The U.S. health care system is as complex as it is crucial. Some of that complexity stems from a little known and less understood regulation, common in many states. Known as “certificate of need” (CON) laws these regulations require providers to obtain permission from a state board before they may open a new facility, expand an existing facility, offer a new service, or purchase a new piece of equipment.
Currently, the Commonwealth of Virginia — along with 35 other states and the District of Columbia — maintains a CON program or as Virginia refers to it as “certificate of public need” (COPN) program. Many states contend that these programs increase care for the needy while many hospitals claim they are vital to ensuring quality health care.