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COPN Bills Carried Over by Senate, House Advances 2 of 3 Bills

COPN Bills Carried Over by Senate, House Advances 2 of 3 Bills

general assemblySenators deliberated over six certificate of public need bills (COPN) on Monday, Feb. 8 in the Education and Health Committee’s health professions subcommittee.  The subcommittee consolidated five of the bills, SB333, SB398, SB585, SB777, and SB641 into a measure carried by committee chairman Sen. Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg), SB561.  During the subcommittee meeting, Sen. Newman indicated his preference for carrying the bills over for the year in the event that off-session work was needed.

The full Senate Education and Health Committee met on Feb. 11 and formally voted to carry over the bills to 2017.  The motion to carry over a bill removes the measure from consideration during this session and provides for its reconsideration the following year provided the committee acts on it by December.  Sen. Newman also stated in the committee hearing that the committee will give due consideration to the House bills that are sent over and if no bill is passed this session, he would work to establish a joint subcommittee with representatives from the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee and the Senate Education and Health Committee to work on the issue later this year.  Newman also stated that he hoped that the Senate Finance Committee would be able to address hospital funding issues in conjunction with any reforms made to the COPN process.

The House of Delegates delayed its votes on the three COPN reform bills (HB193, HB350, and HB689) advanced by the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee until Friday, Feb 12.  The House then voted 50-47 to engross HB193, the measure that would repeal COPN on most services in a staggered 18-month process while maintaining COPN for nursing facilities, open heart surgery, and organ transplant. The House agreed to engross HB350, which would eliminate mental health facilities from the COPN process and reform the COPN application process.  A vote to engross a bill moves the legislation on to final passage.  The House did not engross HB689, which would have repealed COPN requirements for imaging services.  The final House votes on HB193 and HB350 will occur on Monday, Feb 15.