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Moratorium on Certificates of Need until new regulations, standards enacted
Commissioner says DHSS will continue to process new and
pending CON applications, but take no final action.


November 27, 2004

Juneau, Alaska - Until new regulations and standards for the Certificate of Need (CON) Program are developed and implemented, Health and Social Services Commissioner Joel Gilbertson today declared a moratorium on final actions on all pending and new CON applications.

A Certificate of Need is required for certain health care facilities, such as hospitals, nursing homes, residential psychiatric treatment centers, and imaging centers; and requires justification for the need for the facility in the healthcare marketplace. The CON Program is designed to promote responsive health facility and service development, rational planning, and cost containment. CON project reviews help ensure that proposed services will be of good quality, acceptable to the public, and will meet the public need while preventing excessive, unnecessary, or duplicative development of facilities or service.  Projects that cost over $1 million are subject to the CON law.

"In recognition of the inadequacy of current regulations, in fairness to all parties who have submitted a CON application or may be prepared submit an application in the near future, and in the interest of assuring that all future CON decisions are made on the basis of current best practices, I am declaring a moratorium on taking final action on CON applications until such time as the new regulations and standards are in place," said Gilbertson.

CON applications currently in process or any new applications received during this period will continue to be processed by department CON program staff in accordance with state law. However, no final action on the applications will be taken during the period of the moratorium.

"I cannot predict with certainty when the new regulations will be effective, but my expectation is that our current project now underway to develop new regulations will be substantially complete by June 30, 2005, the end of the current fiscal year," said Gilbertson.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is in the process of developing new regulations for the Certificate of Need Program that will include new standards of review for health care facilities subject to the CON statute.

"While much work remains to be done to put the new regulations in place, the department has over the past six months made considerable progress," said Gilbertson.

  • In July 2004, the department received a report from Information Insights that contains proposed standards for the review of facilities subject to the CON statute.
  • In accordance with legislative intent attached to House Bill 511 last session, Gilbertson convened the Certificate of Need Task Force to recommend improvements to the CON regulations.  The Task Force met in early September and Gilbertson expects to receive a final Task Force report early in January 2005.
  • At the request of the Certificate of Need Task Force, the department has solicited public comments on the Information Insights report.  The 60-day public comment period will close on November 30th.
  • The department is in the process of procuring the services of a firm to undertake a professional third-party review of the Information Insights report to assess the validity of the proposed CON standards. The firm will also have the benefit of the public comments DHSS solicited on the report.
  • DHSS has retained the services of a paralegal assistant with many years of regulations drafting experience to assist in drafting the new regulations. 

"I look forward to working with all interested parties on the development of these important regulations and standards," said Gilbertson.


Source of News:

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Web Site



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