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Americans for Prosperity-Kentucky Sounds Alarm on Mercer County Losing Private EMS Services, Implications of CON Laws  

Apr 19, 2024 by AFP

Frankfort, KY – Today, Americans for Prosperity-Kentucky (AFP-KY) is voicing concerns over the official closure of Mercer County EMS and what this could mean not just for the people of Mercer County, but what further implications may look like given the state’s current CON (Certificate of Need) laws. On April 27, Mercer County’s private EMS services are shutting down, leaving Mercer to rely on other counties to help transport patients and creating a deficit of care in emergency situations.  

AFP-KY State Director Heather LeMire made the following statement:   

“Mercer County’s closure of its EMS services is gravely concerning, not just on the impact of Mercer residents who will be forced to endure much longer wait times in emergency situations, but on the broader implications of health care for Kentuckians under the current CON law.   

“It is evident that CON is not working. Mercer County EMS has been waiting for CON approval on an outstanding request since January. Since action has not been taken in nearly three months, the people of Mercer County will be forced to suffer the consequences of losing their emergency services. Let’s be clear: once Mercer County EMS services are stopped, folks in dire need of health care will be forced to wait, meaning that the chances of survival will be much lower.  

“As noted in our testimony before the House Health Committee in March, states with CON laws can only ever play catch up to their community’s health care needs. Kentuckians cannot afford to wait any longer for CON approval processes to interfere with their health care. For Mercer County, this will be a matter of life or death. We are calling on the legislature to fully repeal CON, and we will not stop until this is accomplished. We will not stand for this broken system hindering the heath and prosperity of Kentuckians.”  


Certificate of need (CON) laws are state regulations for approving new or expanding existing healthcare facilities and projects. Under CON, healthcare facilities or expansions must receive permission from the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services to begin development. While CON laws were meant to keep healthcare costs under control by artificially limiting the supply of services, decades of data show that CON has directly resulted in more expensive, less available, and lower quality healthcare. 

Kentucky ranks 16th for its number of CON regulations with 18 types of services or devises under the state’s CON laws. There were seven bills before the legislature that would have reduced or repealed the state’s CON laws and they failed to advance any of them during the 2024 session.