Virginia Fails to Pass Certificate-of-Need Law Reform

Published April 3, 2017

The Virginia House of Delegates declined to move legislation that would have caused several of the state’s certificate-of-public-need (COPN) laws to sunset in 2017 and 2018.

House Bill 2337, sponsored by Del. John O’Bannon (R-Richmond), would have repealed the requirement medical facilities and imaging centers obtain from the state a COPN before building or making improvements in localities with populations of at least 75,000 people.

The House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee passed the bill 11–10 on January 31 and was referred to the Appropriations Committee, where it remained until February 25, the last day of Virginia’s legislative session.

The House bill lost momentum because the Senate failed to advance its version of the legislation, O’Bannon told Reason magazine.

Senate Stoppages

O’Bannon says Senate inaction has also scuttled other health care reform opportunities the House offered.

“Several strong repeal bills passed out of the House health committee,” O’Bannon told Health Care News. “While there were reform bills in the state Senate, they all died in committee, so there will be no reform this year.”

Virginia’s COPN law will continue to limit access to quality health care providers for patients already burdened by high health insurance costs, O’Bannon says.

“This is bad for our citizens who are facing increasing deductibles and copays in health insurance and are now denied access to more competition,” O’Bannon said. “This issue will grow in importance, and I’m hopeful we can get some meaningful reforms next session.”

— Staff Report

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