Georgia Public Policy Foundation releases new report on CON regulations

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation released a new report today that examines the impact of Georgia’s Certificate of Need (CON) regulations. 

The report provides a summary of the existing research on the topic, offers new data as states modernize their existing laws, and provides a pathway for Georgia policymakers by dispelling misconceptions often cited in defense of CON.

It was authored by Matthew Mitchell, Senior Research Fellow at the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at West Virginia University, and Chris Denson, Director of Policy and Research for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

“The purpose of this report is to provide thorough research and analysis of the barriers that our existing CON system creates for many patients and healthcare providers in Georgia,” Denson said. “As health systems consolidate and the cost of healthcare continues to rise, competitors are far too often prevented from opening in most communities. Our study shows that CON laws not only reduce access to healthcare options, but also result in lower quality and higher costs. Despite repeated concerns that a reduction in CON would result in the widespread closure of hospitals, our research shows there is no correlation between hospital closures and the elimination of CON laws. 

“Instead, far too many Georgians are now dealing with the fallout of what happens when a community hospital closes, and the system has kept competitors out.” 

Specifically, the report found:

  • CON regulations are associated with a diminished availability of healthcare services. This includes fewer hospitals, fewer ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), fewer rural hospitals, fewer rural ASCs and fewer home health agencies. 
  • CON regulations lead to worse outcomes for underserved populations, which includes those in rural or economically depressed areas.
  • There is no correlation between rural hospital closures and reduced CON regulation. In fact, there are 30 percent fewer rural hospitals in states with CON regulations relative to non-CON states, and there are 13 percent fewer rural ASCs in CON states relative to non-CON states

“The evidence from decades of experience with CON – and, in some states, without it – is clear: We won’t improve healthcare in Georgia without allowing more providers to care for patients,” said Kyle Wingfield, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. “We call on the General Assembly to address this urgent obstacle to innovation, quality, access and affordability in Georgia healthcare.”

The full report can be accessed here

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