Closure Bill Just Goes Too Far, Conflicts With Integrated Care Model

Currently if a hospital needs to cut a program in a service area because, for example, another facility in its integrated care network is better able to carry out the service, that hospital has to provide notice of the closure to the general public, employees, legislators, and any state agency that the closure may affect. In addition, the hospital must submit notice to the Health Policy Commission, which has the authority to share the information with the Attorney General’s office for further review.
However, under a proposed bill that had a hearing last week, hospitals would have to drastically expand the list of who would be notified, seek approval for the change from each nearby municipality, answer to a new “community oversight committee” made up of select employees and “a representative from a local interfaith organization”, as well as a host of other hurdles.
“There is already a robust – but reasonable – process in place that requires active engagement with stakeholders,” said MHA’s Senior V.P. of Government Advocacy Mike Sroczynski. “The new proposal would have the unfortunate effect of imposing barriers and delays that may prevent hospitals from making timely strategic decisions regarding services within an integrated care delivery system, including many Accountable Care Organizations and other value-based programs. This proposal would hamper hospitals’ ability to be agile in responding to today’s extremely dynamic healthcare landscape, and punish hospitals that make needed changes by prohibiting those that close a service from applying for expansion or other licensure.”