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West Virginia Takes Step Approach at CON Repeal

February 21, 2020

The West Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that eliminates a $1,000 fee charge that is most often refunded when seeking Certificate of Need (CON) approval.

House Bill 4108 (H.B. 4108) stops the West Virginia Health Care Authority from charging the fee to health care services who are exempt from CON approval, such as alcohol and drug treatment centers, non-profit birthing centers and shared services between hospitals, including those who want to add or expand services or make capital expenditures under $5.3 million. House Majority Leader Amy Summers (R-Taylor) told Health Care News she expects the bill to clear the state senate and be signed by Gov. Jim Justice.

Delegate Pat McGeehan (R-Hancock) says he thought the House could have done more. “This is sort of a worthless bill,” Hancock told The Journal, January 22, 2020.

“Many people in this room [delegates] have gone out on the campaign train and completely advocated for eliminating entirely the certificate of need in this state,” McGeehan said. “This to me is a joke. We are operating in the margins.”

Summers said H.B. 4108 was needed because the $1,000 on exempt providers was “ridiculous,” and responded to criticism the state house could have done more. 

“We do have a repeal bill but not enough votes to get that across the finish line, so each year we try to remove parts of the CON process,” Summers said.

“Repealing West Virginia’s CON laws would roll back an outdated rule that has a strong negative effect on health care in the state,” said Matt Glans, senior policy analyst with The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News. “In addition to lowering health care costs, eliminating West Virginia’s CON laws would improve the quality and access of health care.”