2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 31 - HEALTH
CHAPTER 6 - STATE HEALTH PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
ARTICLE 3 - CERTIFICATE OF NEED PROGRAM
§ 31-6-42 - Qualifications for issuance of certificate

O.C.G.A. 31-6-42 (2010)
31-6-42. Qualifications for issuance of certificate


(a) The written findings of fact and decision, with respect to the department's grant or denial of a certificate of need, shall be based on the applicable considerations specified in this Code section and reasonable rules promulgated by the department interpretive thereof. The department shall issue a certificate of need to each applicant whose application is consistent with the following considerations and such rules deemed applicable to a project, except as specified in subsection (f) of Code Section 31-6-43:

(1) The proposed new institutional health services are reasonably consistent with the relevant general goals and objectives of the state health plan;

(2) The population residing in the area served, or to be served, by the new institutional health service has a need for such services;

(3) Existing alternatives for providing services in the service area the same as the new institutional health service proposed are neither currently available, implemented, similarly utilized, nor capable of providing a less costly alternative, or no certificate of need to provide such alternative services has been issued by the department and is currently valid;

(4) The project can be adequately financed and is, in the immediate and long term, financially feasible;

(5) The effects of new institutional health service on payors for health services, including governmental payors, are not unreasonable;

(6) The costs and methods of a proposed construction project, including the costs and methods of energy provision and conservation, are reasonable and adequate for quality health care;

(7) The new institutional health service proposed is reasonably financially and physically accessible to the residents of the proposed service area;

(8) The proposed new institutional health service has a positive relationship to the existing health care delivery system in the service area;

(9) The proposed new institutional health service encourages more efficient utilization of the health care facility proposing such service;

(10) The proposed new institutional health service provides, or would provide, a substantial portion of its services to individuals not residing in its defined service area or the adjacent service area;

(11) The proposed new institutional health service conducts biomedical or behavioral research projects or new service development which is designed to meet a national, regional, or state-wide need;

(12) The proposed new institutional health service meets the clinical needs of health professional training programs which request assistance;

(13) The proposed new institutional health service fosters improvements or innovations in the financing or delivery of health services, promotes health care quality assurance or cost effectiveness, or fosters competition that is shown to result in lower patient costs without a loss of the quality of care;

(14) The proposed new institutional health service fosters the special needs and circumstances of health maintenance organizations;

(15) The proposed new institutional health service meets the department's minimum quality standards, including, but not limited to, standards relating to accreditation, minimum volumes, quality improvements, assurance practices, and utilization review procedures;

(16) The proposed new institutional health service can obtain the necessary resources, including health care personnel and management personnel; and

(17) The proposed new institutional health service is an underrepresented health service, as determined annually by the department. The department shall, by rule, provide for an advantage to equally qualified applicants that agree to provide an underrepresented service in addition to the services for which the application was originally submitted.

(b) In the case of applications for the development or offering of a new institutional health service or health care facility for osteopathic medicine, the need for such service or facility shall be determined on the basis of the need and availability in the community for osteopathic services and facilities in addition to the considerations in subsection (a) of this Code section. Nothing in this chapter shall, however, be construed as otherwise recognizing any distinction between allopathic and osteopathic medicine.

(b.1) In the case of applications for the construction, development, or establishment of a destination cancer hospital, the applicable considerations as to the need for such service shall not include paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (7), (8), (10), (11), and (14) of subsection (a) of this Code section but shall include:

(1) Paragraphs (4), (5), (6), (9), (12), (13), (15), (16), and (17) of subsection (a) of this Code section;

(2) That the proposed new destination cancer hospital can demonstrate, based on historical data from the applicant or its affiliated entities, that its annual patient base shall be composed of a minimum of 65 percent of patients who reside outside of the State of Georgia;

(3) That the proposed new destination cancer hospital states its intent to provide uncompensated indigent or charity care which shall meet or exceed 3 percent of its adjusted gross revenues and provide care to Medicaid beneficiaries;

(4) That the proposed new destination cancer hospital shall conduct biomedical or behavioral research projects or service development which is designed to meet a national or regional need;

(5) That the proposed new destination cancer hospital shall be reasonably financially and physically accessible;

(6) That the proposed new destination cancer hospital shall have a positive relationship to the existing health care delivery system on a regional basis;

(6.1) That the proposed new destination cancer hospital shall enter into a hospital transfer agreement with one or more hospitals within a reasonable distance from the destination cancer hospital or the medical staff at the destination cancer hospital has admitting privileges or other acceptable documented arrangements with such hospital or hospitals to ensure the necessary backup for the destination cancer hospital for medical complications. The destination cancer hospital shall have the capability to transfer a patient immediately to a hospital within a reasonable distance from the destination cancer hospital with adequate emergency room services. Hospitals shall not unreasonably deny a transfer agreement with the destination cancer hospital. In the event that a destination cancer hospital and another hospital cannot agree to the terms of a transfer agreement as required by this paragraph, the department shall mediate between such parties for a period of no more than 45 days. If an agreement is still not reached within such 45 day period, the parties shall enter into binding arbitration conducted by the department;

(7) That an applicant for a new destination cancer hospital shall document in its application that the new facility is not predicted to be detrimental to existing hospitals within the planning area. Such demonstration shall be made by providing an analysis in such application that compares current and projected changes in market share and payor mix for such applicant and such existing hospitals within the planning area. Impact on an existing hospital shall be determined to be adverse if, based on the utilization projected by the applicant, such existing hospital would have a total decrease of 10 percent or more in its average annual utilization, as measured by patient days for the two most recent and available preceding calendar years of data; and

(8) That the destination cancer hospital shall express its intent to participate in medical staffing work force development activities.

(b.2) In the case of applications for basic perinatal services in counties where:

(1) Only one civilian health care facility or health system is currently providing basic perinatal services; and

(2) There are not at least three different health care facilities in a contiguous county providing basic perinatal services,

the department shall not apply the consideration contained in paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section.

(c) If the denial of an application for a certificate of need for a new institutional health service proposed to be offered or developed by a:

(1) Minority administered hospital facility serving a socially and economically disadvantaged minority population in an urban setting; or

(2) Minority administered hospital facility utilized for the training of minority medical practitioners

would adversely impact upon the facility and population served by said facility, the special needs of such hospital facility and the population served by said facility for the new institutional health service shall be given extraordinary consideration by the department in making its determination of need as required by this Code section. The department shall have the authority to vary or modify strict adherence to the provisions of this chapter and the rules enacted pursuant hereto in considering the special needs of such facility and its population served and to avoid an adverse impact on the facility and the population served thereby. For purposes of this subsection, the term "minority administered hospital facility" means a hospital controlled or operated by a governing body or administrative staff composed predominantly of members of a minority race.

(d) For the purposes of the considerations contained in this Code section and in the department's applicable rules, relevant data which were unavailable or omitted when the state health plan or rules were prepared or revised may be considered in the evaluation of a project.

(e) The department shall specify in its written findings of fact and decision which of the considerations contained in this Code section and the department's applicable rules are applicable to an application and its reasoning as to and evidentiary support for its evaluation of each such applicable consideration and rule.

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