Certificate-of-need laws hamper physicians looking to expand services

LETTER — Posted Oct. 4, 2004

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Regarding "Study hits physician collective bargaining" (Article, Aug. 9): I was concerned to see that the AMA singled out the collective bargaining piece of the recent Federal Trade Commission-Justice Dept. study regarding competition in health care as the most important issue. I am in a large orthopedic group in Georgia, and one of our biggest problems with providing new services and expanding our present services is the fact that we are in a certificate-of-need state.

We felt that the study was great ammunition for us in our efforts to get rid of the CON law, which is now being used by a powerful hospital lobby in our state to restrict physician-owned services. It has been able to manipulate the state agency that regulates surgery centers, imaging, etc., to change their interpretation of the rules to make it almost impossible to get new physician-owned services approved. With the exception of tort reform, this is our biggest issue. Collective bargaining isn't even on our list of concerns.

Kay Kirkpatrick, MD, Atlanta

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/10/04/edlt1004.htm.

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