Does the Conversion of Critical Access Hospitals into Freestanding Emergency Departments Represent a Financially Viable Way to Maintain Rural Access to Emergency Care?

From the JFSEM:

When compared to urban centers, rural communities struggle with increased health problems, lower average income, and less physician coverage. These factors combine to make the financial viability of rural hospitals a tenuous situation. These hospitals continue to close despite receiving federal assistance from the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) program and through Medicaid expansion associated with the Affordable Care Act. The goals of retaining both local emergency care and a financially stable health care facility may be met by converting CAHs into Freestanding Emergency Departments (FSEDs). Unique business models employed by academic institutions, hospital corporations, and independent emergency centers that operate FSEDs could be used to face challenges that have caused rural hospitals to close.

Physicians Rally on Hill to Safeguard Emergency Care

From Medscape:

About 500 physicians, researchers, and academics converged on Capitol Hill at the end of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) 2017 Scientific Assembly on Wednesday to advocate for protections for themselves and the patients in their care.

The white-coat-clad group, calm and focused, separated into state delegations to embark on 350 scheduled meetings with Congressional representatives and staff members.

Officials want 7-day cap on opioids

From Crain’s (Chicago):

In an unusual bipartisan move, the heads of three of the biggest Chicago-area governments are asking major medical groups to step up pressure on their members to generally limit opioid prescriptions to no more than seven days at a time.

In a joint letter—you can read it below—Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin called the level of opioid addiction “intolerable” and declared, “It is time for you and your members to take bold action to stop the rampant over-prescribing and abuse of pharmaceutical opioids.”

Emanuel and Preckwinkle are Democrats; Cronin is a Republican. The letter was sent to the Chicago-based American Medical Association and American Dental Association, and to the American Pharmacists Association in Washington.

In rural America, some hospitals find a way to prosper and grow

From Healthcare Dive:

Given external financial pressures and the uncertainty around federal funding for Medicaid and the ACA cost-sharing subsidies, rural hospitals will continue to be stressed. “There’s a lot of doom and gloom about rural,” March concedes. “But if we’re allowed to be creative and so some fun things like the ACO, then there’s a lot we can do to maintain local healthcare for our communities.”