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Michigan panel reviews 'certificate of need' for health-care industry

LANSING - A Michigan Senate committee listened to testimony at a hearing this week on a proposal to eliminate the state's “certificate of need” law but didn't vote on the issue.

Another hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 9.

State Sen. Glenn Steil (R., Grand Rapids) proposed eliminating the law, which requires hospitals and other health groups to get state permission before they add new health services. He argues the law hasn't controlled costs and has led to a shortage of some services. Ohio eliminated a similar regulation in 1998, although still maintains control of long-term care facilities.

Eight people testified during Tuesday's hearing of the Senate health policy committee. Most opposed eliminating Michigan's certificate of need law completely, although many said they were open to changes, according to an aide for the committee chairperson. The Michigan House hasn't proposed a bill that would eliminate the certificate of need law, but is looking at changing some parts.

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