All hospitals, regardless of size and organizational structure, benefit from comparative data on financial condition and performance. The unique reimbursement and organizational structure of critical access hospitals (CAHs) make it important to have financial indicators that capture their own circumstances for performance assessment. CAHs differ from urban and other rural hospitals that are paid under the Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) in important aspects that affect the most appropriate way to measure financial condition. Unlike PPS hospitals, CAHs receive cost-based reimbursement for inpatient and outpatient care, and the incentives, financial management, and utilization practices under these two payment methods differ substantially. There are also organizational differences between CAHs and other hospitals that may affect financial performance; for instance, CAHs have relaxed staffing rules under Medicare, and they have limits on bed-size and average length of stay (and low volume hospitals have been found to face substantially more annual variation in demand for services, making financial planning difficult).