Why it's time to end Georgia's Certificate of Need laws now

Why Georgia’s Certificate of Need laws need to end now

Jan 27, 2023 by AFP

Who knows what your community’s health needs are better than you and your neighbors?

Well, according to many state governments around the U.S., they know better than you do. And they’ll overreach to show it.

In 1979, Georgia’s General Assembly established a Certificate of Need (CON) to prevent new health care facilities from being built and expanded across the state and even limit services health care facilities can offer.

In essence, each facility must prove a community’s “need” for services before the government will even consider giving them the go ahead to build, expand, or offer new services.

The government claims this overreach “avoids unnecessary duplication of services” and “is cost effective.” However, research shows that Certificate of Need laws tend to harm the very people they’re supposed to protect.

At worst, these laws drive up prices, limit access to quality care, and put lives on the line.

How Certificate of Need is costing Georgia patients

In Augusta, Georgia one entrepreneur, Katie Chubb, saw a need for more birthing options in her town. Currently, Augusta doesn’t have a birthing center and the only options for giving birth are in the hospital or at home with a midwife.

However, rather than being able to open up a new birthing center to fill a need, Chubb faced a mountain of red tape and regulations due to Certificate of Need. Ultimately, her request was denied.

Denying entrepreneurs the opportunity to expand services within their own communities has dire consequences for Georgia.

In Chubb’s case, her birthing center could have helped provide for the alarming lack of proper maternal and infant health care services in Georgia.

According to The March of Dimes’ 2022 maternal and infant health report card, Georgia currently scores an “F” based on high rates of infant mortality, preterm births, inadequate prenatal care and low-risk Cesarean births.

However, it’s far from just Chubb’s birthing center that’s been caught up in unnecessary red tape surrounding CON.

““Look at American Health Imaging of Cumming. They had to go petition the government to buy a second CAT scanner,” Georgia State Senator Greg Dolezal said at a recent Americans For Prosperity panel discussion. “Think about that for a second. They had to apply and petition to the government and now they leave themselves up to the objection of whoever has the certificate of need in their 35-mile radius.”

Certificate of Need restricts access to care, creates anti-competitive environments, and leads to industry gatekeeping. In a 2022 study of Georgia residents, nearly half of respondents said their care was less than adequate and over two thirds reported accessibility to care as less than adequate.

“In any other world this would be insanity, and somehow we have allowed this to exist and now it is affecting access to care,” Senator Dolezal explained.

Something needs to change. Georgians deserve more personalized options in healthcare. It’s time to repeal CON in Georgia.

Join the movement to end Georgia’s outdated Certificate of Need laws today.