In 2009, House Bill 1 amended the Ohio Certificate of Need (“CON”) laws to permit inter-county relocations of long-term care beds under certain circumstances. Historically, Ohio CON laws prohibited relocating long-term care beds across county lines. Despite this amendment, the process to accomplish an inter-county relocation of beds remains heavily regulated, and in most cases must be commenced during brief windows of time set forth by the Ohio Department of Health.
Pursuant to House Bill 1, the Director of the Department of Health (the “Director”) is required to determine the long-term care bed supply for each county, and publish a list setting forth each county’s bed need by April 1, 2012. The determination of a county’s bed need is calculated pursuant to a statutorily mandated formula that considers existing supply and projected population growth. Thereafter, beginning July 1, 2012, and continuing for thirty (30) days until July 31, 2012, applicants will be permitted to submit CON applications to relocate long-term care beds from an existing health care facility in a county with excess beds to a health care facility in a county in which there are fewer long-term care beds than the county’s need.
After July 31, 2012, CON applications for inter-county bed relocations will not be accepted again for several years. At the earliest, from July 1, 2014 through July 31, 2014, the Director may, in his discretion, accept new CON applications to address a remaining need for beds following inter-county relocations that were approved in 2012. Thereafter, the next opportunity to submit a CON application for an inter-county bed relocation will not be until July 1, 2016, and every four years thereafter.
Based on the foregoing, entities that desire to accomplish an inter-county relocation of long-term care beds in the near future should begin to make arrangements to do so immediately. Given the limited number of beds that can be relocated into any one county, and potential competition, now is the time to begin planning your CON project in Ohio.