Skip to main content
01.04.2021 Legal News

Governor Cooper Signs the 2021 North Carolina State Medical Facilities Plan

Governor Cooper has now approved the 2021 North Carolina State Medical Facilities Plan (the "SMFP"). The SMFP is the definitive annual resource detailing the policies and projections of need for specific health care facilities and services across the State. This year, the Governor amended the SMFP to include a need determination for 70 adult substance use disorder beds in the Eastern Region.

Each year’s SMFP identifies Need Determinations for:

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Operating rooms
  • Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
  • Technology services
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Adult care home beds
  • Medicare-certified home health agencies
  • End-stage renal disease dialysis facilities
  • Hospice home care and hospice inpatient beds
  • Psychiatric hospital units and specialty hospitals
  • Substance use disorder hospital units, specialty hospitals, and residential facilities
  • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities

Just as the Governor’s signature makes official the 2021 SMFP, attention now shifts to the development of the Proposed 2022 SMFP. The Planning year will kick off with a State Health Coordinating Council (SHCC) Meeting in March, followed by Committee meetings in April and May. The Committees will convene again in September, followed by the final SHCC meetings in late September and mid-October. During 2021, some meetings of the SHCC and its Committees will be held via WebEx. Meetings not held via WebEx will be held in Raleigh on the Dorothea Dix Campus in room 104 of the Brown Building from 10:00 a.m. until noon.

This year, COVID-19 will alter the typical Planning process, at least to some extent. North Carolina’s Healthcare Planning staff has renewed a request for industry input on how the impact of COVID-19 should be factored into the development of the SMFP for 2022. Originally, Healthcare Planning set a mid-January deadline for comments, anticipating a meeting in early February. Recently, Planning leadership extended that comment period through February 15 and announced its intent to convene a meeting in the latter half of February.

Specifically, Healthcare Planning is asking industry participants to comment on how COVID-19 has impacted utilization and to opine on whether adjustments should be made to the methodologies typically used to identify the need for new health care capabilities. Based on its review of facilities and services across North Carolina, Healthcare Planning has concluded that the following methodologies should be assessed to decide whether and to what extent those methodologies should be adjusted for the effects of COVID-19:

  • Acute care hospital beds
  • Operating rooms
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners
  • Linear accelerators (LINAC)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scanners

In addition to the standard annual data, Healthcare Planning intends to obtain data for the last two FFY 2020 quarters (April 1 – September 30, 2020) on most of the facilities and equipment in the SMFP. This data will enable Healthcare Planning staff to measure the effects of COVID on utilization. Results of the analysis will be available at the May 2021 Committee meetings.

For more information on any of the above, including the Need Determinations in the 2021 SMFP and the 2022 Healthcare Planning process, please reference or contact the undersigned.