11.08.2017 North Carolina State Health Coordinating Council Votes on Proposed 2018 State Medical Facilities Plan By: Joy Heath

On October 4, 2017, North Carolina’s health planning body, the State Health Coordinating Council (SHCC), met in Raleigh to finalize its work on the document that will define health care opportunities in North Carolina for the year to come. The much-anticipated 2018 State Medical Facilities Plan (SMFP) will now be tendered for consideration by Governor Cooper.

The 2018 SMFP is expected to reveal long-awaited opportunities for the development of new operating rooms (ORs) in Counties across North Carolina. By identifying the need for new ORs in various locations, the 2018 SMFP will open the doors for hospital OR expansion projects or proposals for new freestanding ambulatory surgery centers. A flurry of activity is anticipated to follow the announcement of the OR need determinations in the 2018 SMFP. The 2018 SMFP is expected to reveal a need for six new ORs in Mecklenburg County. In the Triad, Forsyth County anticipates a significant OR need determination, while in the Piedmont, OR need determinations are expected for Wake, Durham and Orange Counties. Western North Carolina’s Buncombe County (Asheville) is also expected to see a two OR need determination. Hospitals in Mecklenburg, Moore and Orange Counties anticipate opportunities to apply for Certificate of Need (CON) approval for additional acute care beds in 2018.

In the Technology and Equipment arena, the 2018 SMFP is expected to offer a unique opportunity for CON approval of a new Mobile PET scanner with a statewide area of operation. The 2018 SMFP is also anticipated to include opportunities for the acquisition of new MRI scanners in Union County and in a multi-County coastal service area. New cardiac catheterization equipment is expected to be shown as needed in one or more market areas in the State.

In Long-Term Care, the 2018 SMFP is likely to keep a tight lid on new development opportunities with only limited openings for CON approval for adult care home beds in two rural counties. As in years past, the SMFP will force providers to look to the acquisition of existing nursing home and adult care home beds to satisfy their objectives in North Carolina.

Need determinations in the psychiatric and chemical dependency arena are likely to be minimal. The 2018 SMFP may show a need for chemical dependency treatment beds for children and adolescents but not for psychiatric beds or adult chemical dependency treatment beds. Need determinations are not forecasted for other specialized medical equipment such as linear accelerators and lithotripters.

The 2018 SMFP is anticipated to offer several opportunities in home health and hospice. Two new home health agencies are expected to be shown as needed in the Wake County market. Also in Wake County, a need is expected for new hospice inpatient beds. In Cumberland County, a need is anticipated both for a hospice agency and hospice inpatient beds.

The 2018 SMFP will reveal opportunities in several key health care sectors and will provide a road-map for providers charting plans for growth and development in the coming year. Please let us know if you have any questions about the opportunities available in the 2018 SMFP.