CTCA takes another swing at certificate of need law

[private]A Newnan-based cancer hospital is taking aim again at state regulations that restrict the number of its beds and its patient mix.

SB 123 would delete the provisions of the state’s certificate of need (CON) law that limit the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) facility to 50 beds and require that at least 65 percent of its patients come from outside Georgia.

CTCA executives agreed to these limitations several years ago when legislators passed a bill carving out an exemption in the CON law that allowed the hospital to open. Ever since, however, CTCA has been trying to eliminate the restrictions it initially agreed to.

SB 123, which was introduced in the Senate Wednesday, is another of several attempts by conservative lawmakers to weaken or repeal the CON law that regulates the construction of hospitals and related medical facilities.

“I’d like to unwind all the CON laws,” said Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), one of the sponsors of SB 123. “One of the many answers to improving healthcare, reducing costs, is to get government out of the middle of it.”

Hospital organizations have opposed CTCA’s attempts to eliminate the CON regulations in question.

“While they say this is about allowing Georgians to have a choice with regard to care, the fact is that it is about improving their corporate line,” said Monty Veazey, president of the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals.

“As a for-profit facility, CTCA is able to pick and choose which patients they serve based upon their ability to pay, the severity of their case, their age, or any screening factor they choose,” Veazey said. “In doing so, they do direct harm to Georgia based hospitals, many of which are nationally recognized for excellence in cancer treatment.”

CTCA has been criticized for not meeting another state requirement that it dedicate at least 3 percent of its annual revenues to treating indigent patients.

SB 123 also provides that the 3 percent requirement would only apply to the Georgia patients that CTCA treats – currently, they account for no more than 35 percent of the hospital’s patients.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: certificate of need , CTCA , GACH , John Albers , Monty Veazey