Critical Access Hospital Network Becomes Northwest Rural Health Network
September 1, 2016Author: Northwest Rural Health Network
As of September 1, 2016, the Critical Access Hospital Network (CAHN) has begun using a new name, the Northwest Rural Health Network. The new name better reflects our diverse membership and also the changing role of Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in their communities.
When the CAHN was formed in 2002, five CAHs came together to share information and collectively pursue grants in support of joint projects. Since that time the network has grown to include 15 members, not all of which are CAHs. The common denominator for network members is a commitment to strong rural health systems, which not only provide important services for residents and visitors but also are critical to the economic health and vitality of rural communities.
Over the last decade, the role of CAHs has expanded. While acute and emergency care will always be an important role for health systems in rural communities, increasingly CAHs are developing the capacity to deliver comprehensive population health services including primary and specialty care, preventive health services, and care coordination. This broad array of services reflects the shift in health care away from an emphasis on sickness care and toward a focus on integrated services and programs that help people get and stay healthy. This also assures that needed services are available locally, enabling more people to call rural communities home.
Members feel that the name Northwest Rural Health Network (NWRHN) is more descriptive of the comprehensive rural health systems they have become, while continuing to emphasize the importance of participation in a network that enables coordination and collaboration to improve the quality of care across the entire region.