About AZ Flex
The Center for Rural Health coordinates the state’s Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex Program). Congress established the Flex Program through the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to help address the Medicare reimbursement disparity found between urban and rural hospitals. The Flex Program puts significant effort into designating Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in each state and also aims to improve access to preventive and emergency health care services for rural populations. The funding encourages the development of cooperative systems of care in rural areas, bringing together CAHs, EMS providers, clinics, and health practitioners to increase efficiencies and quality of care.
The CRH first received funding for the Arizona Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (AZ Flex) in 1999. Since then, it has become Arizona's foremost technical assistance and information resource for the State's CAHs and hospital-based rural health clinics (RHCs). The AZ Flex goals focus on the following areas:
- Improve the quality of rural health care.
- Improve AZ-CAH financial and operational performance.
- Support health system development and community engagement.
- Enable CAH status to interestedand eligible rural hospitals