The Critical Access Hospital Network (CCAHN)

The California Critical Access Hospital Network (CCAHN) is a statewide organization which exists for the purpose of creating collaborative working relationships among California critical access hospitals to strengthen its members through sharing resources, education, and innovation.

The CCAHN’s mission: Working together to strengthen the health of our communities.


Flex Grant
Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (FLEX/CAH) Program

This website is funded by the California Department of Health Services, State Office of Rural Health, through a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Rural Health Policy.

The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (FLEX/CAH) Program provides Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and eligible CAHs with resources and expert services; monitors and ensures the completion of sub-contracted FLEX/CAH technical assistance and services, including Quality Improvement (QI) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training and projects; and, supports the network activities of the California Critical Access Hospital Network (CCAHN).

Although focused on small, rural hospitals, the Flex program operates on the National, State, community, and facility levels to cover a broad range of fundamental health service issues and “modernization” goals. State use Flex resouces for performance management activities, training programs, needs assessments, and network building. Efforts have included the use of a balanced scorecard approach, forming relationships with state Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs), developing quality improvement-related networks, and participating in national quality improvement and reporting efforts.

The Flex program requires States to develop rural health plans, and funds their efforts to implement community-level outreach and technical assistance to advance the following goals:

  • Improve quality of care and performance management
  • Improve and integrate EMS
  • Develop and implement rural health networks
  • Support existing CAHs and eligible hospitals
  • Designate CAHs in the State

Only states with Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) or potential CAHs are eligible for the Flex program.


2010 Report from the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services Now Available

It is a pleasure to announce the release of the National Advisory Committee on
Rural Health and Human Services’ 2010 Report to the Secretary.


Victory for California Hospitals in CRNA Lawsuit

In a significant victory for California hospitals, the Superior Court in the County of San Francisco today granted motions for summary judgment, affirming Gov. Schwarzenegger’s decision to opt-out of the supervision requirement for certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), under a discretionary provision in federal law. The lawsuit was brought by the California Society of Anesthesiologists and the California Medical Association against the Governor and intervening party, the California Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

News Article

New Funds Support Rural Hospitals’ Switch to Electronic Health Records
US Department of Health & Human Services, September 10, 2010

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced nearly $20 million in new technical support assistance to help critical access and rural hospital facilities convert from paper-based medical records to certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. Some 1,655 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country, headquartered in the District of Columbia, stand to benefit from this assistance, which can help each of them qualify for substantial EHR incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid.

News Article

UnitedHealth Group to Invest $10M to Improve HIT Systems at California’s Critical Access Hospitals
UnitedHealth Group, September 1, 2010

Sacramento, Calif. – UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) has announced it will invest $10 million to help California’s Critical Access Hospitals improve their health information technology (IT) systems and adopt electronic health records.

California’s Critical Access Hospitals are health care facilities with a maximum of 25 beds and located in a rural area at least 35 miles from another hospital, or a rural hospital that is 15 miles from another hospital in mountainous terrain or areas with only secondary roads.


Rural Health Network Development Program

The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has issued a grant opportunity for the creation of Rural Health Networks (RHNs) to enhance the delivery of health care in rural areas. RHNs must consist of three or more existing, separately-owned nonprofit entities that share a formal, committed and measurable goal of improving rural health care.