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Governor Henry McMaster Signs Certificate of Need Repeal

October 3, 2023

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster and Lieutenant Governor Pamela S. Evette today were joined by state agency leaders, members of the General Assembly, and others for a ceremonial bill signing of S. 164, Certificate of Need Repeal, which eliminates the requirement for most healthcare facilities to obtain a Certificate of Need (CON) from the Department of Health and Environmental Control before building a new facility, purchasing certain medical equipment or providing additional medical services. 

“South Carolinians will have greater access to affordable healthcare services with the repeal of the Certificate of Need laws,” said Governor McMaster. “Everyone benefits when the proven power of the free market is unleashed in our state.”

In May of 2022, Governor McMaster wrote a letter to the General Assembly calling for the repeal of CON. 

"For the state of South Carolina to have had a Certificate of Need program that creates many monopolies throughout this state was wrong, and it needed to be fixed," said South Carolina Senator Harvey Peeler. "I'm proud of this law and proud of the work our Senators, House members, and the governor have done, and it's another example of the governor's motto, 'South Carolina is open for business.'"

A CON will continue to be needed for new hospital construction or the expansion of hospital beds until January 1, 2027, with exemptions for the relocation of a hospital in the same county, construction of a new hospital of up to 50 beds in a county currently without a hospital, or the merger or acquisition of a hospital. 

Nursing home facilities and home health agencies will continue to be required to obtain a CON. 

"This is a tremendous day for patients all across South Carolina," said South Carolina Senator Wes Climer. "As a consequence of repealing Certificate of Need, patients will have more choices, will have lower costs, and the people assembled here today worked together to do that not by spending more money, not by creating new programs but by getting government out of the way to unleash the private sector to invest and compete." 

The bill also creates the Certificate of Need Study Committee tasked with providing a report to the General Assembly that includes recommendations to improve rural healthcare access and to address any trends associated with the decrease in the quality and quantity of access to healthcare in rural areas. 

"This new law protects the citizens of South Carolina by providing more timely, more accessible, and more affordable healthcare," said South Carolina Representative Sylleste Davis."However, we still have work to do. Through the course of our discussions, it became evident that we need to examine the healthcare model in our rural areas and explore new and better ways to make cost-effective healthcare available to South Carolinians. Today is a massive step in the right direction, but our best work is yet to come." 

The Medical University of South Carolina must submit details of proposed acquisitions of new hospital facilities to the Joint Bond Review Committee, receive approval from the Fiscal Accountability Authority, and apply for a Certificate of Need.