Critical Access designation a top priority for Newman Regional Health

Newman Regional Health is pushing ahead with its goal of obtaining a Critical Access Hospital designation.

The move would solidify outside federal funding for Medicaid patient care and could lead to millions of extra dollars in revenue for the hospital, which has been struggling financially the past four years.

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Interim Director John Rossfeld says one benefit for patients would be in more high-tech equipment. The hospital is considering the purchase of a CT scanner, and Critical Access funds would help pay for that.

Rossfeld says the political landscape at the federal level is making it more important for the hospital to gain Critical Access status.

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Critical Access designation would mean one change in that the hospital could only have 25 available beds for acute care, but inpatient rehab, nursery and observation patients would not be included in that total. Newman Regional Health would also maintain its 24-7 emergency room, and administrators say the hospital would have more flexibility with federal regulations than it currently has.

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