The House Health and Human Services Committee has sent an amended bill on to the full House which would allow not just cancer specialty hospitals (like Cancer Treatment Centers of America) but all specialty hospitals to bypass the Certificate of Need process. Meanwhile, all other hospitals in the state would still have to go in front of the CON board to gain approval for new or expanded services.
Concord Republican Rep. Lynn Blakenbeker voted in favor of the bill.
“We as a state should be encouraging businesses all kinds to come into the state especially when it comes to specialty healthcare treatment we should be offering all options,” she says.The bill is opposed by theNew Hampshire Hospital Association and the Business and Industry Association–both of which contend it will give these for-profit hospitals, which generally only take privately insured patients, an unfair advantage.
Rep. Rich Dipentima, a Democrat from Portsmouth, voted against the measure. “It will raise health care costs,” he says. “We are potentially putting our other healthcare facilities in jeopardy.” Dipentima says by luring private paying patients away from the state’s non-profit teaching hospitals, the hospitals will lose money and be forced to raise prices.
The full House will vote on the measure when it returns from recess in two weeks. The House will also vote on another bill that would overhaul the Certificate of Need board in an attempt to prevent members from serving who may have a conflict of interest.