BROOKINGS, Ore. — After a tense month, the administration of Curry Medical Center in Brookings can breathe a sigh of relief. They just received a letter on Monday indicating that they'll be able to stay a Critical Access Hospital (CAH).
The CAH designation is bestowed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on rural hospitals, to help keep them afloat in order to serve communities that otherwise would not have access to medical services.
In early April, Curry General Hospital was notified by the CMS that they did not meet the requirements for participation in Medicare’s program as a CAH.
The CMS decision came due to a supposed proximity violation—because Sutter Coast Health Center is less than 35 miles away (also in Brookings), and Sutter Coast Hospital is in Crescent City.
Virginia A. Razo, Chief Executive Officer for Curry Health Network, requested a review of the ruling, and submitted supplementary information in defense of retaining their status.
Late this afternoon, Razo was notified that Curry did indeed meet the necessary provider requirements. On top of that, Curry’s provider-based site in Brookings was “grandfathered in,” because its CAH status was granted prior to proximity restrictions.
Razo had briefed the Brookings City Council at 4 p.m. today, updating them about the possible loss, before receiving notice that their status would not change. Had Razo not prevailed in keeping Curry’s status, the hospital and clinic could have been in jeopardy of losing certain funding from Medicare and Medicaid.