South Carolina’s Certificate of Need program is being threatened both legislatively and administratively.
Legislatively, a bill that would repeal all statutes related to CON was pre-filed November 28 by Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of Medical Affairs, Senator Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee, Spartanburg, Union, and York Counties.) This pre-filed legislation (S. 999) comes as no surprise following his floor oration against CON this past June. The General Assembly will reconvene Tuesday, January 10, 2012, to consider new legislation and legislation carried over from last session.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) administers the CON program and both the DHEC board as well as the agency’s State Health Planning Committee can make recommendations or decisions that could result in radical changes to the process. In a positive light, each could serve as a venue to improve rather than eliminate the process. Remember that appointments to both the Board and the Committee are made by the Governor.
The DHEC Board is in the process of appointing a committee of legislators, advocates and health care professionals to study the issue and make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly. Several DHEC Board members have already expressed strong opposition to CON. The State Health Planning Committee bi-annually reviews the State Health Plan and health care needs of the state and recommends changes to the plan which must be approved by the DHEC Board.
Based on two of Governor Haley’s veto messages, both harsh in criticism, we must be sure to educate policy makers on the importance of maintaining CON and take this opportunity to suggest ways to improve the process. SCHA has submitted a list of candidates to serve on both the DHEC Study Committee and the State Health Planning Committee. We will keep you posted when appointments have been announced and other relative information as processes unfold.
Read the SCHA Certificate of Need white paper written in 2009.