CMS requests applications for rural hospital payment program

CMS issued a request for hospitals to participate in the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program.

The program was established under the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003. It pays rural hospitals for inpatient hospital services using a cost-based methodology. Under the ACA, the program was extended five years and was expanded another five years under the 21st Century Cures Act enacted in 2016.

To participate in the program, applicant hospitals must house fewer than 51 acute care inpatient beds, 24-hour emergency care services and be ineligible for or not have Critical Access Hospital designation.

A maximum of 30 hospitals are allowed to participate in the program. Priority consideration will be given to hospitals in one of the 20 states with the lowest population densities.   

Applications are due to CMS by May 17.  

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