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Critical access hospitals are key care centers for rural and underserved patient
populations across the U.S. Currently, about 20 percent of Americans live in a region considered “rural” by the U.S. government — or approximately 55 million people. Access to care facilities in rural areas, with low population density and limited public transportation options, is often restricted in these regions. The facilities that do exist, like critical access hospitals, are vital to their communities.
More than 1,300 critical access hospitals exist in the U.S., according to Definitive
Healthcare data. These hospitals face strict guidelines in order to receive federal funding. They must have 25 beds or fewer, report an average stay of under 96 hours, and be more than 35 miles from another hospital (with exceptions for difficult terrain).
Of the critical access hospitals with the highest discharge volumes, four are located in Washington — the most of any single state.
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