Certificate of Need Laws Leave Patients with Fewer Options
Certificate of need laws refer to a program that state legislators put in place to govern the “establishment, construction, renovation and major medical equipment acquisitions of health care facilities, such as hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, and diagnostic and treatment centers,” according to the New York State Department of Health. Basically, this means that if a new medical practice wants to open up in the state of New York, or if a hospital wants to undergo major renovations or purchase new equipment, official government approval is required.
These laws were enacted more than 50 years ago, and their original intent was to ensure that the same high-quality standard of healthcare services was available everywhere throughout the state. They also gave the government a bit of added control when it came to rising healthcare costs. If each and every practice must be approved by the government, government regulators could establish a standard of care and standard prices patients could expect to pay.
However, recent studies have shown that this system may no longer be—or, may have never been—effective. Instead of ensuring that there’s a consistent standard of healthcare, certificate of need laws seem to be diminishing competition for healthcare providers, which has led to an overall lower standard of care for patients.
Getting rid of these laws, or changing them so that they no longer discourage new practices and facilities from opening up, could raise the standard of healthcare across the state, encouraging competition among healthcare providers. Increased competition would provide an incentive for healthcare providers to deliver patient-focused services, and to provide better service than their competitors.
According to The Fiscal Times, a study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University found that hospital mortality rates are higher in states that have a certificate of need laws than they are in states that do not have the same or similar laws in place. This new data should serve as a wake-up call to legislators across the country that these laws are no longer helping patients, and could be putting them at risk instead.
If you were a loved one has been injured as a result of a lapse in the standard of care, you deserve the best legal representation you can get. Give us a call today to get started by speaking with one of the experienced malpractice attorneys at Ask4Sam.