Rumor had it House leadership was hesitant to pass it as is. It’s my understanding that the Speaker of the House represents Prisma, a large medical provider in South Carolina, in his private practice. Is this a conflict of interest that could have interfered with his ability to be impartial in this situation? (Check out these graphs that we made about other potential conficts of interest some of our Reps have reported.) The House ended up passing an amended version on May 2, which the Senate approved and sent to the governor on May 3.
As amended, the Certificate of Need will now sunset Jan. 1, 2027. S164 also created a “Certificate of Need study committee to examine the effect of the repeal of the Certificate of Need program on the quality and quantity of access to health care in rural portions of South Carolina” (S164, Section 8). SC is one of 35 states still requiring a Certificate of Need.
The new law also allows the construction of new hospitals with up to fifty beds in any county currently without a hospital. That’s good news for the 6 counties in SC without hospitals (Bamberg, Calhoun, Lee, Marlboro, McCormick, & Saluda).
According to news reports, the governor plans on signing S164 into law.
Enter S399, a bill that will abolish DHEC and spend $5 million creating two new agencies: 1) SC Department of Public Health and 2) the Department of Environmental Services, which passed the Senate on May 3 and passed a second reading in the House yesterday, 5/10. While perusing legislation that had been filed last session I ran across this bill and recalled reading about the Certificate of Need in it. I decided to take a look and compare it to the bill passed at the beginning of the month.
No more notice?
What is the net effect of S399 on the recent passage of S164? Does it change anything? Does it make it more difficult on providers attempting to obtain a Certificate of Need? Comment below and let us know what you think.