- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

JAMESTOWN, N.D. (AP) - The hospital in Jamestown will retain its federal designation as a critical access facility after coming close to losing it, according to North Dakota’s congressional delegation.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently said the Jamestown Regional Medical Center’s designation might be revoked because it was too close to the State Hospital in Jamestown. Hospitals deemed “critical access” must be located more than 35 miles from another hospital.

However, the State Hospital’s mission is to treat people with mental illness and substance abuse problems.

“(It) doesn’t provide the broad range of services that JRMC does - from day-and-night emergency services, to run-of-the-mill checkups,” said. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Federal officials this week agreed to continue the critical access designation for the regional hospital.

The facility “provides important care to this community, and this designation makes a big difference to the center’s financial reimbursement and strength,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

The critical access designation aims to enhance Medicare reimbursement to help keep rural hospitals in business. The Jamestown facility, which serves about 60,000 people in nine counties, has had the designation since 2009. Revoking it “would have been a very major mistake, and real detrimental to health care in and around the Jamestown area,” said Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

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