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North Carolina legislators confident CON repeal is on the way — 5 insights

North Carolina legislators are becoming increasingly confident they can repeal the state's certificate-of-need laws this year, The Laurinburg Exchange reports.

What you should know:

1. At a May 15 press conference, legislators, physicians and academics argued against the state's CON system, saying patients would pay less and competition would increase if the system was repealed.

2. North Carolina's hospital lobby is particularly active and would like the state's CON system to remain. The hospital lobby argued that rural hospitals could close if the state abolished its CON system.

3. Legislators are weighing several legislative options. House Bill 857 would remove CONs restricting ASCs and endoscopy rooms, while Senate Bill 646 would broaden the repeal's scope to include new operating rooms, diagnostic centers, kidney disease treatment centers, chemical dependency treatment facilities, some home health agencies and most mental health facilities.

4. SB 646 also accounted for the hospital lobby's concern about charity care, requiring new centers established without CONs to allocate a percentage of their revenues to help nearby hospitals pay for charity cases. Hospital lobbyists argue abolishing CONs would jeopardize the required charity care hospitals provide.

5. HB 857 and SB 646 are both in committee.

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