nearly five dozen rural hospitals — providing care to more than 2 million people — are both lifelines and economic pillars for the communities they serve. Many of these hospitals are on the financial brink, reducing services just to stay open, or they face the possibility of closure. These situations place the most vulnerable populations at risk as Californians will have to travel great distances to get the care they need.

The California Critical Access Hospital Network (CCAHN) is a statewide organization which exists for the purpose of creating collaborative working relationships among California critical access hospitals to strengthen its members through sharing resources, education, and innovation.

CHA Aims Rural Hospital Social Media Campaign at Lawmakers

What’s happening: This week, CHA launched a social media campaign highlighting the challenges rural hospitals – particularly critical access hospitals – face and urging lawmakers to act so that rural health care is preserved.  

What else to know: The campaign is intended to cultivate support for Senate Bill (SB) 1423 (Dahle, R-Bieber), which would provide additional financial support for California’s critical access hospitals (a concurrent budget effort is underway). CHA-sponsored SB 1423 will be heard in the Senate Health Committee on April 24. 

Hospital Leaders Share Access Concerns with Lawmakers

What’s happening: CHA convened a gathering in Sacramento of critical access hospital (CAH) leaders, legislators, and staff this week in support of Senate Bill (SB) 1423 (Dahle, R-Bieber), which aims to stabilize health care services in rural, remote communities.  

What else to know: On Tuesday, leaders from eight CAHs visited the offices of 12 lawmakers to convey the serious challenges they face keeping their doors open and the threat posed by the loss of hospital services in rural and underserved communities.   

MedPAC to Develop Rural Hospital and Clinician Payment Workplan

What’s happening: The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is developing a rural hospital and clinician payment policy workplan for 2024–25.  

What else to know: The March MedPAC meeting included discussion to inform a future recommendation to Congress related to rural hospitals.  

CHA’s Rural Health Care Symposium Brings Hospital Leaders Together on Critical Issues

What’s happening: Timely educational offerings and productive discussions at CHA’s Rural Health Care Symposium on March 4-5 will help shape future organizational strategies for rural and critical access hospitals.  

What else to know: With record attendance, the 71 members representing 35 rural and critical access hospitals received updates on CHA’s state and federal legislative efforts, rural seismic strategies, and Medi-Cal and state finances.