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Virginia Health Care Association | Virginia Center for Assisted Living

Senate to Consider One Remaining COPN Bill

Senate to Consider One Remaining COPN Bill

capitalThe Senate Education and Health Committee reported only HB350 after a lengthy deliberation on certificate of public need (COPN) this week. The committee significantly amended the bill sponsored by Del. Kathy Byron (R-Campbell). The committee carried over Del. John O’Bannon’s (R-Henrico) HB193, ending its consideration for this session.

Among the changes to HB350 from the version that passed the House of Delegates, the measure now leaves hospital beds under the COPN process. Since its introduction HB350 has maintained COPN for nursing beds. By maintaining hospital beds under COPN, HB350 would also leave medical rehabilitation beds under the COPN process.

As it advances to the full Senate for a vote early next week, HB350 would remove imaging services, mental health and psychiatric beds, as well as lithotripsy from COPN. The bill would also eliminate health planning agencies and creates a Virginia Charity Care Fund, which would use an assessment on medical care facilities to draw down additional federal matching funds.  VHCA-VCAL has opposed such a funding structure for nursing centers in the past and is working to not have to pay into the Fund as the legislation moves forward. The bill also includes numerous process improvements recommended by the COPN Work Group this fall and that were part of prior versions of the bill.

Because the House and Senate must pass the bill in identical form, the bill may be headed to a conference committee so the chambers may negotiate their differences. VHCA-VCAL’s lobbying team and members are carefully reviewing the current version of HB350 and monitoring the on-going developments related to COPN.