The West Virginia Health Care Authority has released a draft proposal for tighter certificate-of-need standards that would require hospitals to prove a need for new beds and perhaps surrender the additional beds if subsequent occupancy rates aren't 140% of the previous year's rate. The proposal is designed to remedy what is perceived to be an unfair distribution of beds at the state's 54 acute-care hospitals, where only about 52% of those beds are occupied. It also is intended to allow the healthcare authority, which has approved all but a small portion of proposed expansion projects in recent years, to more effectively manage an anticipated wave of hospital expansion across the state. In the next year, the authority's three-member board is expected to review about $700 million in hospital projects -- including a proposal by United Hospital Center, Clarksburg, to build a $265.2 million, 318-bed replacement hospital in Bridgeport, a few miles east of its existing facility. -- by Michael Romano
W.Va. plans more limits on hospital construction
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