2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 31 - HEALTH
CHAPTER 6 - STATE HEALTH PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
ARTICLE 3 - CERTIFICATE OF NEED PROGRAM
§ 31-6-40 - Certificate of need required for new institutional health services; exemption

O.C.G.A. 31-6-40 (2010)
31-6-40. Certificate of need required for new institutional health services; exemption


(a) On and after July 1, 2008, any new institutional health service shall be required to obtain a certificate of need pursuant to this chapter. New institutional health services include:

(1) The construction, development, or other establishment of a new health care facility;

(2) Any expenditure by or on behalf of a health care facility in excess of $2.5 million which, under generally accepted accounting principles consistently applied, is a capital expenditure, except expenditures for acquisition of an existing health care facility not owned or operated by or on behalf of a political subdivision of this state, or any combination of such political subdivisions, or by or on behalf of a hospital authority, as defined in Article 4 of Chapter 7 of this title, or certificate of need owned by such facility in connection with its acquisition. The dollar amounts specified in this paragraph and in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (14) of Code Section 31-6-2 shall be adjusted annually by an amount calculated by multiplying such dollar amounts (as adjusted for the preceding year) by the annual percentage of change in the composite index of construction material prices, or its successor or appropriate replacement index, if any, published by the United States Department of Commerce for the preceding calendar year, commencing on July 1, 2009, and on each anniversary thereafter of publication of the index. The department shall immediately institute rule-making procedures to adopt such adjusted dollar amounts. In calculating the dollar amounts of a proposed project for purposes of this paragraph and subparagraph (A) of paragraph (14) of Code Section 31-6-2, the costs of all items subject to review by this chapter and items not subject to review by this chapter associated with and simultaneously developed or proposed with the project shall be counted, except for the expenditure or commitment of or incurring an obligation for the expenditure of funds to develop certificate of need applications, studies, reports, schematics, preliminary plans and specifications or working drawings, or to acquire sites;

(3) The purchase or lease by or on behalf of a health care facility or a diagnostic, treatment, or rehabilitation center of diagnostic or therapeutic equipment with a value in excess of $1 million; provided, however, that diagnostic or other imaging services that are not offered in a hospital or in the offices of an individual private physician or single group practice of physicians exclusively for use on patients of that physician or group practice shall be deemed to be a new institutional health service regardless of the cost of equipment; and provided, further, that this shall not include build out costs, as defined by the department, but shall include all functionally related equipment, software, and any warranty and services contract costs for the first five years. The acquisition of one or more items of functionally related diagnostic or therapeutic equipment shall be considered as one project. The dollar amount specified in this paragraph, in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (14) of Code Section 31-6-2, and in paragraph (10) of subsection (a) of Code Section 31-6-47 shall be adjusted annually by an amount calculated by multiplying such dollar amounts (as adjusted for the preceding year) by the annual percentage of change in the consumer price index, or its successor or appropriate replacement index, if any, published by the United States Department of Labor for the preceding calendar year, commencing on July 1, 2010;

(4) Any increase in the bed capacity of a health care facility except as provided in Code Section 31-6-47;

(5) Clinical health services which are offered in or through a health care facility, which were not offered on a regular basis in or through such health care facility within the 12 month period prior to the time such services would be offered;

(6) Any conversion or upgrading of any general acute care hospital to a specialty hospital or of a facility such that it is converted from a type of facility not covered by this chapter to any of the types of health care facilities which are covered by this chapter; and

(7) Clinical health services which are offered in or through a diagnostic, treatment, or rehabilitation center which were not offered on a regular basis in or through that center within the 12 month period prior to the time such services would be offered, but only if the clinical health services are any of the following:

(A) Radiation therapy;

(B) Biliary lithotripsy;

(C) Surgery in an operating room environment, including but not limited to ambulatory surgery; and

(D) Cardiac catheterization.

(b) Any person proposing to develop or offer a new institutional health service or health care facility shall, before commencing such activity, submit a letter of intent and an application to the department and obtain a certificate of need in the manner provided in this chapter unless such activity is excluded from the scope of this chapter.

(c) (1) Any person who had a valid exemption granted or approved by the former Health Planning Agency or the department prior to July 1, 2008, shall not be required to obtain a certificate of need in order to continue to offer those previously offered services.

(2) Any facility offering ambulatory surgery pursuant to the exclusion designated on June 30, 2008, as division (14)(G)(iii) of Code Section 31-6-2; any diagnostic, treatment, or rehabilitation center offering diagnostic imaging or other imaging services in operation and exempt prior to July 1, 2008; or any facility operating pursuant to a letter of nonreviewability and offering diagnostic imaging services prior to July 1, 2008, shall:

(A) Provide notice to the department of the name, ownership, location, single specialty, and services provided in the exempt facility;

(B) Beginning on January 1, 2009, provide annual reports in the same manner and in accordance with Code Section 31-6-70; and

(C) (i) Provide care to Medicaid beneficiaries and, if the facility provides medical care and treatment to children, to PeachCare for Kids beneficiaries and provide uncompensated indigent and charity care in an amount equal to or greater than 2 percent of its adjusted gross revenue; or

(ii) If the facility is not a participant in Medicaid or the PeachCare for Kids Program, provide uncompensated care for Medicaid beneficiaries and, if the facility provides medical care and treatment to children, for PeachCare for Kids beneficiaries, uncompensated indigent and charity care, or both in an amount equal to or greater than 4 percent of its adjusted gross revenue if it:

(I) Makes a capital expenditure associated with the construction, development, expansion, or other establishment of a clinical health service or the acquisition or replacement of diagnostic or therapeutic equipment with a value in excess of $800,000.00 over a two-year period;

(II) Builds a new operating room; or

(III) Chooses to relocate in accordance with Code Section 31-6-47.

Noncompliance with any condition of this paragraph shall result in a monetary penalty in the amount of the difference between the services which the center is required to provide and the amount actually provided and may be subject to revocation of its exemption status by the department for repeated failure to pay any fees or moneys due to the department or for repeated failure to produce data as required by Code Section 31-6-70 after notice to the exemption holder and a fair hearing pursuant to Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act." The dollar amount specified in this paragraph shall be adjusted annually by an amount calculated by multiplying such dollar amount (as adjusted for the preceding year) by the annual percentage of change in the consumer price index, or its successor or appropriate replacement index, if any, published by the United States Department of Labor for the preceding calendar year, commencing on July 1, 2009. In calculating the dollar amounts of a proposed project for the purposes of this paragraph, the costs of all items subject to review by this chapter and items not subject to review by this chapter associated with and simultaneously developed or proposed with the project shall be counted, except for the expenditure or commitment of or incurring an obligation for the expenditure of funds to develop certificate of need applications, studies, reports, schematics, preliminary plans and specifications or working drawings, or to acquire sites. Subparagraph (C) of this paragraph shall not apply to facilities offering ophthalmic ambulatory surgery pursuant to the exclusion designated on June 30, 2008, as division (14)(G)(iii) of Code Section 31-6-2 that are owned by physicians in the practice of ophthalmology.

(d) A certificate of need issued to a destination cancer hospital shall authorize the beds and all new institutional health services of such destination cancer hospital. As used in this subsection, the term "new institutional health service" shall have the same meaning provided for in subsection (a) of this Code section. A certificate of need shall only be issued to a destination cancer hospital that locates itself and all affiliated facilities within 25 miles of a commercial airport in this state with five or more runways. Such destination cancer hospital shall not be required to apply for or obtain additional certificates of need for new institutional health services related to the treatment of cancer patients, and such new institutional health services related to the treatment of cancer patients offered by the destination cancer hospital shall not be reviewed under any service-specific need methodology or rules except for those promulgated by the department for destination cancer hospitals. After commencing operations, in order to add an additional new institutional health service, a destination cancer hospital shall apply for and obtain an additional certificate of need under the applicable statutory provisions and any rules promulgated by the department for destination cancer hospitals, and such applications shall only be granted if the patient base of such destination cancer hospital is composed of at least 65 percent of out-of-state patients for two consecutive years. The department may apply rules for a destination cancer hospital only for those services that the department determines are to be used by the destination cancer hospital in connection with the treatment of cancer. In no case shall destination cancer hospital specific rules be used in the case of an application for open heart surgery, perinatal services, cardiac catheterization, and other services deemed by the department to be not reasonably related to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer; provided, however, that the department shall apply the destination cancer hospital specific rules if a destination cancer hospital applies for services and equipment required for it to meet federal or state laws applicable to a hospital. If such destination cancer hospital cannot show a patient base of a minimum of 65 percent from outside of this state, then its application for any new institutional health service shall be evaluated under the specific statutes and rules applicable to that particular service. If such destination cancer hospital applies for a certificate of need to add an additional new institutional health service before commencing operations or completing two consecutive years of operation, such applicant may rely on historical data from its affiliated entities, as set forth in paragraph (2) of subsection (b.1) of Code Section 31-6-42. Because destination cancer hospitals provide services primarily to out-of-state residents, the number of beds, services, and equipment destination cancer hospitals use shall not be counted as part of the department's inventory when determining the need for those items by other providers. No person shall be issued more than one certificate of need for a destination cancer hospital. Nothing in this Code section shall in any way require a destination cancer hospital to obtain a certificate of need for any purpose that is otherwise exempt from the certificate of need requirement. Beginning January 1, 2010, the department shall not accept any application for a certificate of need for a new destination cancer hospital; provided, however, all other provisions regarding the upgrading, replacing, or purchasing of diagnostic or therapeutic equipment shall be applicable to an existing destination cancer hospital.

(e) The commissioner shall be authorized, with the approval of the board, to place a temporary moratorium of up to six months on the issuance of certificates of need for new and emerging health care services. Any such moratorium placed shall be for the purpose of promulgating rules and regulations regarding such new and emerging health care services. A moratorium may be extended one time for an additional three months if circumstances warrant, as approved by the board. In the event that final rules and regulations are not promulgated within the time period allowed by the moratorium, any applications received by the department for a new and emerging health care service shall be reviewed under existing general statutes and regulations relating to certificates of need.

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