a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner, that one location is capable of finding and diagnosing things such as brain ailments and injuries, muscu- loskeletal problems, spinal conditions and injuries, and more. This knowledge gives the location the ability to hire bet- ter technicians and radiologists to per- form and read the MRI scans. The APHA also asserts that CONs aid in better distribution of care to areas that would otherwise be ignored by new medical centers. The programs are a resource for policymakers to allow for reliable ways to implement planning pol- icies and practices and aid in the distri- bution of health care to all demographic areas. Through this, planners are able to track and evaluate which areas of a state are underserved or in need of improve- ment. According to a study done by the Mercatus Center at George Mason Uni-

There are a great number of proponents and an equal number of opponents of the requirements and policies set in place by a CON program.”

—Colleen Thornton, ASCA

versity, CONs allow hospitals to cross- subsidize health care for the poor and require providers to increase the amount of “charity care” they provide. Throughout the nation CON oppo-

nents regularly attempt to repeal the strict regulations that are imposed on prospec- tive health care providers. Recently in Virginia, for example, Mark J. Baumel, MD, of Colon Health Centers of Amer- ica and Mark Monteferrante, MD, of

Progressive Radiology sued the state of Virginia on the grounds that the restric- tions put in place by the CON violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution by making it difficult for out-of-state pro- viders to enter the state. Both doctors are licensed to practice medicine in Vir- ginia but were unable to open a busi- ness there due to appeals from would- be competitors in the area. The regional health planning agencies denied both doctors a CON because established pro- viders argued there was no “need” for the new business. Following Baumel’s and Monte-

ferrante’s case against Virginia’s CON program, the state decided to reform it. In 2016, however, no bills were adopted to amend the current regula- tions in Virginia.

Colleen Thornton is an intern with ASCA’s Government Affairs team.


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