Private surgeons and physicians want to reform the state’s certificate of need law — the legal process to obtain state approval for a variety of equipment, facilities, and procedures to ensure they are not duplicative of existing situations.
The surgeons want to make it easier to establish lower-cost, single-specialty ambulatory surgery centers that markedly would reduce payments the state makes to hospitals for Medicaid patients and for state employees under the state health plan. Hospitals say specialty surgery centers will cherry-pick the insured patients hospitals need to cover the costs of treating the indigent and uninsured.
They want to eliminate hospitals’ ability to monopolize the surgery market and collect higher government-paid hospital rates at off-campus surgery centers.
“Hospitals in North Carolina have had many years of very limited competition from the few existing ambulatory surgery centers and diagnostic centers, and it’s time for us to allow for competition,” said Cathy Wright, a lobbyist for the North Carolina Orthopaedic Association.
“Competition will increase transparency, help the patients be more aware of the actual costs of their health care, and, I think, ultimately it will drive down costs,” Wright said.