Virginia state lawmakers have thwarted an effort to loosen government oversight of new or expanded healthcare facilities in the state. Virginia is one of 36 states that maintain a certificate-of-need program.
Last week, the state Senate killed legislation aimed at reforming the program, which requires providers to prove proposed new facilities or expansions are necessary to a community. The bill, co-sponsored by a lawmaker who is also a physician, would have phased out most of the state's CON requirements over a three-year period.
The bill's sponsors and supporters say they plan to reintroduce the proposal in the next legislative session. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department issued a statement saying Virginia's law fails to achieve the goal of improving access to care and reducing healthcare costs. They said laws like Virginia's prevent “the efficient functioning of healthcare markets.” Hospitals have argued they don't operate in a free-market system and need the law to remain economically viable.