ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca Earns National Recognition

Named Top 20 Critical Access Hospital

September 23, 2020

WAUPACA, Wis. – ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca was recently recognized as a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital in the nation as determined by the Chartis Center for Rural Health, and announced by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). The recognition comes during a virtual awards ceremony during NRHA’s Critical Access Hospital Conference.

“This recognition is a true honor,” said Dale Gisi, Senior Vice President for the ThedaCare Central Region. “It demonstrates ThedaCare’s commitment to easy access to outstanding care, while fulfilling our mission of improving the health of the communities we serve. Our team members are dedicated to keeping our patients and families safe and healthy, now and always.” 

According to the NRHA, the determining factors for the Top 20 CAHs were based on the results of the Hospital Strength Index and its eight indices of performance: inpatient market share, outpatient market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, cost, charge, and financial efficiency. This elite group of hospitals was selected from the Chartis Center for Rural Health’s 2020 Top 100 CAH list, which was released earlier this year. Along with ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca, ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano was also named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital.

“We know needs are different for people living in rural areas,” said David Corso, Vice President of the ThedaCare Central Region, which includes ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca. “Our teams work to understand a person’s unique medical background, lifestyle and personal goals, getting patients back to living their best life, sooner.” 

For the purpose of health care, ‘rural’ is defined as a geographic area with low population size and density. It can be a town, a small city or a township. The term Critical Access Hospital (CAH) is a designation given to eligible rural hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which includes some of the following criteria:
  • Have 25 or less acute care beds. 
  • Maintain an annual average length of stay of 96 hours per patient for acute inpatient care.
  • Be 15 to 35 miles away from the nearest hospital, depending on the local system of highways.
  • Provide emergency care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) notes that one in five Americans live in a rural area, and those areas face unique health care needs. Currently there are 1,300 CAHs in the United States. In the ThedaCare health system, its Medical Centers in Berlin, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose are designated as CAHs.

“Rural hospitals must address the specific issues of our small communities,” said Corso. “We work every day to meet wide-ranging health and wellness needs, including providing care for an aging population, treating and maintaining chronic conditions and ensuring access for a larger percentage of uninsured and underinsured people.” 

According to the Wisconsin Health Association (WHA), the federal Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has ranked Wisconsin’s Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) third best in the nation for health care quality reporting and improvement measures. Wisconsin’s CAHs came in third for 2020, behind just Virginia and South Carolina.

ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca has more than 30 specialty services offered to patients and families, including general surgery, obstetrics, physical therapy, imaging and more. 

“We hope more people understand how important rural health care is,” Corso said. “We are fortunate to live a community that supports our local hospital and those who provide care for friends and neighbors. Together, we will make it possible for all of us to live our best lives.” 

The list of this year’s Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals, as well as the INDEX methodology, can be found at: