Quick Takes

Sen. Douglas seeks continued study of Kentucky’s certificate of need law

By: - January 10, 2024 10:41 am

Donald Douglas (LRC Public Information)

FRANKFORT — Telling a Senate committee Wednesday that “we should not rush” the state’s policy conversations about certificate of need, a central Kentucky lawmaker presented his resolution seeking to reestablish a task force to examine the issue.

Sen. Donald Douglas, R-Nicholasville, presented his resolution to the Senate Standing Committee on Health Services. He filed it on Jan. 4 with the goal of  considering reforms and submitting findings by Dec. 1.

After studying the issue for several months in 2023, Douglas explained to his colleagues, “we felt that wholesale changes in certificate of need could, and likely would, fundamentally change how we provide health care here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

He added: “If not done in a strategic and a well thought out way,” such widespread changes “could exacerbate the problems in a health care system that is already struggling to recruit and retain competent health care professionals.”

Sen. Shelley Funke Frommeyer, R-Alexandria, who championed freestanding birth centers last session, said she’d like to include patients themselves in the CON conversation.

“I don’t know that we’ve taken enough time to really walk in the shoes of what our patients are experiencing,” she said.

Douglas agreed, but said the challenge with that is patients usually have a view of the health care system that only includes their experiences. In other words, they see a “smaller picture.”

“They don’t look at the health care system from their neighbor’s view,” he said. “They don’t look at how … it’s going to affect their neighbor or the person down the road or the person in another city.”

It’s unclear who will be on the 2024 task force.

“My concern … is continuing to bring more people into this space does not necessarily increase the depth of knowledge of the subject of the people who are on the task force,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Republican representative filed three bills in the House on Tuesday that seek to reform CON law in Kentucky, including paving the way for freestanding birth centers in the state.

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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.