House Health Policty Committee working to reduce health care costs

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By State Rep. George Darany
As the minority vice chairman for the House Health Policy Committee, addressing the high costs of health care has always been a top priority of mine. Since 1972, Michigan has been working toward controlling health care costs through its Certificate of Need program.

The goal of Michigan’s Certificate of Need program is to balance cost, quality, and access to services to ensure that only necessary and prudent expenses are undertaken in Michigan. As we continue to look for ways to reduce health care costs, I am honored to be a member of the bipartisan Joint Legislative Workgroup that is reviewing our Certificate of Need program this summer.

When a hospital, healthcare facility, physician, group practice, or other health organization proposes certain types of major and expensive projects they must first obtain Certificate of Need clearance. Examples of such proposals include an increase in the number of licensed hospital beds or the relocation of licensed beds from one health care site to another; the merging of existing health care facilities; the operation of a new care health facility; the replacement or expansion of covered clinical services; and changes to short-term nursing care programs. The construction, renovation and other related projects involving a healthcare facility also require Certificate of Need authorization.

While some of our larger communities require more than one healthcare facility, others don’t have the need and it is expensive to duplicate services. Our Certificate of Need program looks at who is proposing to expand, merge or purchase a facility or equipment and where they are located in order to help keep healthcare costs lower. The 11-member Certificate of Need Commission is an independent body appointed by the governor that makes its decisions based on approved review standards for determining the need and current quality assurance standards.

I am pleased to be a member of the Certificate of Need legislative workgroup reviewing the program. It is important to determine how it can operate the most efficiently in order to make changes if and when they are needed. Our work will help health care professionals make informed decisions about what makes sense for our communities. It is crucial that we work together to control health care costs and provide high-quality health care that is accessible to all of Michigan’s citizens.

(State Rep. George Darany represents the 15th House District. To contact him, call 855-775-1515 or email him at georgetdarany@house.mi.gov. To sign up for his e-newsletter, go to his website, house.mi.gov/gdarany.)

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