NC House Select Committee Studies CON Law

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North Carolina’s Certificate of Need Law and process as well as certain related hospital issues are under review by a House Select Committee recently appointed by House Speaker Thom Tillis. The Select Committee is charged with studying the Certificate of Need (CON) process from the initial stage, at which the State Health Coordinating Council and the Governor determine the need for additional healthcare services as part of the annual State Medical Facilities Plan (SMFP), through the CON Section’s review and decision regarding applications seeking to develop needed facilities and services, and appeals challenging the CON Section’s decisions at the Office of Administrative Hearings and the Courts.

The need for, and fairness of, the CON Law has been hotly debated for many years. Critics of the CON Law contend it unfairly restricts competition, but its advocates argue an unregulated free market would result in excess capacity of expensive facilities and equipment producing excessive costs, waste, an increase in fraud, and a decrease in quality. At a time when universal healthcare is on the horizon, and the state of the economy demands that tough decisions be made, the debate over government regulation of healthcare facilities and costs is more important than ever.

The Select Committee held its first meeting on September 14, 2011. Staff counsel provided an overview of the CON Law and the law governing Certificates of Public Advantage (COPA) to get the Committee started on the specific components of its study. Speaker Tillis has charged the Select Committee to study...

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