February 19, 2008
“As anticipated, Governor Crist today announced a harmful recommendation to remove the current CON requirements for establishing new hospitals in Florida. Associated Industries’ Florida Hospital Council (FHC) is strongly opposed to this proposal, which has the potential to threaten the state’s entire health care system. Health care is not a commodity to be marketed like car dealers and gas stations. Hospitals are required to give away services to people who can’t afford to pay, and they are required by law to provide care in all urgent circumstances regardless of whether a patient can pay.
“Why would we abolish a system that is working? There is no indication that the CON process is problematic to the health care system. In fact, the CON process has worked effectively to insure we aren’t investing in hospitals that aren’t needed. What we do need in Florida are more doctors and nurses if the concern is over health care access. Residents already have access to hospitals. To address improved access, we need more primary health care services delivered in doctor’s offices and clinics, not in hospitals where - due to the inherent infrastructure - costs are more expensive.
“Deregulating the CON process will only encourage unnecessary hospitals to open their doors in Florida’s communities. A drastic move like this would certainly aggravate the serious nursing and physician shortage this state is currently experiencing and compromise the overall quality of care for all Floridians.
“This recommendation falls short of addressing Florida’s real health concerns. State leaders need to focus on finding ways to provide residents with lower health care costs, as well as encourage preventative care among patients and attract much needed health care professionals to Florida. Unfortunately, deregulation of the CON process will not resolve those issues.”
Associated Industries established the Florida Hospital Council in 2007 for the purpose of bringing attention to concerns and special issues hospitals face as major
providers of health care in the state. Members urge the administration to maintain the CON process and determine if improvements to the current system are needed.