Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan will now be able to expand its bed capacity and accept more Georgia patients because of recent changes in the state’s certificate-of-need program.
For the first time in a decade, significant changes were approved in the state’s CON program. CON governs the construction and expansion of healthcare facilities and services, according to www.georgiahealthnews.com .
House Bill 186 will limit the rival entities that can object to a health care provider’s CON application to those within a 35-mile radius of the proposed project. Currently, there are no geographic restrictions on who can object, according to georgiahealthnews.com. Under current laws, a provider must obtain a certificate of need from the state to proceed with a major project.
Other changes include increasing financial thresholds for hospital construction and medical equipment, and prohibiting hospitals from purchasing or holding ‘‘medical use’’ rights of properties.
“Most important is what this change means for Georgia cancer patients,” said Ray Williams, vice president of government and community affairs at CTCA in Newnan, in an email statement.
“Cancer patients don’t have time to wait and this legislation, which will take effect beginning in January 2020, means more options and more access to the care they want and need,” Williams said. “It is patients-first change.”
Williams said more Georgia patients will be able to be treated at CTCAl because of the new changes.
“The current restrictions require we have no more than 50 beds and that no more than 35 percent of our patients come from Georgia ,” Williams said.
Williams said CTCA’s agreement with Aetna will allow more patients access to the hospital’s clinical team and the specialized cancer care in Newnan.
For now, operations will stay the same and the hospital will continue to “focus on delivering comprehensive, quality, patient-centered cancer care,” Williams said.
Officials with Piedmont Healthcare said the organization is supportive of changes
that modernize and streamline the process, support innovation and promote marketplace improvements while ensuring that hospitals can continue to provide needed services to the many communities and patient groups Piedmont serves.
“Piedmont will continue to invest in new services and enhanced capabilities,” Piedmont Newnan CEO Mike Robertson said.
Robertson said Piedmont’s operations will not change and it will continue to provide healthcare services to patients close to where they live.
As far as preparing for the change, Robertson said Piedmont will continue to be compliant with all applicable laws and rules.