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End Georgia’s Outdated CON Laws

The Story of Katie Chubb

Katie Chubb, originally from the United Kingdom, spends time with her Husband, Nicholas Chubb, and their three children at their home in Augusta, Georgia.

Having three children, the ability to choose where and how to give birth is extremely important for Katie. While in labor with her own son, she and her husband drove 2.5 hours to get to the nearest birth center.

It was then that Katie noticed hospitals in her area weren’t meeting the demand for birthing services and, due to the lack of adequate care for birthing mothers, Georgia’s infant mortality rate ranked 15th highest in the United States in 2020. Katie took action, founding the Augusta Birthing Center, a nonprofit, freestanding birth center that could offer a better experience at a lower price for berthing mothers.

Katie reviews the floor plans she and her husband created for the construction of the Augusta Birth Center.

Katie Worked diligently for nearly four months; forming a board of directors, choosing a location, and securing funding. She and her board obtained hospital transfer agreements from an ambulance company and a licensed maternal fetal medicine provider who has admitting privileges at three local hospitals.

However, all of Katie’s hard work was interrupted when she ran into Georgia’s certificate of need (CON) law, which regulations require any new childbirth services to prove they’re needed and to secure transfer agreements directly with hospitals.

Health department administrators agreed that Augusta Birth Center’s CON application successfully demonstrated the need for its services, and that the proposed project would offer a low-cost, high-quality alternative for expectant mothers. Regardless, in the end, all three local area hospitals refused to enter into direct transfer agreements, claiming their services were unnecessary and, ultimately, their application was denied for failure to secure hospital transfer agreements.

Katie stands beside the land that was originally secured for the construction of Augusta Birth Center. Now empty and overgrown, Katie lost the contract on the land when her application was denied.

When Katie received the denial, she immediately opened a lawsuit to sue the state of Georgia, challenging the CON laws that prohibited Augusta Birth Center from opening. Without the birth center, mothers and families would have to travel hours to surrounding cities if they did not want to give birth in a hospital. This is a prime example of how these outdated CON laws are harming patients and their access to care. As health care prices are increasing, access to care is decreasing and providers being denied approval to expand care to all corners of the state, many of Gorgia’s most vulnerable patients are going without care.

While awaiting her court date for the lawsuit filed against the state of Georgia, Katie takes every opportunity to tell her story and gain support for Augusta Birthing Center. Georgia’s Americans for Prosperity Chapter has become one of her main supporters. Here, Americans for Prosperity Deputy State Director, Tony West, walks alongside Katie through the halls of Augusta University as she prepares to testify to The House Committee on Certificate of Need Modernization.

Katie awaits the arrival of her supporters at Augusta University before her testimony begins to the House Committee on Certificate of Need Modernization on August 1st, 2023.

Katie testifies to the House Committee on Certificate of Need Modernization on Augusta University, August 1st, 2023, in hopes that by speaking to them and sharing her story, she can help make possible improvements to Georgia’s CON laws and begin breaking ground on Augusta Birth Center.

Katie uses her cellphone to live stream the entirety of the testimonies for her online support community during The House Committee on Certificate of Need Modernization at Augusta University, August 1st, 2023.

Katie, with the support of members from Georgia’s Americans for Prosperity Chapter, speaks with local press after testifying to the House Committee on Certificate of Need Modernization at Augusta University.

After an afternoon of testimonies to the House Committee on Certificate of Need Modernization on Augusta University, Katie picks up her older two from daycare before heading home to work on assignments for her nursing program. Her husband, Nicholas, drives separately, picking up their youngest son from his daycare on the other side of town.

Katie spends time in her home office working on requirements for her nursing degree. As she continues to push forward with her endeavors to open the Augusta Birthing Center, she attends nursing school two days a week with plans of earning her degree in 2024.

Katie plays in her children’s toy room with her middle son and their family dog, Phoebe. She is the only member of her nursing class with three children under three, working full time and maintaining a high GPA. She plans to complete her nursing program in 2024, and hopes is to continue her health care education to provide the best care possible to her community.

After testifying to the House Committee on Certificate of Need Modernization on Augusta University, completing requirements for her nursing degree program and spending time with her family, Katie rests on the front porch of her home.

Since 1979, certificate-of-need (CON) programs in Georgia have restricted the supply of health care by keeping providers from expanding their reach or services without approval from state regulators.

Health care providers have been denied approval to expand care to all corners of the state and reach our most vulnerable patients.

Take a look at some of the vital providers DENIED by these outdated laws

Covid-19 pushed Georgia’s health care system to the brink; now hospitals are closing and patients are losing access to the care they need. As health care prices continue to increase and options for care shrink, we can’t ignore the problem any longer.

More government control over health care only hurts taxpayers and patients who need accessible, affordable options for care. Lawmakers must repeal Georgia’s outdated CON laws to protect families and allow health care to thrive.

Urge lawmakers to repeal outdated CON laws today