Medicare Rural Health Flexibility Program (FLEX)

Critical Access Hospital Grants & Improvement Initiatives

“The FLEX Program” refers to the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, which was created by Congress in 1997. It allows small hospitals to be certified as Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). FLEX offers grants to states to help implement initiatives to strengthen the rural health care infrastructure. The grant program is administered by the Health Resources Service Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. HRSA is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Improved Quality Through Operational and Financial Support

The Flex program focuses on four core areas:

  1. Support for Quality Improvement
  2. Support for Operational and Financial Improvement
  3. Support for Population Health Management and Emergency Medical Services Integration
  4. Conversion of Small Rural Hospitals to Critical Access Hospital (CAH) status

Participating states (currently 45 of 50) are required to develop a rural health care plan that:

  • Provides for the creation of one or more rural health networks
  • Promotes regionalization of rural health services in the state
  • Improves the quality and accessibility of hospital and other health services for rural residents of the state

Medicare FLEX Quarterly Meetings and Events

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Medicare FLEX Agendas & Presentations

Medicare FLEX Reports