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Substitute House Bill No. 6452

Public Act No. 03-17

AN ACT CONCERNING CERTIFICATES OF NEED.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsections (a) to (c), inclusive, of section 19a-638 of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Except as provided in sections 19a-639a to 19a-639c, inclusive:

(1) Each health care facility or institution, that intends to (A) transfer all or part of its ownership or control, (B) change the governing powers of the board of a parent company or an affiliate, whatever its designation, or (C) change or transfer the powers or control of a governing or controlling body of an affiliate, shall submit to the office, prior to the proposed date of such transfer or change, a request for permission to undertake such transfer or change.

(2) Each health care facility or institution or state health care facility or institution, including any inpatient rehabilitation facility, which intends to introduce any additional function or service into its program of health care shall submit to the office, prior to the proposed date of the institution of such function or service, a request for permission to undertake such function or service.

(3) Each health care facility or institution or state health care facility or institution which intends to terminate a health service offered by such facility or institution or [decrease] reduce substantially its total bed capacity, shall submit to the office, prior to the proposed date of such termination or decrease, a request to undertake such termination or decrease.

(4) Each applicant, prior to submitting a certificate of need application under this section, section 19a-639 or under both sections, shall submit a request, in writing, for application forms and instructions to the office. The request shall be known as a letter of intent. A letter of intent shall include: (A) The name of the applicant or applicants; (B) a statement indicating whether the application is for a new, replacement or additional facility, service or function, the expansion or relocation of an existing facility, service or function, a change in ownership or control, a termination of a service or a reduction in [licensed] total bed capacity and the bed type, any new or additional beds and their type, a capital expenditure over one million dollars, the acquisition of major medical equipment, imaging equipment or a linear accelerator costing over four hundred thousand dollars, or any combination thereof; (C) the estimated capital cost, value or expenditure; (D) the town where the project is or will be located; and (E) a brief description of the proposed project. The office shall provide public notice of any complete letter of intent submitted under this section, section 19a-639, as amended by this act, or both, by publication in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the area served or to be served by the applicant. Such notice shall be submitted for publication not later than fifteen business days after a determination that a letter of intent is complete. No certificate of need application will be considered submitted to the office unless a current letter of intent, specific to the proposal and in compliance with this subsection, has been on file with the office at least sixty days. A current letter of intent is a letter of intent which has been on file at the office up to and including one hundred twenty days, except that an applicant may request a one-time extension of a letter of intent of up to an additional thirty days for a maximum total of up to one hundred fifty days if, prior to the expiration of the current letter of intent, the office receives a written request to so extend the letter of intent's current status. The extension request shall fully explain why an extension is requested. The office shall accept or reject the extension request within five business days and shall so notify the applicant.

(b) The office shall make such review of a request made pursuant to subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of subsection (a) of this section as it deems necessary. In the case of a proposed transfer of ownership or control, the review shall include, but not be limited to, the financial responsibility and business interests of the transferee and the ability of the institution to continue to provide needed services or, in the case of the introduction of a new or additional function or service expansion or the termination of a service or function, ascertaining the availability of such service or function at other inpatient rehabilitation facilities, health care facilities or institutions or state health care facilities or institutions or other providers within the area to be served, the need for such service or function within such area and any other factors which the office deems relevant to a determination of whether the facility or institution is justified in introducing or terminating such functions or services into or from its program. The office shall grant, modify or deny such request [within] no later than ninety days [of the] after the date of receipt of a complete application, except as provided for in this section. Upon the request of the applicant, the review period may be extended for an additional fifteen days if the office has requested additional information subsequent to the commencement of the review period. The commissioner may extend the review period for a maximum of thirty days if the applicant has not filed in a timely manner information deemed necessary by the office. Failure of the office to act on such request within such review period shall be deemed approval thereof. The ninety-day review period, pursuant to this subsection, for an application filed by a hospital, as defined in section 19a-490, and licensed as a short-term acute-care general hospital or children's hospital by the Department of Public Health or an affiliate of such a hospital or any combination thereof, shall not apply if, in the certificate of need application or request, the hospital or applicant projects either (1) that, for the first three years of operation taken together, the total impact of the proposal on the operating budget of the hospital or an affiliate of such a hospital or any combination thereof will exceed one per cent of the actual operating expenses of the hospital for the most recently completed fiscal year as filed with or determined by the office, or (2) that the total capital expenditure for the project will exceed fifteen million dollars. If the office determines that an application is not subject to the ninety-day review period pursuant to this subsection, it shall remain so excluded for the entire review period of that application, even if the application or circumstances change and the application no longer meets the stated terms of the exclusion. Upon a showing by such facility or institution that the need for such function, service or termination or change of ownership or control is of an emergency nature, in that the function, service or termination or change of ownership or control is necessary to comply with requirements of any federal, state or local health, fire, building or life safety code, the commissioner may waive the letter of intent requirement, provided such request shall be submitted at least ten business days before the proposed date of institution of the function, service or termination or change of ownership or control.

(c) (1) The office may hold a public hearing with respect to any complete certificate of need application submitted under this section. At least two weeks' notice of such public hearing shall be given to the applicant, in writing, and to the public by publication in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the area served by the facility, institution or provider. At the discretion of the office, such hearing may be held in Hartford or in the area so served or to be served. In conducting its activities under this section, section 19a-639, as amended by this act, or under both sections, the office may hold hearings on applications of a similar nature at the same time.

(2) The office may hold a public hearing after consideration of criteria that include, but need not be limited to, whether the proposal involves: (A) The provision of a new or additional health care function or service through the use of technology that is new or being introduced into the state; (B) the provision of a new or additional health care function or service that is not provided in either a region designated by the applicant or in the applicant's existing primary service area as defined by the office; or (C) the termination of an existing health care function or service, the reduction of total beds or the closing of a health care facility.

(3) The office shall hold a public hearing with respect to any complete certificate of need application submitted to the office under this section if three individuals or an individual representing an entity with five or more people submit a request, in writing, that a public hearing be held on the proposal after the office has published notice of a complete letter of intent.

Sec. 2. Subsection (b) of section 19a-639 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

[(b) The office shall hold a public hearing with respect to any complete certificate of need request under this section, at least two weeks' notice of which shall be given to the facility, institution or provider by certified mail and to the public by publication in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the area served by the facility, institution or provider. ]

(b) (1) The commissioner shall notify the Commissioner of Social Services of any [application] certificate of need request that may impact on expenditures under the state medical assistance program. [Such hearing shall be held at the discretion of the office in Hartford or in the area so served or to be served. ] The office shall consider such request in relation to the community or regional need for such capital program or purchase of land, the possible effect on the operating costs of the health care facility or institution and such other relevant factors as the office deems necessary. In approving or modifying such request, the commissioner may not prescribe any condition, such as but not limited to, any condition or limitation on the indebtedness of the facility or institution in connection with a bond issue, the principal amount of any bond issue or any other details or particulars related to the financing of such capital expenditure, not directly related to the scope of such capital program and within control of the facility or institution.

(2) An applicant, prior to submitting a certificate of need application, shall submit a request, in writing, for application forms and instructions to the office. The request shall be known as a letter of intent. A letter of intent shall conform to the letter of intent requirements of subdivision (4) of subsection (a) of section 19a-638, as amended by this act. No certificate of need application will be considered submitted to the office unless a current letter of intent, specific to the proposal and in compliance with this subsection, is on file with the office at least sixty days. A current letter of intent is a letter of intent which has been on file at the office no more than one hundred twenty days, except that an applicant may request a one-time extension of a letter of intent of up to an additional thirty days for a maximum total of up to one hundred fifty days if, prior to the expiration of the current letter of intent, the office receives a written request to so extend the letter of intent's current status. The extension request shall fully explain why an extension is requested. The office shall accept or reject the extension request within five business days and shall so notify the applicant. Upon a showing by such facility or institution that the need for such capital program is of an emergency nature, in that the capital expenditure is necessary to comply with any federal, state or local health, fire, building or life safety code, the commissioner may waive the letter of intent requirement, [and that a public hearing be held,] provided such request shall be submitted at least ten business days before the proposed initiation date of the project. The commissioner shall grant, modify or deny such request within ninety days or within ten business days, as the case may be, of receipt thereof, except as provided for in this section. Upon the request of the applicant, the review period may be extended for an additional fifteen days if the office has requested additional information subsequent to the commencement of the review period. The commissioner may extend the review period for a maximum of thirty days if the applicant has not filed, in a timely manner, information deemed necessary by the office. Failure of the office to act thereon within such review period shall be deemed approval of such request. The ninety-day review period, pursuant to this section, for an application filed by a hospital, as defined in section 19a-490, and licensed as a short-term acute-care general hospital or a children's hospital by the Department of Public Health or an affiliate of such a hospital or any combination thereof, shall not apply if, in the certificate of need application or request, the hospital or applicant projects either [(1)] (A) that, for the first three years of operation taken together, the total impact of the proposal on the operating budget of the hospital or an affiliate or any combination thereof will exceed one per cent of the actual operating expenses of the hospital for the most recently completed fiscal year as filed with the office, or [(2)] (B) that the total capital expenditure for the project will exceed fifteen million dollars. If the office determines that an application is not subject to the ninety-day review period pursuant to this subsection, it shall remain so excluded for the entire period of that application, even if the application or circumstances change and the application no longer meets the stated terms of the exclusion. The office shall adopt regulations to establish an expedited hearing process to be used to review requests by any facility or institution for approval of a capital expenditure to establish an energy conservation program or to comply with requirements of any federal, state or local health, fire, building or life safety code or final court order. The office shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to provide for the waiver of a hearing, for any part of a request by a facility or institution for a capital expenditure, provided such facility or institution and the office agree upon such waiver.

(3) The office shall comply with the public notice provisions of subdivision (4) of subsection (a) of section 19a-638, as amended by this act, and shall hold a public hearing with respect to any complete certificate of need application filed under this section, if: (A) The proposal has associated total capital expenditures or total capital costs that exceed twenty million dollars for land, building or nonclinical equipment acquisition, new building construction or building renovation; or (B) the proposal has associated total capital expenditures per unit or total capital costs per unit that exceed one million dollars for major medical equipment, imaging equipment or a linear accelerator, utilizing technology that is new or being introduced into the state; or (C) three individuals or an individual representing an entity comprised of five or more people submit a request, in writing, that a public hearing be held on the proposal. At least two weeks notice of such public hearing shall be given to the applicant, in writing, and to the public by publication in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the area served by the applicant. At the discretion of the office, such hearing shall be held in Hartford or in the area so served or to be served.

Approved April 29, 2003