An Article 28 facility is approved by the New York State Department of Health through the Certificate of Need process. The same application process and law (Article 28 of the New York State Public Health Law) also applies to Surgical Centers and Nursing Homes as well as general hospitals. There are similar and specific requirements as far as what the Department of Health is looking for from each facility. Understanding the process and these requirements is important in order to obtain a Certificate of Need to own and operate a Diagnostic and Treatment Center. An Article 28 Diagnostic and Treatment Center can be the proper tool for you to operate your practice. Much about them is misunderstood leading to many misconceptions about what they are and are not. The following are the four most important factors to consider when determining if a Diagnostic and Treatment Center is right for you:
1. Can you provide the same service in another manner?
New York state law prohibits the practice of medicine (or any other profession) without a license. In most cases this also extends to owning any form of medical or health care clinic that provides health care services or treats patients.
The Article 28 authorized Diagnostic and Treatment Center is an exception that allows a non-licensed doctor or non-professional to own and operate a medical clinic and/or partner with non-professionals, professionals or any mix of the two. For a physician however, the value of the services provided must make sense given the reimbursement rates for a private practice as opposed to an Article 28 facility.
2. I’m a physician. Will an article 28 Diagnostic and Treatment Center help my practice?
The answer is maybe. It depends on your current practice, the types of patient that you have and the demographic area of those patients, specialty and specific goals for future avenues of practice. An Article 28 Diagnostic and Treatment Center can help a physician (and other owners) gain advantages in:
- negotiating HMO contracts
- increasing the available services you can provide to your current payment base
- forming relationships with other providers in other locations through affiliations or extension clinics
- expanding your practice into a larger demographic area
- assisting with compliance related activities and collections
3. How do I apply?
The application process is a long and detailed one that can take approximately 18 months depending on the applicants background, the overall proposed facility and the site location. Some areas are better than others and certain locations may from time to time be extremely difficult to get based on the current level of need for facilities and access to health care by patients. However, the right program can speed along an application and improve your chance of approval. This is why it is crucial to find proper representation and experts to assist in the application process.
4. What are the downsides?
For most people, the biggest downside is the lengthy application process. It requires a significant amount of work during the application process, putting most projects on hold during that time. Although a project specifically designed to treat a need in a specific population (a need the DOH sees as particularly urgent) can speed the application process along. Also there are increased reporting and accounting requirements to the Department of Health in the application process and the continued operation of the Diagnostic and Treatment Center.