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Tennessee hospitals voice their support of certificate of need law

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | March 27, 2024 European News
Current proposed state legislation to drastically change the Certificate of Need (CON) law would cause hospital closures, cutbacks in the types of services offered at local hospitals, and ultimately result in a reduction in the availability of care for many Tennesseans.

“Hospitals are the only healthcare providers in our state where the doors are always open, with urgently needed care available to all patients regardless of their ability to pay,” said Wendy Long, M.D., Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) president and Chief Executive Officer. “Tennessee hospitals are an essential and unique part of the fabric of the communities they serve, providing services that range from the delivery of babies to caring for those with life-threatening emergencies and serious illness.”

Tennessee’s CON law requires that healthcare providers show there is an actual need in the community for new services or facilities before they can be established. This prevents unnecessary and costly duplication of services and helps level the playing field by preventing providers who are not subject to the same federal regulations as hospitals – such as the requirement to provide care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay – from cherry picking only the most profitable patients and services.
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“Our state’s Certificate of Need law helps ensure hospitals are able to continue providing services that may be less profitable but are vital to patients and communities. The proposed changes to the law will undermine the sustainability of local hospitals and patient access to a full range of healthcare services,” said Dr. Long. “These changes could cause hospitals to reduce the types of services they provide and, in some cases, close their doors permanently. Tennesseans in those communities could lose their local hospital or access to critical services like labor and delivery, behavioral health, and inpatient care.”

THA and Tennessee hospitals are opposed to the two CON bills, SB2846/HB2720 and SB2009/HB2269, as proposed. These bills are scheduled on Senate and House committee calendars Tuesday, March 19.

THA welcomes a conversation with the legislature about targeted improvements to the CON process that ensure access to high-quality healthcare services for all Tennesseans.

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