Mississippi hospital denied critical access status

CMS has declined to designate Greenwood (Miss.) Leflore Hospital as a critical access hospital, Mississippi Today reported Sept. 11. 

The acute-care hospital submitted an application to the agency to transfer to a critical access hospital, which Medicare reimburses at a higher rate. CMS' office in Atlanta sent a letter to interim CEO Gary Marchand rejecting the application, but hospital leaders are hoping that the agency's national office in Washington, D.C., will approve its request, according to the report. 

Critical access hospitals must be 35 miles from the nearest hospital, and South Sunflower County Hospital in Indianola, Miss., is 28 miles from Greenwood Leflore, according to Mississippi Today. CMS' Atlanta office cited the hospital's proximity to nearby hospitals as a reason for the rejected application.

The news comes after Greenwood Leflore — which is co-owned by the city and county — is going up for lease again amid ongoing financial challenges. The hospital has also closed several service lines and laid off dozens of workers in recent months.

The 208-bed facility has enough funds to maintain operations until 2024, but it is looking for bidders to buy or lease the hospital and prevent it from closure, according to the report. 

CMS' regional office is expected to make a decision on the critical access application by the end of year.

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