Eugene Benner, Western Maine Health Board Chair, and Timothy A. Churchill, President and CEO of Western Maine Health, announced today that Stephens Memorial Hospital has received Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CAH designation was created by Congress to strengthen the delivery of healthcare in rural areas. There are currently over 1300 critical access hospitals in the United States and 16 critical access hospitals in Maine.
The Critical Access Hospital survey conducted by CMS took place on November 16, 17 and 18. Stephens Memorial Hospital met and/or exceeded all the necessary requirements. This designation will not change the high quality healthcare delivered by the physicians, nurses and staff at Stephens Memorial Hospital. The designation will only strengthen the ability to continue to care for the communities we are privileged to serve.
The trend in today's healthcare is shifting toward outpatient services, thereby reducing the number of hospital inpatients. The CAH designation will allow Stephens Memorial to move towards private rooms for patients in the immediate future. Critical Access Hospital status will likely improve employee/physician staffing and existing services. Stephens Memorial Hospital will continue to provide the exceptional care and services that patients have come to expect.
Mr. Churchill stated, "Achieving Critical Access Hospital designation will provide significant improvement in reimbursement from the Medicare and MaineCare programs for hospital services. The improved reimbursement will provide financial resources that will help Stephens Memorial Hospital continue delivering high quality care to our patients and to develop programs designed to improve the health and well being of the communities we serve."
Mr. Benner noted, "Patients can expect a seamless transition, and it is our intent to remain the healthcare provider of choice for the communities we serve. The Critical Access Hospital status, along with our participation in the MMC.TUSM medical school program, will help position us favorably for the future."