AHA comments on proposed Census Bureau criteria for defining urban areas

The AHA today urged the Census Bureau to continue to distinguish between different types of urban areas. Specifically, it urged the agency to continue to recognize “urbanized areas” as those with 50,000 or more people and “urban clusters” as areas with at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people. 

The bureau proposes to cease distinguishing between urbanized areas and urban clusters. If finalized, the proposal could jeopardize the ability of certain health care providers to participate in programs that expand access to care in vulnerable communities, AHA said. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services uses different types of urban areas as the basis for certifying rural health clinics. Programs that rely on these delineations “are critical to their communities,” AHA said.