American Hospital Association
Health Research & Educational Trust

Rural and Critical Access Hospitals (CAH)


Rural and critical access hospitals serve over one fifth of our nation’s population and face unique barriers unlike our urban populations. From being the sole provider in an area to being a cornerstone of the community, rural and critical access hospitals are tasked with meeting the needs of all that pass through. More rural and critical access hospitals are finding innovative ways to adapt to the changing health care system to improve their community and are more nimble than their urban counterparts in tailoring these interventions to reach success.


From 2015 to 2016, the AHA/HRET HEN 2.0 had 536 (35 percent) CAHs and 613 (41 percent) rural hospitals.