While many of us were shopping for last-minute gifts for our families, Governor McCrory was busy approving the 2015 State Medical Facilities Plan (“SMFP”). The SMFP is a document created annually by the State Health Coordinating Council that sets forth the methodology and allocations of available Certificates of Needs (“CON”) for the upcoming year. Under North Carolina law, the SMFP must be approved by the Governor. On December 22, 2015, the Governor approved the need allocations that will be available for the award of CONs in 2015 by signing the SMFP. Although the 2015 SMFP does not allocate a large number of potential CONs, there are some significant healthcare projects in the 2015 SMFP for which providers may wish to apply in the coming months.
In terms of technology and equipment, a CON for a fixed MRI scanner in Harnett County will be up for review in 2015. Applications for the fixed MRI scanner are due on August 17, 2015. Otherwise, 2015 looks to be a relatively quiet year for equipment applications.
Adult care home CONs provide one bright spot in the 2015 SMFP. The 2015 SMFP allocated 340 beds to Brunswick County. Applications for this allocation are due August 17, 2015. Providers should be mindful that they can apply for all or part of the 340 available beds. This allocation provides a good opportunity for adult care home providers to grow in a part of the state that is seeing an increased number of retirees.
On the home care and hospice front, the 2015 SMFP has no allocation for additional home health offices. However, the SMFP allocates one CON for a hospice home care Medicare-certified office in Cumberland County. Applications for the Cumberland County hospice home care CON are due June 15, 2015.
For psychiatric inpatient beds, the SMFP allocates 18 child and adolescent psychiatric beds in the East Carolina Behavioral Health service area, 25 beds in the Eastpointe service area, and 3 beds in the Smoky Mountain Center service area. Applications for both the East Carolina and Eastpointe beds are due April 15, 2015. Applications for the 3 beds in the Smoky Mountain Center service area are due May 15, 2015.
There are also 2 allocations for adult psychiatric inpatient beds in the 2015 SMFP. 43 adult beds were allocated in the Alliance Behavioral Healthcare service area. Applications for those beds are due April 15, 2015. The CoastalCare service area was also allocated 26 adult beds in the 2015 SMFP. The CoastalCare application due date is also April 15, 2015.
The SMFP allocated beds in two regions for adult chemical dependency residential treatment. In the Eastern Region, which constitutes Health Service Area V and VI, 25 beds were allocated. In the Central Region, which is made up of Health Service Area II, III, IV and V, 51 beds were allocated. Applications for both the Eastern and the Central Regions are due June 15, 2015.
Three allocations were made for child and adolescent chemical dependency treatment beds. 10 beds were allocated in the Eastern Region and 18 beds were allocated in the Central Region. Applications for these bed allocations are due June 15, 2015. Additionally, 2 beds were allocated in the Western Region. Applications for those beds are due May 15, 2015.
While there are a relatively small number of need allocations in the 2015 SMFP, there are some significant opportunities for health care providers, particularly for adult care home, hospice and inpatient psychiatric care providers. If you are considering applying for one of these CONS and have questions about the CON Process it may be a good idea to contact a CON attorney that can provide you specific guidance about your proposal. Parker Poe, and many other law firms with experience with CON law, regularly counsel healthcare providers on CON matters and can provide advice on how the state agency may view your application.