The Critical Access Hospital Program allows hospitals under Washington's medical assistance programs to receive payment for hospital services based on allowable costs, rather than a set amount per diagnosis or procedure, and to have more flexibility in staffing. There are 39 hospitals in Washington that are federally certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service as Critical Access Hospitals. These are hospitals with 25 beds or fewer that are generally located in rural areas. They must deliver continuous emergency department services, and they may not have an average length of stay of more than 96 hours per patient. Most Critical Access Hospitals are operated by public hospital districts.
Beginning January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2028, Medicaid payments for acute care services provided by a hospital are increased to 120 percent of the hospital's fee-for-service rate for inpatient services and 200 percent of the hospital's fee-for-service rate for outpatient services, when services are provided by a hospital that: