June 6, 2014

Court rules with hospitals against new CN rule affecting affiliations

State’s rules must abide by existing law, not expand it, judge says

A Thurston County Superior Court judge today invalidated the state Department of Health's new Certificate of Need rule. The judge ruled that the new rule promulgated by the department exceeds the statutory authority granted to it.
"We are relieved to see the judge's ruling, and are glad that hospitals can efficiently form the partnerships necessary to preserve and expand health care services in their communities," said WSHA President and CEO Scott Bond. "We all share the goal of transforming health care to be more effective and cost-efficient, but an expanded, expensive, unpredictable certificate of need process is not the way for us to find the solutions we need."  
The ruling is in response to petition filed in February by the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) on behalf of its 98 member hospitals. The association opposed new rules that became effective in January that greatly expanded the number and type of hospital business relationships subject to certificate of need review, including those where there is "any change of control” in “any part” of a hospital.
WSHA objected to the new rule, stating that it was beyond the Department’s authority to expand the certificate of need law – that instead, this type of policy-making is the purview of the legislature. 
The petition can be seen here: To read more, visit

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