The South Carolina General Assembly recently passed and the governor signed S.164, which amends the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) law and renames it the “State Health Facility Licensure Act.” The Act makes several notable changes to S.C. Code Ann. § 44-7-110, including:
- Removing CON requirements for healthcare facilities in South Carolina, hospitals and nursing homes excepted.
- Providing for exemptions from CON review by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
- Adding licensure requirements for ambulatory surgical facilities.
- Shortening the overall application period and deadlines for DHEC and CON applicants.
State CON laws seek to contain health care costs through the regulation of unnecessary expansion or establishment of duplicative services in a particular geographic area. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, CON laws may potentially have negative impacts on health care costs and access to quality health services. As of January 2023, 35 states and Washington, D.C., maintain diverse CON laws. South Carolina is one of many states to modify its CON law in recent years, and it will be interesting to see if other states may propose modifications.