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Column: No doubt about it, CONs have few benefits

While the years of mandated certificate-of-need legislation are behind us, 36 states and Washington, D.C., still have CON laws. Matthew Mitchell, PhD, the director of George Mason University's equity initiative, laid out the benefits and drawbacks of CON laws in Managed Healthcare Executive.

What you should know:

1. While CONs had benefits when they were first established, the antiquated laws limit access to healthcare, prevent quality improvement initiatives and lead to higher costs.

2. States that repealed their CON laws often had greater numbers of healthcare facilities per capita. They also had a greater number of ancillary facilities.

3. CON proponents argued that CON laws protected rural hospitals, but researchers found that claim to be false. States without CONs had greater numbers of rural hospitals and rural ASCs than states with CON laws.

4. In a study at Fairfax, Va.-based George Mason University, researchers found that states without CONs had lower mortality rates for several conditions and had lower readmission rates in general.

Dr. Mitchell concluded, "Both economic theory and data accumulated over the last four decades strongly suggest that CON removal will result in greater access to higher-quality, lower-cost care."

Read the entire column here.

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