Friday, February 17, 2017

CON Quality

As you read in my most recent blog post, Florida State Senator Rob Bradley recently introduced legislation (SB 676) which seeks to repeal the Certificate of Need program. This is a regulatory process that requires certain health care providers to obtain state approval before offering new or expanded services here in Florida. In my opinion, it’s not good news for the consumer because deregulation of CON has the potential to not only increase cost but lead to a decrease in the accessibility and quality of health care in our state.

The reality is that there are significant benefits to the consumer to keeping CON, the most notable one being elevating the quality of patient care. While there is no direct correlation to the presence of CON and high quality of care, the fact remains that with CON in place, hospitals are more likely to perform a greater number of a specific procedure due to increased volume among fewer hospitals. And it is well-documented through extensive research that the more times a hospital performs a certain procedure, the better the outcomes. 

For example, when choosing a hospital for neuro surgery, wouldn’t you want to select the hospital with the most experience — the one that does the procedure multiple times a day as opposed to once a week or once month? CON helps ensure that hospitals with a depth and breadth of experience in various procedures are available in your community.

CON also limits the creation of unnecessary service offerings — as hospitals do not have free reign to offer services whose need cannot be demonstrated — and helps ensure that the services are targeted and focused on what the community actually needs. Again, this means that CON elevates the quality of care the consumer experiences in their own backyard.

But it is not just Florida where CON helps drive the quality of patient care. As Steve Baumert and Marie Knedler, both CEOs of nonprofit hospitals in Iowa—a state with one of the highest-quality, lowest-cost health care systems in the country—explain in a recent op ed advocating for CON to remain in effect in their state, CON also contributes to the quality of patient care by “support(ing) the collaborative spirit that fosters communication and cooperation among Iowa health care providers, which, again, leads to better health care for everyone.

And because I believe we must do what is best for the consumer, I am continuing to advocate for our legislators to put together a statewide “blue ribbon” working group comprised of legislators, health care leaders, physicians, medical professionals and patient advocates. The mission of this group will be simple: to come together, roll up its collective sleeves and work toward providing the highest quality and most affordable health care for this State’s most precious resource — Floridians.

Finally, if you are concerned about how the deregulation of CON and specifically, Senate Bill (SB 676) will affect your access to high quality and affordable health care and if you want to see a panel put together to work on this problem, I encourage to reach out to legislators and make your voice heard.

Like what you read? Want to keep in touch? Please connectwith me on LinkedIn. 

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