At its meeting last weekend in Wilmington, the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Board of Directors heard another perspective on Certificate of Need (CON) reform. Bret Nicks, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital – Davie Medical Center and the current president of the NC College of Emergency Physicians (NCCEP) and Jennifer Raley, MD, managing partner and vice president of Wake Emergency Physicians, PA (WEPPA), and the incoming president of NCCEP told the Board that the current CON law should not be changed as it provides a safety net for patients.
“We know this is a divisive issue. We know you’re in a tough position,” Dr. Nicks told the Board. Removing the current CON provisions in North Carolina would weaken hospitals’ ability to remain financially viable and to treat everyone as they are required to do under EMTALA, he said. “Strong hospital systems are critical to provide quality care to patients. They provide a safety net.”
The Board welcomes input on the issues surrounding CON from all perspectives. At their meeting in January, Board members heard from representatives of the North Carolina Orthopaedic Association, who argued the CON law is outdated and needs to be reformed to better accommodate the move to value-based models of care.
As of now, the Board continues to actively discuss what approach to take on CON. In the meantime, please review the NCMS’ current policy, which was adopted in 1999 after review by a task force led by Chris Ullrich, MD, a Charlotte area radiologist. The basis of this policy is ‘fairness.’ Read the NCMS policy here (PDF).
More recently in 2013, the Surgical Facilities Task Force, chaired by former NCMS President John Mangum, MD, a family physician in Sanford, came up with a list of consensus points among the diverse specialties represented on the Task Force. Read the consensus points here.