by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A unanimous three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals has affirmed an administrative law judge’s ruling that FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital did not need to get a new state certificate of need “to reallocate the ratio of inpatient and emergency services on a temporary basis to meet fluctuations in demand, where the hospital did not propose to increase or decrease its facility, equipment, or expenditures.” Cape Fear Valley Health System and Hoke Healthcare had challenged the state on the issue. The rival health care providers objected to FirstHealth’s use of available inpatient beds to take care of overflow from its Hoke County emergency department. The Court of Appeals rejected the argument.
We hold that, based on the record before us, a new certificate of need was not necessary because the hospital did not add a new institutional health service, change the scope of services previously approved in a certificate of need, or fail to materially comply with the existing certificate of need.
Meanwhile, a unanimous three-judge panel affirmed a ruling favoring the state in a dispute over a certificate of need for 10 new dialysis stations in Franklin County. Two different health care providers had been competing for the CON. Total Renal Care of North Carolina had challenged the process state regulators used to judge the competing CON applications.
Among other Court of Appeals opinions released this morning: