Committee may validate Sen. Davis’ concerns.
North Carolina state Senator Jim Davis (D – 50 District) took a lot of heat after introducing SB 638, a potential law that aimed to modify the Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) agreement granted to Asheville’s Mission Hospital in the mid ’90s. The bill was introduced in the General Assembly last spring in response to an economic analysis report that evaluated the COPA agreement, and later discerned that the agreement gave Mission Hospital an unfair advantage over competitors in the region.
The 45-page report entitled “An Economic Analysis of the Certificate of Public Advantage Agreement Between the State of North Carolina and Mission Health,” was finalized and released in March 2011 and can be accessed online. After the report was released, Senator Davis was compelled to introduce the aforementioned bill, which has since failed to make it out of committee in the state legislature. Davis was the only sponsor of the bill, which sought to modify the COPA agreement in order to address the issues raised in the economic analysis report.
The State Houses’ Select Committee on the Certificate of Need Process and Related Hospital Issues later took up the study of the report in late August of this year, holding several public hearings across the state to seek input from experts and citizens alike. One such public hearing took place in Western North Carolina in October. The select committee consists of 11 members currently serving in state house, with each member being appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Thom Tillis.
The select committee has yet to release their final report, but according to Senator Davis, their research thus far has “validated my initial concerns regarding Mission’s advantages over smaller hospitals in Western North Carolina.” Davis added that he has nothing against Mission Hospital, but he fears that small community hospitals in Western North Carolina could be coerced into a merger with Mission due to the abuses of the COPA agreement.
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