The House Health and Human Services Committee has sent an amended bill allowing not just Cancer Specialty Hospitals but all specialty hospitals to bypass the Certificate of Need process. All other hospitals in the state must go in front of the CON board to gain approval for new or expanded services.
Rep. Lynn Blakenbeker, Republican of Concord, voted in favor of the bill.
"We as a state should be encouraging businesses all kinds to come into the state especially when it comes to specialty healthcare treatment we should be offering all options," she says.
The bill is opposed by the New Hampshire Hospital Association and the Business and Industry Association--both of which contend it will give these for-profit hospitals, which generally only take privately insured patients, an unfair advantage.
Rep. Rich Dipentima, a Democrat from Portsmouth, voted against the measure. "It will raise healthcare costs," he says. "We are potentially putting our other healthcare facilities in jeopardy." Dipentima says by luring private paying patients away from the state's non-profit teaching hospitals, the hospitals will lose money and be forced to raise prices.
The full house will vote on the measure when it returns from recess in two weeks. The full house will also vote on another bill that would overhaul the Certificate of Need board in an attempt to prevent members from serving who may have a conflict of interest.