February 24, 2016 8:00 AM
Georgia’s General Assembly has recently been presented with House Bill 1055, a bill that would end the state’s present healthcare regulations, the Certificate of Need program (CON).
Andy Miller from Georgia Health News recently wrote extensively about the proposed legislation, available here.
The bill intends to do away with CON and replace it with a new system. Under the proposed legislation, healthcare institutions would have the ability to apply for permits to build and operate their facilities. Institutions would be required to pledge to care for a certain number of Georgia’s poor before being granted a permit.
If enacted, HB 1055 would lessen the restrictions placed on healthcare institutions. Miller’s article writes that under the legislation, Georgia’s physicians would be allowed to operate multi-specialty surgery centers. Additionally, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which presently runs a hospital in Newnan, would no longer be subject to current state regulations.
The possible end of CON faces quite a lot of opposition by those in the Healthcare system. President and CEO of Memorial Health in Savannah wrote via email that dissolving CON would hurt safety-new hospitals in particular:
Without the CON process, providers would have the ability to selectively offer only the most profitable services. This would lead to a disproportionate number of uninsured and underinsured patients seeking care at safety-net hospitals. The added financial strain will directly impact the ability to continue to provide resource-intensive services, like emergency services, trauma, neonatal ICU, and behavioral health.
The bill is sponsored by Wendell Willard (R-51), Richard Smith (R-134), Carolyn Hugley (D-136), Matthew Hatchett (R-150), and Jason Spencer (R-180).