Senate approves MacDonald bill to clean up hospital bed restrictions

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate has approved Sen. Michael D. MacDonald’s legislation to eliminate outdated restrictions on hospital bed transfers in large cities.

“This reform will clean up our current certificate of need laws by removing an old and obsolete restriction on transferring hospital beds in cities with 750,000 or more,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “The law is outdated because Michigan doesn’t have any cities that large anymore. The measure is part of a larger package to cut unnecessary red tape, reduce costs and improve access to medical care in Michigan.”

Senate Bill 183 would eliminate the restriction that a hospital cannot transfer more than 35% of its licensed beds to another hospital or freestanding surgical outpatient facility more than one time if the hospital (or another hospital under common control with the hospital) is located in a city with a population of 750,000 or more.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city of Detroit has an estimated population of roughly 670,000 people.

A certificate of need (CON) is an authorization that enables the establishment or expansion of health care facilities or services in Michigan. A commission appointed by the governor oversees the CON standards, which regulates a variety of specialized medical services and proposed increases in the number of hospital, nursing home and psychiatric beds.

SB 181 would raise the certificate of need cap for clinical service projects from $2.5 million to $10 million. The bill also would exempt air ambulance services and specialized psychiatric programs for children and adolescents from the CON process. SB 190 would require that, as a condition of licensure, a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric unit must accept public patients and maintain 50% of beds available to public patients.

SB 182 would add two new public members to the CON commission, one of which must represent a county with a population of less than 40,000.

The four bills were approved by the Senate on March 24 and have been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.