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February 26, 2020

Updates from the State House

The current legislative session is in full swing in Columbia and many of SCHA’s priorities have seen significant movement. The House Ways and Means Committee adopted a first draft of the state budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year that agreed to provide $6.7 million in additional state funding to allow South Carolina to continue to draw its full DSH allocation next year. Members also voted to preserve existing budget language that requires the Department of Health and Human Services to keep negotiating with the federal government to increase eligibility limits for the CHIP program.

In addition, the Ways & Means Committee adopted SCHA’s proposed language that calls for a new report from DHHS on its progress in implementing new telehealth benefits and policies. That same amendment also requires DHHS to collaborate with Palmetto Care Connections to raise awareness of and enrollment in a federally funded program (Lifeline) that connects low-income households to broadband subsidies.

SCHA’s Certificate of Need reform efforts continue to move forward as well. Our current proposal would reduce the appeals process to 18 months with the Administrative Law Court as the last point of review; increase the thresholds for capital and equipment expenditures and tie the threshold to inflation; and eliminate the requirement for obtaining a CON when adding beds, within limits. A senate bill, S. 1093, has been introduced to implement the SCHA-supported reform proposal and other CON-related bills have also been introduced. S.990 would repeal the entire CON program and the other two bills, S.494, and S.1077, would create exceptions to CON requirements for specific units. The only CON bill supported by the entire hospital community in South Carolina is S.1093, with no amendments.

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