Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation Thursday afternoon extending the life of the states certificate-of-need law for another year. The law and the agency that administers it, the Health Facilities Planning Board, would have expired today.
The renewing legislation calls for the board to immediately make changes that would favor applicants who have been denied permission to build in high-growth areas. The board is asked to update its bed inventories and calculate need projections based on longer-term population projections and giving more weight to data showing that patients are leaving the area around a proposed site to get services.
The law also creates a 19-member task force charged with studying whether the CON rules actually contribute to the quality, accessibility and efficiency of healthcare and prevent unnecessary duplication of services and facilities. The task forcewhich will include healthcare administrators, organized labor, legislators, consumers and the state attorney generalis asked to propose reforms but also to consider the effect of eliminating CON.
The short-lived lease on life is another in a series of last-minute reprieves for the controversial board, which is unpopular with legislators whose districts have been denied hospitals and is tainted by kickback schemes orchestrated by former member Stuart Levine, who stepped down in 2004 and has since pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. -- by Gregg Blesch