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ThedaCare Shawano
March 29, 2021

ThedaCare Hospitals Earn National Recognition

ThedaCare Medical Centers-Shawano and Waupaca Named 2021 Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals

ThedaCare Medical Centers-Shawano and Waupaca Named 2021 Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals

ThedaCare Shawano

NEENAH, Wis. – Two ThedaCare hospitals have been recognized as 2021 Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals. ThedaCare Medical Centers-Shawano and Waupaca earned the recognition, which is determined by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. This 11th annual recognition program honors outstanding performance among the nation’s rural hospitals based on the results of the Hospital Strength INDEX®.

“Earning this designation at two of our Critical Access Hospitals continues to highlight ThedaCare’s commitment to delivering high quality care throughout our service area, and ensuring access to that care for Wisconsinites living in rural communities,” said David Corso, Vice President of the ThedaCare Central Region, which includes ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca. “We are extremely proud of all of the team members who helped us achieve this recognition. We are also grateful to the patients who trust us with their health and care every day.”

ThedaCare Medical Centers-Shawano and Waupaca are among eight of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the state of Wisconsin. ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano has been named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital for three consecutive years. ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca was also recognized as a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital in 2020. According to the National Rural Health Association (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.

“We hope the consecutive years of recognition for these coveted awards demonstrates ThedaCare’s legacy of providing exceptional care patients need, where they need it — close to home,” said Julie Chikowski, Vice President of Critical Access Hospitals at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano. “Through our personalized approach to coordinated care, we deliver the level of expertise that patients here in Wisconsin deserve, helping them make informed decisions about their care.”

Defining Rural Health Care

For the purpose of health care, ‘rural’ is defined as a geographic area with low population size and density, explained Chikowski. 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). 

According to CMS, here are some of the criteria for a Critical Access Hospital:

  • 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.

“We know that rural hospitals are unique, and must address the specific issues of our small communities,” said Corso. “Our team members ensure that we deliver the best care for each individual patient. That includes taking into account that person’s medical background, risks, lifestyle, personal values and goals.”

The importance of rural health care has been illustrated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From care for COVID-19 patients at Critical Access Hospitals, to mobile testing units and vaccine distribution, ThedaCare has continued to focus efforts on serving rural communities throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. In addition to COVID-19 care, ThedaCare Medical Centers-Shawano and Waupaca each have more than 30 specialty services offered to patients and families, including general surgery, obstetrics, physical therapy, imaging and more.

“ThedaCare is proud to serve the rural communities of Wisconsin,” said Chikowski. “We are here to empower our patients and families with the knowledge they need to help them live their best lives — through better health.” 

The list of this year’s Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals as well as the INDEX methodology can be found at

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care

Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.