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House Subcommittee Evaluates COPN Bills

House Subcommittee Evaluates COPN Bills

VHCA-VCAL Advocacy Action CenterHouse Health, Welfare, and Institutions (HWI) Subcommittee #3 held a hearing on the 12 House bills related to certificate of public need (COPN) on January 27.   During the meeting, the bills were divided into three categories:  process reforms, broad reforms and targeted reforms.  Three bills were favorably reported:  HB350, HB193 and HB689.  (Bill summaries and links are included below. The bills that were favorably reported are marked with an asterisk (*).)

The full HWI committee will receive the subcommittee report on February 4.  We continue to communicate to legislative leaders about the importance of maintaining COPN for nursing facilities and medical rehab beds.  We have been pleased with the response from legislators, though we are currently evaluating the legislative language to determine its effects on members.

In total, legislators introduced 17 COPN-related bills this session: 12 in the House of Delegates and five in the State Senate.

Process Reforms

  • HB350*– Byron – Eliminates mental health facilities from the COPN process; reforms the COPN application process. This bill was reported favorably by the subcommittee.
  • HB1083 – Stolle – Recommendations of the COPN Work Group. This bill was rolled into HB350.

VHCA-VCAL had a representative on the COPN Work Group that met in 2015, Doug Suddreth of Autumn Corporation, who offered various process reforms that were included in the Work Group’s final recommendations to streamline and improve the COPN process.  Many of these recommendations were included in the bill that passed out of subcommittee, HB350.

Broader Reforms

  • HB193*– O’Bannon – Repeals COPN on most services in a staggered three-year process; maintains COPN for nursing facilities, open heart surgery, and organ transplant. This bill was favorably reported by the subcommittee.
  • HB349 – Byron – Completely eliminates COPN except for nursing home beds and for rural areas.
  • HB688– Peace – Repeals COPN requirement.

HB193 and HB349 included provisions to preserve the COPN process for nursing facility beds and rehabilitation hospitals.  HB193 was substantially amended prior to passing out of the subcommittee; VHCA-VCAL staff and members are reviewing the updated language to determine its effect on our members.  We were pleased to see that the COPN process was maintained for nursing home beds in the reported bill. 

Targeted Reforms

  • HB59 – Byron – Removes COPN from specialized centers or clinics or any portion of a physician’s office developed for outpatient or ambulatory surgery.
  • HB347 – Byron – Eliminates COPN requirement for LASIK surgery.
  • HB348 – Byron – Eliminates COPN requirement for addition of certain services and equipment.
  • HB463 – Head – Removes COPN requirement for transfer of equipment.
  • HB621 – R. Bell – Eliminates COPN requirement for mental hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
  • HB651 – D. Bell – Eliminates COPN requirement for addition of beds; loosens up COPN requirement for neonatal and open heart surgery; supported by HCA Health System.
  • HB689*– Peace – Removes COPN requirement for imaging services. This bill was reported favorably by the subcommittee.

Sen. Steve Newman, Chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, said that he would be naming a special subcommittee to hear the Senate COPN bills, but the timing of the hearing and membership of the subcommittee has still not been announced.