On Nov. 9, the Richmond Times-Dispatch featured the story of Medarva Healthcare and how it took them two years to finally receive approval from the Virginia Department of Health to receive the Certificate of Public Need (COPN) required to expand its offices to the West Creek Surgery Center in Goochland County.
This article is a reminder that the current COPN program requires owners of medical care facility projects to secure a COPN from the State Health Commissioner prior to initiating projects. The decades old program was originally designed by the federal government to avoid unnecessary duplication in the health care system and contain costs. However, the outdated program is having the opposite effect here in Virginia due to the difficult and time-consuming nature of the process. Medarva’s story of spending more than 1,000 hours of staff time and in excess of $300,000 in legal and other fees during the COPN process (first submitting its application in January 2015) exemplifies why the current COPN process needs reform to make it a more transparent, equitable, merit-based process that meets the needs of physicians and patients alike.
MSV recognizes the need to improve the existing COPN process, which is why we plan to support significant COPN reform at the upcoming General Assembly session. Based on our thorough evidence-based research and on the examples, as demonstrated by Medarva and countless other physicians, MSV will continue to advocate for a system that is more accessible, requires appropriate safeguards and licensure to maintain high quality care, creates consistent and enforceable charity care requirements and supports the continued economic viability of our academic health centers.
As an MSV member, you can also make a difference by following our weekly E-News for continued updates, sharing your experiences about the existing COPN process or attending our upcoming White Coats on Call lobby days to share your message with your legislators. Thank you for your help and support.