The Certificate of Need (CON) program is a regulatory process that requires certain health care providers to obtain state approval before offering new or expanded services. The CON program in Florida regulates the construction of new hospitals, hospices, skilled nursing facilities, and care facilities for the developmentally disabled, as well as certain hospital services. During the current legislative session, our state legislators have introduced bills in both the Florida House and Senate that will eliminate this important healthcare planning process.
At Jupiter Medical Center, we are passionate about caring for the health and wellness of our community and we are proud of the extensive services we offer. You may not realize it, but community hospitals subsidize many unprofitable healthcare services because they are essential. These subsidies include important services that benefit the entire community including obstetrics, diabetes care, and our free clinic for those who cannot afford medical care. CON helps protect these services and if eliminated, could cause these programs to discontinue.
We are certain most legislators want to do the right thing, and so it is important that all of us understand the facts surrounding this issue so they can hear from us. The elimination of CON could also trigger a chain reaction of negative events that could hurt patients by reducing quality, increasing costs and making it harder for people to obtain necessary healthcare. Without the Certificate of Need program, the following issues can and will affect your family.
Loss of Vital Services— Community hospitals across our state, like Jupiter Medical Center could no longer afford to offer many critical healthcare services. With no regulation, boutique healthcare businesses can move in and offer only profitable services, instead of balancing these with the vital services that the community needs. This means that essential programs would go away.
Reduced Quality—It is a well-documented fact that the more times a hospital performs a certain procedure, the better the outcome. Without the Certificate of Need program hospitals could offer a very complex service even if they are only performing the procedure a handful of times. Think about it, would you rather have neuro surgery in a hospital that performs 100’s of these sophisticated procedures a year, or only four? If we add more hospitals to the mix, we are simply taking the volume and spreading it out across potentially less qualified providers.
Higher Costs— While eliminating CON is being touted to create more healthy competition and drive down costs, just the opposite is more likely to happen. We compete against other hospitals in our area every day, and that’s a good thing. But delivering healthcare is not like selling widgets. Bring more widget sellers into a market and sure, prices will go down. But let more health providers come into a market without any oversight or planning to determine the need for more services, and costs will rise.
In addition, the Certificate of Need program rquires that citizens have a chance to provide their views on whether a new service or facility is needed inthe community. Under these proposed bills, your voice would be taken away.
For your wellbeing and that of your family, you should be concerned about the negative consequences of eliminating CON. We encourage you to reach out to your legislators and tell them you do not support legislation that will eliminate the Certificate of Need. The bills to reference are Senate Bill 676 and House Bill 7. You can find your representative by visiting: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find.
We also welcome you to contact our President and CEO John Couris at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your concerns. Read more on this important topic by visiting his blog Inventinghealth.blogspot.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.
Join us and make your voice heard on this harmful legislation. It is critical to our community and your family.