Kill CON

I have a number of friends who are big supporters of the Certificates of Need program, but I think theey are an impediment to patient choice and have done the opposite of what they were suppose to do, i.e. contain costs. This sounds like a good idea.

The measure, which the House may vote on today , would help general surgeons open ambulatory surgery centers and would let hospitals build parking decks and other non-clinical projects without state approval. Among other changes, it also would lift obstetrics restrictions on a few hospitals now allowed to deliver babies only in cases of emergencies.

Passage would represent the biggest changes ever in the state’s “certificate of need” system, commonly known as CON.

The arcane system controls health care construction and expansions, along with the availability of medical services such as obstetrics and heart surgery. Like other states, Georgia installed the certificate system more than 25 years ago to contain health care costs by limiting an “arms race” of medical services and technology. Several states have eliminated the system; others have scaled back the regulations.