Bill aims to help rural hospitals reopen

Posted at 9:12 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 22:12:34-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A bill to remove government requirements for reopening rural hospitals passed through a Senate committee Wednesday.

As long as a rural hospital closed within the past 15 years, under the bill's rules, it could reopen without a certificate of need. It's the process of the state evaluating what healthcare needs a specific area has. The process can sometimes take years but would be waived under the bill.

"This bill helps us in reopening rural hospitals which have been closed over the last decade due to economic downtown but have recently experienced some opportunity to reopen. We're going to streamline a certificate of need process so they don't have to go through the very lengthy and sometimes onerous process," said Senator Page Walley, the bill's sponsor.

Rural hospitals have faced hardship even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have closed in the past decade. Senator Walley hopes this will encourage some to reopen.

He said there's already one in Haywood County that's trying to reopen. This would help them do so more quickly.