April 15, 2021

Wisconsin and Caps on Healthcare Service 2020

While Wisconsin does not have a certificate-of-need program, it does cap five healthcare services

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Wisconsin does not have a certificate-of-need (CON) program, but it does set numerical caps on five service categories, which are similar in effect to CON laws. 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.

Healthcare Services that are Capped in Wisconsin as of January 2020*

  • Hospital Beds (Acute, General Licensed, Med-Surg, etc.) 
  • Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs) for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
  • New Hospitals or Hospital-Sized Investments
  • Nursing Home Beds/ Long-Term Care Beds
  • Psychiatric Services 

The Need to Reform State Healthcare Restrictions

Eleven states have already done away with their CON regulations, which similarly restrict the supply of healthcare services as Wisconsin's caps. Many legislators rightly see CON repeal as a common-sense way of improving health care in their states. Reforming binding caps would have similar beneficial effects as removing CON law restrictions.

Learn more about options for CON law reform.

*Wisconsin’s hospital bed cap is set at a sufficiently high level that it is not binding and is not expected to bind for several decades. When a state caps a service, it sets a numerical limit on the number of such services that may exist in the state. While a cap is not the same thing as a CON, we include these because they may have similar effects.