General Information

The North Carolina Certificate of Need (CON) law prohibits health care providers from acquiring, replacing, or adding to their facilities and equipment, except in specified circumstances, without the prior approval of the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior approval is also required for the initiation of certain medical services. The law restricts unnecessary increases in health care costs and limits unnecessary health services and facilities based on geographic, demographic and economic considerations.

Contact Information

Interim Chief: Martha Frisone, Martha.Frisone@dhhs.nc.gov

Physical Address: 809 Ruggles Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603

Mailing Address: 2704 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-2704

Telephone: 919-855-3873

Fax: 919-733-8139

Background

The fundamental premise of the CON law is that increasing health care costs may be controlled by governmental restrictions on the unnecessary duplication of medical facilities. To accomplish its purpose, the CON law provides that "no person shall offer or develop a new institutional health service without first obtaining a certificate of need." All new hospitals, psychiatric facilities, chemical dependency treatment facilities, nursing home facilities, adult care homes, kidney disease treatment centers, intermediate care facilities for mentally retarded, rehabilitation facilities, home health agencies, hospices, diagnostic centers, and ambulatory surgical facilities must first obtain a CON before initiating development. In addition, a CON is required before any upgrading or expansion of existing health service facilities or services, which involves a capital expenditure above specified minimums.

Administration of the CON law is entrusted to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Certificate of Need Section in the department's Division of Health Service Regulation is responsible for its implementation. Anyone desiring a certificate of need must apply to the CON Section, and furnish information upon which the section can find that the application is consistent with specified "review criteria." The section may approve or deny an application outright, or it may approve the application with such conditions, as it finds necessary to bring the project into compliance with the mandated criteria.