In a press conference at the legislature yesterday, Sen. Ralph Hise declared “I predict there will be large movements in CON laws in this session.”
Joined by several Republican Senators and Representatives, Hise stated that his ultimate goal would be full repeal of all of North Carolina’s Certificate of Need (CON) laws. These laws require medical care facilities to undergo an often costly process of getting permission from the state to expand or open new facilities, or to purchase certain types of equipment.
According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 36 states plus DC still have CON laws. North Carolina has the fourth most CON laws on its books.
Mentioned specifically at the press conference yesterday was HB 857, which would exempt ambulatory surgical facilities from CON requirements. Rep. Ed Goodwin, R-Chowan, described the bill as “trying to take a baby step and get the ball rolling” regarding CON law elimination.
This is encouraging news, as CON laws restrict the availability of medical care facilities, especially in rural areas, and help drive up costs. Indeed, a recent study Mercatus estimated that North Carolina would see a 43 percent increase in the number of rural hospitals if we were to eliminate all CON laws.