Rural Emergency Hospitals
Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) is a designation given to eligible rural hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that began on January 1, 2023. Congress established the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) designation in December 2020 in Section 125 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 (Public Law 116-260) and in response to the loss of essential healthcare services in rural areas due to hospital closures. According to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, 140 rural hospitals closed between January 2010 and September 30, 2022. In addition, a February 2020 Chartis Group report identified 453 financially vulnerable rural hospitals at risk of closing.
The REH designation is designed to maintain access to critical outpatient hospital services in communities that may not be able to support or sustain a Critical Access Hospital or small rural hospital. REHs are required to provide 24-hour emergency and observation services and can elect to furnish other outpatient services. Facilities designated as an REH will receive enhanced Medicare payments for certain outpatient services and additional monthly payments. Learn more about REH on ruralhealthinfo.org.