In a 198 to 161 vote, house members passed a bill that would allow for-profit specialty hospitals to avoid going through the certificate of need regulatory process. The bill also exempts these hospitals, most of which do not take Medicaid patients, from paying the state's Medicaid Enhancement Tax.
Opponents say the bill gives an unfair advantage to these for-profit specialty hospitals. Cancer Treatment Centers of America is eyeing New Hampshire as a location for a facility in the Northeast.
"They cherry pick the best patients with the best insurance and take those away from our existing community hospitals," says Rep. Democrat Rich DiPentima of Portsmouth. "...leaving our community hospitals with a greater burden, a greater percentage of their patients relying on Medicaid and uncompensated care," says DiPentima.
Last week the house voted to repeal the CON board. If that passes the Senate and the Governor approves it--no hospital, specialty or otherwise will need to go through that regulatory process because it will no longer exist.