COPN Work Group Holds First Meeting

The work group on Certificate of Public Need (COPN) established by the General Assembly earlier this year held its first meeting on July 1.  Douglas Suddreth, Autumn Corporation, serves as the Virginia Health Care Association (VHCA) representative on the panel. 

At this first meeting, Virginia Department of Health staff provided an overview of the program and COPN laws in other states. As work group members shared their thoughts on COPN in Virginia, Mr. Suddreth noted that the impact of COPN is different based upon the service.  Other work group members raised issues about competition, quality, access to care and pricing. 

The General Assembly directed Secretary of Health and Human Resources William A. Hazel Jr., M.D. to create the work group in response to questions raised about Virginia’s COPN process. The language authorizing the study primarily addresses services typically provided by general hospitals and outpatient facilities, not long term care facilities.  The work group is required to evaluate:

  • the process by which applications for certificates of public need are reviewed, the criteria upon which decisions about issuance of COPN are based, and barriers to issuance of a COPN;
  • the frequency with which applications for a certificate are approved or denied;
  • fees charged for review of applications for a COPN and the cost to the Commonwealth in processing applications for a Certificate of Public Need;
  • applications for and the impact of the current COPN process on establishment of new  health care services, including the establishment of new intermediate-level or specialty-level neonatal special care services and open heart surgery services and the addition of new beds or operating rooms at existing medical care facilities;
  • the relationship between the COPN process and the provision of charity care in the Commonwealth and the impact of the COPN process on the provision of charity care in the Commonwealth;
  • the impact of the COPN process on graduate medical education programs and teaching hospitals in the Commonwealth;
  • the efficacy of regional health planning agencies, the role of regional health planning agencies in the COPN process, and barriers to the continued role of regional health planning agencies in the COPN need process; and
  • the frequency with which the State Medical Facilities Plan is updated and whether such plan should be updated more frequently.

The Virginia Department of Health will be providing staff support to the Secretary’s office for this work group, and will host access to work group materials on the department’s website

The appointees to the COPN Work Group are:

  • Eva Hardy, Richmond, Former Senior Advisor, Dominion Resources, Inc., work group chair
  • David H. Trump, M.D, Richmond, Chief Deputy Commissioner, Virginia Department of Health
  • Pamela Sutton-Wallace, Charlottesville, CEO, UVA Medical Center
  • Mary Mannix, Fishersville, President & CEO, Augusta Health
  • Richard M. Hamrick, III, M.D., Richmond, Chief Medical Officer, HCA VA Health System
  • Douglas Suddreth, Mechanicsville, VP of Development, Autumn Corporation
  • J. Abbott Byrd, III, M.D., Virginia Beach, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists
  • Richard A. Szucs, M.D., Richmond, Radiologist, Commonwealth Radiology PC
  • C. Burke King, Richmond, President, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield Virginia
  • Brian Keefe, Bethesda, M.D., CFO of Capitol Market, Aetna Inc.
  • Robert Cramer, Norfolk, Former Manager of HR Services, Norfolk Southern Corporation
  • Carol Armstrong, Richmond, Manager of Benefits Administration, Southern States Cooperative
  • Jill Lobb, Hampton Roads, Corporate Director of Benefits, Huntington Ingalls Industries
  • Karen Cameron, Richmond, Director, Virginia Consumer Voices for Health Care
  • Debbie Oswalt, Richmond, Executive Director, Virginia Health Care Foundation
  • Kim Horn, Rockville, M.D., President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Mid-Atlantic States
  • William A. Hazel, Jr., M.D., Richmond - Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Commonwealth of Virginia, ex officio
  • Jamie Baskerville Martin, Richmond, Attorney, McCandlish Holton (non-voting advisor)

The work group will meet again on September 28 and hold a third meeting in late October.  The work group has been asked to provide a final report to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees by December 1, 2015.  VHCA will monitor the work group’s activities and provide future updates in the fall.