Williamsburg Certificate of Public Need Question & Answer
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Williamsburg Certificate of Public Need Question & Answer 

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What was the Commissioners decision regarding the Riverside and Sentara Certificate of Public Need applications in Williamsburg?

On March 13, 2006, the State Health Commissioner released the final decision regarding the Certificate of Public Need applications that Sentara filed for additional medical/surgical beds and a Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH) at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, and Riverside Health Systems applications to build an acute care hospital (Doctors Hospital of Williamsburg) and LTACH in Williamsburg in Planning District 21.

The Commissioner of Healths decision was to deny all four applications.

Click here to read full copy of Commissioners decision. (PDF File)

What were the reasons for the Commissioners denials?

The guiding principles of the Certificate of Public Need process are intended to ensure that only facilities and services which meet community need and provide for the cost effective delivery of health care are approved. Below are selected reasons State Health Commissioner, Robert Stroube, MD, MPH, gave for his decision (taken directly from text of his decision):

Rather than introducing beneficial competition or patient choice, the Doctors Hospital project, at total capital and financing costs exceeding $147 million, presents costly and potentially destabilizing duplication of existing, underutilized acute care resources;

The Doctors Hospital project would have a substantial negative affect on the utilization, costs and charges for various services currently provided at Williamsburg Community Hospital and to be provided at Williamsburg Regional Medical Center . . . and may also negatively affect utilization, costs and charges at other facilities, such as Riverside Rehabilitation Institute and Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital;

Residents of upper Planning District 21 have ready access to and choice among several hospitals (and their services) in PD 21, and the number of acute care beds dispersed across the upper and lower portions of PD 21, which are located within reasonable driving times, are in relative balance with existing and projected population distributed between the two portions, despite Riversides contention that maldistribution exists;

Despite evidence of population growth and aging, some of it conflicting, all four projects, especially the Doctors Hospital project, present unnecessary costs and duplication of resources with standing capacity that are currently available in PD 21;

The costs associated with the Doctors Hospital and LTACH @ Riverside projects (which rely on population projections extending to 2015) are considerable, especially in light of the systemic costs associated with the approved, ongoing replacement of Williamsburg Community Hospital with Williamsburg Regional Medical Center a facility designed with area population growth in mind and with the ability to expand physically to meet growth.

Click here to read full copy of Commissioners decision. (PDF File)

Is the process now complete?

The Commissioners decision in March effectively concluded the process for the applications that were submitted July 2005. Certificate of Public Need applications for general and long term acute care hospitals and hospital beds can be submitted twice a year January and July. There is no limit to the number of times an applicant can apply. 

Click here to read full copy of Commissioners decision. (PDF File)

How can I learn more about Certificate of Public Need?

Certificate of Public Need is a regulatory program present in most states within the U.S.  Learn more about the Virginia Certificate of Public Need program.

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