March 6, 2012
"Specialty Hospitals "
Steven Winter represents
the towns of Newbury and Sutton, Merrimack District 3, in the NH House of Representatives.
Winter is a member of the House Executive Department &
Administration Committee, The Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform and the Joint Legislative Committee
on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).
"…(I)t creates jobs and gives society
another organization dedicated to treating cancer,"
– from a message from the House Majority Leader.
On Saturday, February 18th, I received a message
from the House Majority Leader, Rep, D.J. Bettencourt. The message was
regarding House Bill 1642 and it was sent to all Republicans in the NH
HB 1642 is sponsored by Rep. Marilinda Garcia, a
Republican from Salem. It has been co-sponsored by D.J. Bettencourt; the
House Speaker, Bill O’Brien; the Chairman of Ways and Means Committee,
Rep. Steve Stepanek and various other members of leadership.
The purpose of HB 1642 is a proposal to waive
the requirement for a Certificate of Need for an out-of-state hospital
corporation so that it could begin specialized hospital and clinical
services in New Hampshire without going through that rigid Certificate of
Need procedure. HB 1642 would allow this and perhaps other such
"destination specialty hospitals and clinics", also called niche
or boutique providers, to set up shop(s) in New Hampshire, thus
providing jobs and additional tax revenue. It sounds like a win-win
I am a member of a nearly unprecedented five
committees (plus various subcommittees) in the NH House. I am not a member
of leadership since I am technically a freshman. But I have seniority and
my share of respect as a returning member. I have occasionally gone
against the "official" leadership position in the past because I
represent my constituents and my principles and I have some contrary
thoughts about this bill. So I wrote this response to the Majority Leader:
D.J. – As much as I support increasing
business enterprises, the growth of jobs, and an abundance of choices, I
am not in favor of this bill. I believe in competition but I feel
that government regulation should present a level playing field to all
entrepreneurs. When we exempt businesses from regulations required
of all other businesses, we create "winners" and
"losers". This is the very process for which we condemn
the Obama administration.
Rep. Garcia’s statement says,
"Locating these centers in our state will help develop the economy,
create jobs and make our great state of New Hampshire a magnet for those
seeking high-quality, specialized health care." While that
may be true, what does it do to the many fine hospitals, some with
excellent specialty care, already in place?
I am not a great fan of the Certificate of
Need process. But it’s what we have. Our current hospitals
have certain obligations that emanate from the CON process. A
major responsibility is that they serve all who pass through their
doors. A waiver of the CON would tilt the playing field in favor
of these "destination specialty hospitals and clinics" and
allow niche providers to take private insurance patients and leave
greater numbers of uninsured and Medicaid patients to be served at
community hospitals. A few other words for that are
"skimming" and "cherry picking."
That does not appear to be a good tradeoff
to me, D.J. I cannot support HB 1642 bill as written.
Best regards, Steve Winter
Steve Winter, Representative, Merrimack District 3
Newbury and Sutton, New Hampshire
Telephone: 603-271- 3125 and 271-3319