The Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex) provides funding to state governments to spur quality and performance improvement activities; stabilize rural hospital finance; and integrate emergency medical services (EMS) into their health care systems. Flex funding encourages the development of cooperative systems of care in rural areas.
Only states with Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) or potential CAHs are eligible for the Flex program. There are 45 states enrolled in Flex (Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island do not participate in Flex funding).
The Flex program focuses on four core areas:
- Support for Quality Improvement in CAHs
- Support for Operational and Financial Improvement in CAHs
- Support for Health System Development and Community Engagement, including integrating EMS in regional and local systems of care
- Designation of CAHs in the State
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