FLEX Program (Critical Access Hospital)

The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (FLEX) Program is a federal initiative, created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The program has two main dimensions. First, the Critical Access Hospital, program administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was launched.

For More Information about the CMS Critical Access Hospital Program:

CMS Critical Access Hospital Facts Sheet |
RHIhub Online Critical Access Hospital Information Page

Second, the FLEX program awards grants to State Governments to strengthen the rural health care system. These grants are administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the Health Resources and Services Administration. The FLEX program focuses on four core areas:

  1. Support for Quality Improvement in CAHs
  2. Support for Operational and Financial Improvement in CAHs
  3. Support for Health System Development and Community Engagement, including integrating EMS in regional and local systems of care
  4. Designation of CAHs in the State

The State Office of Rural Health, part of the Bureau of Community Health Systems (BCHS) in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is the recipient of the FLEX program in Kansas. The Office of Rural Health uses Flex resources for performance management activities, training programs, needs assessments, and network building.

Kansas Rural Health Options Project

The Kansas Rural Health Options Program (KRHOP) is a public/private partnership of not-for-profit and governmental organizations formed in the early 1990´s to address serious challenges to Kansas´ rural health system. Today, KRHOP continues to offer technical support, funding, networking opportunities and other resources to rural providers, through administration of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (FLEX) Program.

Kansas Rural Health Options Project website

Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project

In 2011, the Federal Office began a new special nation-wide Flex Program project, the Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP), focused on Medicare Beneficiary Health Status improvement.

Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) website