Saturday, January 12, 2008

Critical Access Law -- What Does It Mean?

Critical access law came into play recently and it has changed the regulations and how they apply to critical access hospitals. There is however a problem with the critical access law in that it does not provide consistencies with different state statutes. This has led to much confusion and may outcries of protest from different parties involved with and affected by the critical access law.

The critical access law has affected a very important factor in hospitals. The critical access law has changed the definition of a rural hospital. This change caused by the critical access law is a serious concern not only for those who have to go to the hospital for treatment each and every day, but also for those who work there. The critical access law has also affected how different hospitals get funding for what they need. The critical access law has also changed the number of swing beds that a hospital is allowed to have on its floors. Swing beds are important and the critical access law has failed to take them into consideration properly.

Swing beds are needed in order for patients to be able to get the transitional treatment that they need between wards. With critical access law the way it is this is not possible for many patients and their treatment will be hurt as a result thus causing more serious problems in their future. Because of the critical access law less beds are being set aside for swing care even though the federal legislation has allowed for them. As many as 15 of these beds are not being used as they need to be due to critical access law.

Even the number of beds throughout the hospital are being affected by critical access law. Many hospitals have les beds than before since critical access law came into existence. This means that patients who need treatment are either not getting treated or they are having to travel much farther to get the life saving treatments that they need so desperately.

Even though federal law allows for more beds the critical access law does not. SO what can a hospital do except err on the side of caution? Even though they can according to the federal government have more beds they do not for fear of bringing the long arm of the critical access law down upon themselves.