Hospital Leaders Testify Before Senate on Certificate of Need Reform

Hospital Leaders Testify Before Senate on Certificate of Need Reform

Hospital members testified Jan. 8 before the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), on bills that would make major changes to the Certificate of Need (CON) program in Michigan. 

Gabe Schneider (left), director, government relations, and Cheryl Wieber, MHA (right), executive director, heart and vascular service line, Munson Healthcare, testify in opposition to Senate Bill 675. CON is a state regulatory program intended to balance cost, quality and access issues to ensure that only needed healthcare services and facilities are developed in Michigan. The CON Commission uses advisory committees, public workgroups and expert testimony to obtain recommendations on the merits of proposed changes to regulated services and facilities. The MHA has long supported Michigan’s CON program as an effective means to advance competing goals of cost containment, patient access and quality of care.

Senate Bills (SBs) 669-675 would make major changes to Michigan's CON program. The Jan. 8 committee hearing focused on SBs 674 and 675.

The MHA opposes SB 674 as written, which would remove air ambulance services from CON without accounting for appropriate safeguards for patients in state regulation. Air ambulance availability is critical for saving lives, as more than 550,000 patients are air transported annually. Without regulations in place, there are no protections for patients concerning the types of devices or lifesaving gear that an aircraft must include to be designated as an air ambulance. Testifying before the committee were Tiffany Obetts, director of Aero Med and North Flight Aero Med, Spectrum Health, and Denise Landis, CMTE, EMT-P, MSA, RN, manager, critical care transport, University of Michigan Health System. 

The MHA is opposed to SB 675, which removes some cardiac catheterization procedures from CON oversight. The removal of cardiac catheterization from Michigan’s CON law could potentially increase the likelihood that patients experiencing major complications during cardiac catheterization do not receive the immediate care they need, leading to a higher risk of negative patient outcomes and even mortality. Testifying in opposition to the proposed bill was Cheryl Wieber, MHA, executive director, heart and vascular line, Munson Healthcare.

The MHA will work to protect CON as a means of maintaining access to cost-effective, high-quality care for all Michigan residents while restraining the proliferation of unnecessary facilities and services. The association also supports a fair and open process to amend CON standards when appropriate to reflect current standards of care and technological advancements. Members with questions may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.