Palmetto Sunrise: This week could clarify Certificate of Need program’s future

The state’s Certificate of Need program, which regulates hospitals’ expansion, is expected to be debated in the House this week. (Grace Beahm/postandcourier.com)

The future of the state’s complex Certificate of Need program could find some clarity this week.

A bill on the House floor would phase out the program, which requires hospitals to get permission to buy equipment, expand or open new facilities.

The regulations are meant to keep health care expansion in check, but they’ve been politically controversial for years. In 2013, Gov. Nikki Haley tried to cut its funding, but she was rebuffed by the state Supreme Court.

This week could offer a glimpse of what’s to come for the progam, Jeremy Borden and Lauren Sausser of The Post and Courier reported. The state hospital association’s board is meeting today to decide its stance on a phase-out, and the House is expected to debate the proposal this week.

To become law this year, the bill would need to clear the House this week, thanks to a legislative deadline Friday.

In other news...

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford now opposes offshore drilling, he announced Monday.

Sanford says he doesn’t plan to read the tell-all book a former staffer is writing about his time in the Governor’s Mansion.

Some environmental groups say they have questions about DHEC director nominee Catherine Heigel’s ties to the energy industry.

Former Lexington County Sheriff James Metts was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. He’s one of nine sheriffs to get in trouble with the law in the last five years.