Athol Hospital Gains ‘Critical Access Status’

ATHOL – Athol Memorial Hospital received an official notification letter, dated Jan. 9, 2006 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, granting Critical Access Hospital status, retroactive to Dec. 1, 2005.

The sought-after designation was granted after the hospital successfully completed the specific requirements and review process needed for approval. Only three other hospitals in the state; Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital in Oak Bluffs, and Nantucket Cottage Hospital in Nantucket, have earned the distinction.

This certification allows Athol Memorial to receive cost-based reimbursements from the federal government for Medicare services the hospital provides for patients. Prior to Critical Access status, AMH was paid for services to Medicare patients through a “prospective payment system,” based on predetermined compensation amounts correlated to patient diagnosis, rather than actual number of treatments, interventions or length of stay. Medicaid outpatient services, as well, will be reimbursed on a “payment amount per episode” basis, which boosts the payment rate by 30{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} for those services.