Wednesday, June 6, 2012

IJ Tackles CONs

The Institute for Justice is now taking on CON (Certificate of Need) laws, using Virginia as their test case.

They've posted details at: "CON JOB: How A Virginia Law Enriches Established Businesses by Limiting Your Medical Options, and How IJ Is Going to Stop It".

IJ attorney Darpana Sheth also has a nice OpEd in the 6/5/2012 Washington Times, "Requiring higher health care costs".

Here's an extended excerpt:
Dr. Mark Monteferrante, a board-certified radiologist with more than 19 years of experience. Dr. Monteferrante specializes in interpreting images of the brain and spine. He and his team of radiologists and staff offer services in nine offices in Maryland and one in the District.
Dr. Monteferrante wants to open an office in Northern Virginia to bring his team’s special expertise diagnosing bone and joint injuries to the area. He and his team are all licensed to practice in Virginia. They have a great client base and access to capital to buy an MRI scanner, which they need in order to open a new office.
The only problem is that Virginia makes it a crime to purchase an MRI scanner without first getting special permission from the government. Under Virginia’s “certificate-of-need” program, Dr. Monteferrante must first prove to the Department of Health that there is a “need” for his radiology services and a new MRI machine in Northern Virginia. To make matters worse, existing businesses are allowed to participate in the process to oppose Dr. Monteferrante’s application.
Under Virginia’s complicated scheme, Dr. Monteferrante must submit to a lengthy and costly application process which, on average, lasts eight months and costs $20,000, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars more in consulting and attorney fees. After all that time and money, approval is far from certain...
Here's their short explanatory video:

I've practiced medicine in states without and with such Certificate of Need requirements.

These CONs jack up prices and reduce access for patients, to benefit those providers with enough political "pull" to restrict competition.

Kudos to the Institute for Justice for tackling this important issue!