A 10- to 15-bed community hospital created through the "Critical Access Hospital" designation could provide better access to more services, in a safer and more comprehensive setting to patients of all ages in San Juan County according to Inter Island Medical Center Director Beth Gieger.
The medical center participated in a three-year demonstration project looking at the option of becoming an extended stay facility. With one year to go, it has been determined that such a designation will not meet the hospital district's needs. Extended care allows for reimbursement for stays of more than four hours.
"We found in our data our stays are just under four hours. Extended stay would not really be doing it for our community," Gieger said at the Sept. 20 hospital district meeting.
The next step up from extended stay facilities is a critical access hospital (CAH). Federal legislation enacted in 1997 authorized states to establish CAH in rural communities. These hospitals receive 100 percent reimbursement for medicare, according to Gieger. EMS will be able to be reimbursed by medicare for transport to the hospital. Currently they are not reimbursed when transporting a medicare patient to the medical center.
A CAH on San Juan Island could provide for:
There will be a meeting in Olympia in early October about the CAH.
The next steps in the process are:
The benefits of a Community Hospital via a CAH designation: