Letter to the Governor: Necessity and Urgency of Indefinite Suspension of Certificate-of-Need
March 25, 2020
To: The Honorable Governor James C. Justice
Subject: Necessity and Urgency of Indefinite Suspension of Certificate-of-Need
Dear Governor Justice,
In recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing the citizens of West Virginia caused by COVID-19, it is imperative that the state allow the medical community to rapidly respond to the increasingly urgent medical needs of West Virginians.
Considering this reality, the Cardinal Institute for WV Policy urges an immediate and indefinite suspension of the certificate-of-need (CON) process. As you know, CON laws can unnecessarily slow down the rapid response required in the face of worldwide pandemic such as that our state now faces.
Economically dubious in the best of times, CON laws are indefensible when facing a medical crisis, the likes of which have not been seen in over a century. States as politically disparate as New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina have seen fit to suspend the types of laws that slow down the ability of the healthcare sector to respond to COVID-19.
As the incidence of COVID-19 in West Virginia continues to accelerate, the likelihood of facing a hospital bed and facility shortage increases, as well, and the need for our medical community to be able to respond increases exponentially.
Governor Justice, as you have stated numerous times in your press conferences, time is of the essence, and we cannot allow an unnecessary, bureaucratic CON process to impede potentially life-saving response and flexibility. There is no defensible reason for the state to force medical professionals to obtain a government permission slip before they can respond to a statewide emergency.
As the difficulties our state faces from COVID-19 continue to mount, we must relentlessly search for easy, defensible, and useful solutions. There is no better place to look than an indefinite suspension of the CON process.
The Cardinal Institute thanks you for your prompt attention to this matter, and West Virginia thanks you for your leadership in the face of this crisis.
Executive Director, Cardinal Institute for WV Policy