Certificate-of-Need Laws: Wisconsin

Certificate-of-need (CON) laws require healthcare providers to obtain permission before they open or expand their services or purchase certain devices or new technologies. CON applicants must prove that the community needs the new or expanded service, and existing providers are invited to challenge would-be competitors’ applications. CON laws have persisted in spite of mounting evidence from health economists, regulatory economists, and antitrust lawyers showing that these laws fail to achieve their intended goals.

Wisconsin does not have a CON law, but it does set numerical caps on five service categories. Once the state reaches these thresholds, providers are not allowed to further increase supply.

This profile highlights the services that Wisconsin caps. Because there is less research on caps relative to CON laws, we do not offer any predictions about healthcare cost, quality, or access in the absence of these regulations.