VanderWall: Senate OKs certificate of need bills

‘Bills will eliminate some of the red tape and unnecessary costs in health care’

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would eliminate some unnecessary medical care certificate of need requirements in Michigan, said bill sponsor Sen. Curt VanderWall.

A certificate of need (CON) is authorization that enables the establishment or expansion of health care facilities or services. A commission governs the standards for Michigan’s CON, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reviews each application according to these standards.

“The certificate of need requirements in Michigan are marked by red tape and costs that must be addressed to provide better access to care for Michigan residents,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “This package of bills offers solutions.”

VanderWall sponsored Senate Bill 181 and Senate Bill 190 in the five-bill package.

SB 181 would remove the requirement for a CON for psychiatric beds, increase the threshold amount for capital expenditures to be considered “covered capital expenditures” to $10 million, and remove the CON requirement for air ambulances after June 1.

SB 190 would change the licensure requirements so that as condition of licensure for psychiatric beds 50% of the beds must be available for public patients.

“The coronavirus pandemic has further highlighted our need to address mental health issues, and I am committed to removing any barrier we can to expand services for residents of Michigan,” VanderWall said. “We don’t need an extra bureaucratic burden that slows down the process of getting those beds online.”

VanderWall said SBs 181 and 190 would help improve access to mental health services and help address the mental health services shortage in the state.

“More than 40% of the U.S. population lives in states with no certificate of need requirements — none,” VanderWall said. “And if we compare our neighboring Midwest states, Illinois requires certificate of need for 13 services, Indiana for one service; and Ohio for one service, while Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all have no CON requirements.

“Michigan, on the other hand, has 18 certificate of need requirements. These bills and the others in the package passed today are commonsense reforms in our certificate of need requirements that will eliminate some of the red tape and unnecessary costs in health care.”

VanderWall also stressed the importance of SB 182 in the package, which would increase the number of CON Commission members from 11 to 13 and require that one of the additional two members is from a county with a population of 40,000 or less.

“Currently there is no representation on the commission from a rural area,” VanderWall said. “This change will ensure that rural concerns are considered by the commission.”

SBs 12, 181-183, and 190 now head to the Michigan House for further consideration.