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VQH Legislative Alert Support HB 193

Please Support HB 193 on Certificate of Public Need Reforms

This critical Sub-Committee vote is expected as early as tomorrow (Monday) or soon thereafter.  Please contact members of the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Subcommittee #3 and ask them to support HB 193 to reform the Virginia Certificate of Public Need (COPN)* requirements.

The bill would sunset COPN requirements for certain types of services and facilities in phases beginning on July 1, 2016.

Please read the bill summary (full text is also available) on the Legislative Information System site HERE 

This page also lists the names of the Sub-Committee members and you can find their contact information by clicking on their individual names.

The bill was introduced by Del John M. O’Bannon III who is a member of the Sub-Committee along with
Richard P, Bell (Chairman), T. Scott Garrett, Matthew James and Robert D. Orrock, Sr.

According to sources at Middle Resolution, theCOPN laws are outdated and have not achieved their intended results.  Today’s announcement from them provides some key points including that:

COPN laws increase health care costs, threaten access to care, and limit competition and innovation.  According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, health care costs are 11 percent higher in states with COPN laws than those without.
Even George Mason University’s Mercatus Center indicated if Virginia continues COPN laws, it would lead to fewer hospital beds and reduced access to services.

Please contact the Sub-Committee members on this issue as soon as possible.

(Note: Using the LIS link above you can also access information on other relevant bills in this Sub-Committee.)

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* The Virginia COPN program requires owners and sponsors of identified medical care facility projects to secure a COPN from the State Health Commissioner prior to initiating projects such as general acute care services, perinatal services, diagnostic imaging services, cardiac services, general surgical services, organ transplantation services, medical rehabilitation services, psychiatric/substance abuse services, mental retardation services, lithotripsy services, miscellaneous capital expenditures and nursing facility services …

No certificate of public need may be issued unless the Commissioner has determined that a public need for the project, or portion thereof, exists and has been demonstrated. There are criteria or factors used in determining whether a public need exists. The criteria include: (i) the relationship of the project to the long term health care state plan, (ii) the need for enhanced facilities to serve the population of an area, (iii) the extent to which the project is accessible to all residents in the proposed area and the immediate economic impact and financial feasibility of the project.”

It also subjects those who wish to expand or install a new healthcare service to the approval of the providers already established in the area.  In other words, their competitors who already have the state blessing get to decide if another provider is allowed to enter the competition!

Competition is key to lowering healthcare costs.  COPN laws keep costs higher and promote cronyism.

(SOURCE: VQH Research Team)

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