CON What? A Complete Introduction to Certificate of Need Laws

certificate of need

The CON law applications in 2019 averaged in value of $8,387,83. Each of these applications was for a new or expanding medical facility. It was up to each state to then review the application and either approve or deny the proposed construction project. 

This application is referred to as a certificate of need. Keep reading to learn about this unique law and how it affects the development of medical facilities. 

What Is a Certificate of Need (CON) Law? 

These are regulatory laws imposed by the states. They pertain to the expanding or establishing of health care facilities. The goal of the regulations is to ensure the new healthcare project meets the needs of the surrounding community. 

States that have CON laws require health care facilities to gain the approval of the health planning agency. Each request gets evaluated against a set of standards and community needs. 

What States Have CON laws?

There are currently 35 states and Washington DC that have CON laws. Since each state determines its own regulation, the laws can vary significantly from state to state. 

Support for CON Laws 

People that support CON laws claim that they help keep medical costs down by preventing duplicate facilities in the same area. They also ensure that medical facilities are evenly distributed. This helps make care available in rural areas. 

The fear is that the removal of CON laws will encourage the favoring of for-profit hospitals. These hospitals may be less willing to provide care to low-income patients. 

Argument Against CON Laws 

Those who oppose CON laws claim that they restrict much-needed services. They also work against the building of competition. The lack of competition means that the only medical service provider in the area can keep prices high.

The approval process can be perceived as burdensome and unpredictable. This can prevent much needed medical facilities from getting built. There is also very little evidence the CON programs actually help in keeping healthcare costs low. 

The inconsistency in the laws from state to state makes compliance challenging. It also leaves the door open for political influence. That means abuse and manipulation of the laws can happen. 

Navigating a State’s CON Program

Many states have chosen to eliminate or modify their CON programs. However, this means that you’ll still need to work through the approval system in many states. One way to ensure you have a leg up is to work with experienced healthcare real estate companies

These are real estate companies that specialize in locating real estate for medical facilities. They understand the specialized requirements that must be met. 

CON Laws Explained and Understandable 

While CON laws aren’t something that Americans think about, they influence all of our lives. Medical facilities that are required to submit a certificate of need have limits placed on them when it comes to development. 

Whether you’re in support or against, you’ll still need to comply with them. 

Browse our other health and lifestyle articles for more helpful articles like this one. 

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James Williams
James is our Lead Content Publisher here at Feeds Portal. He has worked with many top websites over the years, including BuzzFeed.

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