Much speculation and rumor exists in New York with regard to obtaining a Certificate of Need from the Department of Health for a Surgery Center or a Diagnostic and Treatment Center. These Certificate of Need facilities are sought after by doctors and non-doctors alike, since the ability to collect a facility fee provides a wide range of opportunities not available in a traditional practice. Additionally, it permits non-doctors to be owners of such a facility which is specifically approved by the New York State Department of Health.
Numerous pitfalls exist surrounding the application and approval process, due to the difficulty of obtaining new facilities and the rigorous scrutiny process that new facilities go through, as well as individuals involved in a transfer of an existing license. Very often providers and individuals are discouraged from applying due to the many horror stories told by applicants who, for one reason or another, did not obtain a Certificate of Need upon filing an application. However, much of this difficulty can be dealt with before hand if the application is completed properly with attention to the proper planning of the proposed facility and all needed/requested information is provided.
In the case of a Surgery Center, hospitals typically appear at any Public Health Council meeting and advocate against the approval of the facility. The Public Health Council will side with the hospital and not approve the application. Opposition to the Surgery Center at a Public Health Council meeting almost always results in a denial of the application, but facilities can work out an affiliation with a hospital beforehand and go in to the Public Health Council meeting with the endorsement of that hospital, assuring a greater chance of approval.
Diagnostic and Treatment Center applicants would be advised to properly prepare the application and plan and structure the facility, in the sense of locating in a proper demographic and drafting a proper narrative. The narrative should establish the need being fulfilled by the Center for an area that is underserved or where a facility is non-existent. The Department tends to not approve an application for a facility or an extension clinic made just because a provider wishes to transform their existing medical practice into a State Certificate of Need facility licensed by the Department of Health.
Providers and applicants who wish to obtain and operate under a Certificate of Need must have, prior to submission, a well-thought-out, structured facility and plan with proper respect for a specific demographic that indicates need and a completed application. In addition, they need a comprehensive report that explains very clearly and specifically, the work and research done to prove that this project will fulfill that specific need. If the application is not structured properly, it is likely to end up being delayed indefinitely or denied outright.