LAMAR, Mo. — An area hospital has earned top-20 accolades.

Cox Barton County Hospital has been named a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital by the National Rural Health Association.

“We are a critical access hospital and that designation is by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, specifically for hospitals that are in rural areas to ensure that the funding is enough to support them and provide critical care for the people in which we serve. For the past several years, Cox Barton County has been striving to be one of the best hospitals in the country,” said Chris Wyatt, President, Cox Barton County Hospital.

This ranking is out of 1,400 rural hospitals in the U.S. specifically for the category of best practice of quality health care.

“And then, of course with us, quality. It’s just another layer to the, you know, building of what we’re trying to do here to be the best in the country,” said Wyatt.

Last year, the company Health Grades awarded the hospital as being in the top 15% of all hospitals for outstanding patient experience.

“It is on those in-patient services and that ER in what we’re doing. And once again, you know, it takes a lot to be named among the best in the country, especially with patient experience and quality. And you know, you have it all here in Barton County, in a rural area,” said Wyatt.

Cox Barton County Hospital is the only hospital recognized for this title in the state of Missouri.

“The biggest message that, you know, we have within Cox Barton County to our community is that local health care is the best health care, especially whenever you have national recognition that’s giving credence to what we’re saying. So, if you have the opportunity to get the best health care, why travel further when you can get it right here at your local hospital,” said Wyatt.