CON Process Under Review in NC

Posted on November 9, 2011

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In one of the most hotly-contested certificate of need (CON) states around, North Carolina is considering a revision to its CON process.  Becker’s reports (via the Charlotte Business Journal) the State of North Carolina’s House Select Committee on Certificate of Need and Hospital-Related Issues is meeting to discuss revisions.

I follow the North Carolina market, and have friends and associates in the state as well.  Nearly every project in the middle half of the state is a disputed project by another healthcare system, tied up by lawsuits for several years in some cases. From a simple supply-and-demand standpoint it begs the question:  with that kind of delay, is the business case for the original project even relevant anymore when the CON is approved and cleared?  Few industries, especially publicly-traded companies who are in the business of not going out of business, would put up with such a stranglehold on decisions that decide a business’s survival. For the lawyers out there to stew over:  in some way, is it not an unconstitutional limit to the Commerce Clause?

As I have written before, the CON process in general is ineffective. Even states that have CON oversight, like New Hampshire, feel there is still inequity and waste. More states should consider this as part of systematic healthcare reform. This is welcome debate and will hopefully lead to progress.

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