The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) included in the federal fiscal year 2015 inpatient final rule an update to the most recent Office of Management and Budget’s metropolitan area delineations. These changes resulted in some critical access hospitals (CAHs) that were previously located in rural areas or rural census tracts to now be located in urban areas effective October 1, 2014. CMS is providing a two-year transition period until September 30, 2016, for affected CAHs to reclassify as rural in order to retain their CAH status.

All hospitals with active rural reclassifications should review their original application to determine whether the reclassification status would still apply. An approved rural reclassification remains in effect without need for reapproval unless there is a change in the circumstances under which the classification was approved. If a CAH was approved for reclassification based on being located in a rural census tract of an urban area but is no longer in a rural census tract under the new delineations, the reclassification would no longer be valid, and the CAH would be required to reapply under another qualifying criteria in order to retain its CAH status after September 30, 2016.

If you have any questions or need assistance applying for rural reclassification, please contact our Albany office at (229) 883-7878 or our Atlanta office at (404) 220-8494.