In 36 states, medical providers must prove that a new service is “needed” before opening new facilities or purchasing medical equipment. In states with Certificate of Need (CON) laws, health care providers must satisfy this requirement at an onerous hearing where existing providers are invited to show up and testify that the current services are adequate. This anti-competitive requirement is irrational under any circumstances, but it is especially harmful during a pandemic, when medical providers must be free to adapt to quickly changing circumstances.
At least 22 of the 36 states with CON laws have relaxed them, either by suspension or emergency rule, in light of the COVID-19 crisis. This week, PLF called on the remaining 14 states and the District of Columbia to do the same:
PLF has successfully challenged CON laws in several lawsuits in the transportation industry and has a pending case on behalf of a family-run ambulance company in Kentucky. Now more than ever, states should remove irrational obstacles that prevent individuals from providing vital medical services.