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06.08.2017 Votes Cast on North Carolina’s 2018 State Medical Facilities Plan By: Joy Heath

North Carolina’s State Health Coordinating Council (SHCC) met Wednesday, June 7, 2017, in Raleigh to cast its votes on the 2018 Proposed State Medical Facilities Plan. Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH, the recently appointed Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, made an appearance at the SHCC Meeting and offered her insights on the future of health care in a value-driven and data-driven environment. Secretary Cohen spoke about the advent of Medicaid Managed Care and the anticipated end of Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) as the primary care case management health care plan for Medicaid beneficiaries in North Carolina. Secretary Cohen highlighted North Carolina’s opioid crisis and the need to integrate ongoing efforts with Virginia and Tennessee. Another highlight of the SHCC Meeting was the announcement of Martha Frisone as the new Chief for Healthcare Planning and Certificate of Need.   

The Proposed Plan likely will be released by the end of June. Once finalized, the Plan will identify the 2018 projections of need for new health care facilities and services across our State.  Following the efforts of the OR Workgroup, the Proposed SMPF will include projections of need for Operating Rooms in Buncombe, Durham, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, Orange and Wake Counties. These need determinations can be expected to spur a host of proposals for freestanding surgery centers across the State. Acute care beds will be shown as a need in Mecklenburg, Moore and Orange Counties. The Proposed Plan will include a need determination for two new home health agencies in Wake County, one new hospice home care office in Cumberland County, and new hospice inpatient beds in Wake County (14 beds) and Cumberland County (10 beds). Need projections will appear for new MRI scanners in two North Carolina markets and for one new Mobile PET scanner. A need for cardiac catheterization equipment will be identified for Buncombe County. Chemical dependency beds for children will show as needed in the Central Region. In long-term care, need projections are once again expected to be extremely limited, continuing the trend toward acquisition of existing facilities.  The SHCC meeting included an announcement of the new behavioral health beds awarded in connection with funds made available from the sale of property on the Dix Campus.    

With the release of the Proposed Plan, providers can anticipate the start of the summer Public Hearing season with Petitions for special need determinations being brought forth at various locations across the State. This year’s Petition deadline of July 26 will be enforced strictly and may serve to trip up providers accustomed to a later deadline or the historically more flexible approach of years past. The summer months also are a time for further data scrutiny and an examination of the need determinations in the Proposed Plan. Ultimately, the Plan will be put forward for consideration in the fall with the Governor signing the Plan before the end of the year.   

To download a copy of North Carolina CON Activity Report, prepared by Williams Mullen attorneys Joy Heath and Jennifer Nusbaum, please click here.