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Montana Bill Would Establish Stricter CON Process for ASCs

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Ambulatory surgery centers in Montana may face new hurdles, as a bill making its way through the state's legislature would require any organization wanting to build an ASC in a county with an existing small hospital to go through a stricter review process.

House Bill 306 (pdf) would require an organization to apply for a certificate of need and also conduct an impact study to find the financial and operational ramifications of the proposed ASC on existing healthcare facilities, such as critical access hospitals, in a county with 50,000 people or less. Applicants will also have to pay for the impact study and provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposal, among other stipulations.

If Montana finds the proposed ASC would adversely affect the CAH in the county, the state would either deny the CON or "impose conditions on the applicant…to mitigate the adverse impact."

CAHs praised the bill, sponsored by Rep. Ron Ehli (R-Hamilton), saying it would prevent ASCs from draining profits from their organizations that are used to pay for less profitable and essential service lines, such as emergency care, according to a Missoulian report.

Larger hospitals and health systems opposed the bill. Kalispell (Mont.) Regional Healthcare, one of the largest systems in the state, said the bill would make it difficult for them to expand their ASC services in rural areas, according to the report.

More Articles on ASCs and CONs:

Outlook for De Novo ASCs in 2013 and Beyond: Q&A With Luke Lambert of ASCOA
CON Regulations by State: ASCs and the Limits on Expansion
Outlook on ASC Opportunities for CON States: Q&A With Dr. Edward Gronka of Fayette Plastic Surgery Center

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