House committee OKs bill exempting 'specialty hospitals' from review
CONCORD -- A House Committee has voted to support a bill that would allow "speciality hospitals" to avoid the state's review process for new medical facilities.
The Health and Human Services Committee voted 10 to 8 on Thursday to recommend passage of HB 1642, which was a priority for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a for-profit chain of hospitals that is eyeing southern New Hampshire for a new location.
The committee made several changes to the bill since hearings were held earlier this month. Instead of applying just to “destination cancer hospitals,” the exemption from the state's Certification of Need review could apply to any “specialty hospital.”
Lawmakers also struck a provision of the bill that would have exempted such hospitals from Medicaid Enhancement Tax.
They also removed a requirement hat 65 percent of patients had to come from out of state on the grounds that it would be unenforceable.
The bill has been opposed by the state's major hospitals and the New Hampshire Hospital Association, which contend that the center would give CTCA and other for-profit medical facilities an unfair advantage and would siphon away paying patients, leaving them to care for the poor.
Supporters of the bill, including the House leadership, say it's necessary to attract hospitals like CTCA, which could create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue.
The bill will next go before the full House. A date has not yet been scheduled for a for a vote.
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