70.38.105  <<  70.38.111 >>   70.38.115

Certificates of needExemptions.

*** CHANGE IN 2019 *** (SEE 1394-S2.SL) ***
*** CHANGE IN 2019 *** (SEE 1777.SL) ***
(1) The department shall not require a certificate of need for the offering of an inpatient tertiary health service by:
(a) A health maintenance organization or a combination of health maintenance organizations if (i) the organization or combination of organizations has, in the service area of the organization or the service areas of the organizations in the combination, an enrollment of at least fifty thousand individuals, (ii) the facility in which the service will be provided is or will be geographically located so that the service will be reasonably accessible to such enrolled individuals, and (iii) at least seventy-five percent of the patients who can reasonably be expected to receive the tertiary health service will be individuals enrolled with such organization or organizations in the combination;
(b) A health care facility if (i) the facility primarily provides or will provide inpatient health services, (ii) the facility is or will be controlled, directly or indirectly, by a health maintenance organization or a combination of health maintenance organizations which has, in the service area of the organization or service areas of the organizations in the combination, an enrollment of at least fifty thousand individuals, (iii) the facility is or will be geographically located so that the service will be reasonably accessible to such enrolled individuals, and (iv) at least seventy-five percent of the patients who can reasonably be expected to receive the tertiary health service will be individuals enrolled with such organization or organizations in the combination; or
(c) A health care facility (or portion thereof) if (i) the facility is or will be leased by a health maintenance organization or combination of health maintenance organizations which has, in the service area of the organization or the service areas of the organizations in the combination, an enrollment of at least fifty thousand individuals and, on the date the application is submitted under subsection (2) of this section, at least fifteen years remain in the term of the lease, (ii) the facility is or will be geographically located so that the service will be reasonably accessible to such enrolled individuals, and (iii) at least seventy-five percent of the patients who can reasonably be expected to receive the tertiary health service will be individuals enrolled with such organization;
if, with respect to such offering or obligation by a nursing home, the department has, upon application under subsection (2) of this section, granted an exemption from such requirement to the organization, combination of organizations, or facility.
(2) A health maintenance organization, combination of health maintenance organizations, or health care facility shall not be exempt under subsection (1) of this section from obtaining a certificate of need before offering a tertiary health service unless:
(a) It has submitted at least thirty days prior to the offering of services reviewable under RCW 70.38.105(4)(d) an application for such exemption; and
(b) The application contains such information respecting the organization, combination, or facility and the proposed offering or obligation by a nursing home as the department may require to determine if the organization or combination meets the requirements of subsection (1) of this section or the facility meets or will meet such requirements; and
(c) The department approves such application. The department shall approve or disapprove an application for exemption within thirty days of receipt of a completed application. In the case of a proposed health care facility (or portion thereof) which has not begun to provide tertiary health services on the date an application is submitted under this subsection with respect to such facility (or portion), the facility (or portion) shall meet the applicable requirements of subsection (1) of this section when the facility first provides such services. The department shall approve an application submitted under this subsection if it determines that the applicable requirements of subsection (1) of this section are met.
(3) A health care facility (or any part thereof) with respect to which an exemption was granted under subsection (1) of this section may not be sold or leased and a controlling interest in such facility or in a lease of such facility may not be acquired and a health care facility described in (1)(c) which was granted an exemption under subsection (1) of this section may not be used by any person other than the lessee described in (1)(c) unless:
(a) The department issues a certificate of need approving the sale, lease, acquisition, or use; or
(b) The department determines, upon application, that (i) the entity to which the facility is proposed to be sold or leased, which intends to acquire the controlling interest, or which intends to use the facility is a health maintenance organization or a combination of health maintenance organizations which meets the requirements of (1)(a)(i), and (ii) with respect to such facility, meets the requirements of (1)(a)(ii) or (iii) or the requirements of (1)(b)(i) and (ii).
(4) In the case of a health maintenance organization, an ambulatory care facility, or a health care facility, which ambulatory or health care facility is controlled, directly or indirectly, by a health maintenance organization or a combination of health maintenance organizations, the department may under the program apply its certificate of need requirements to the offering of inpatient tertiary health services to the extent that such offering is not exempt under the provisions of this section or RCW 70.38.105(7).
(5)(a) The department shall not require a certificate of need for the construction, development, or other establishment of a nursing home, or the addition of beds to an existing nursing home, that is owned and operated by a continuing care retirement community that:
(i) Offers services only to contractual members;
(ii) Provides its members a contractually guaranteed range of services from independent living through skilled nursing, including some assistance with daily living activities;
(iii) Contractually assumes responsibility for the cost of services exceeding the member's financial responsibility under the contract, so that no third party, with the exception of insurance purchased by the retirement community or its members, but including the medicaid program, is liable for costs of care even if the member depletes his or her personal resources;
(iv) Has offered continuing care contracts and operated a nursing home continuously since January 1, 1988, or has obtained a certificate of need to establish a nursing home;
(v) Maintains a binding agreement with the state assuring that financial liability for services to members, including nursing home services, will not fall upon the state;
(vi) Does not operate, and has not undertaken a project that would result in a number of nursing home beds in excess of one for every four living units operated by the continuing care retirement community, exclusive of nursing home beds; and
(vii) Has obtained a professional review of pricing and long-term solvency within the prior five years which was fully disclosed to members.
(b) A continuing care retirement community shall not be exempt under this subsection from obtaining a certificate of need unless:
(i) It has submitted an application for exemption at least thirty days prior to commencing construction of, is submitting an application for the licensure of, or is commencing operation of a nursing home, whichever comes first; and
(ii) The application documents to the department that the continuing care retirement community qualifies for exemption.
(c) The sale, lease, acquisition, or use of part or all of a continuing care retirement community nursing home that qualifies for exemption under this subsection shall require prior certificate of need approval to qualify for licensure as a nursing home unless the department determines such sale, lease, acquisition, or use is by a continuing care retirement community that meets the conditions of (a) of this subsection.
(6) A rural hospital, as defined by the department, reducing the number of licensed beds to become a rural primary care hospital under the provisions of Part A Title XVIII of the Social Security Act Section 1820, 42 U.S.C., 1395c et seq. may, within three years of the reduction of beds licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW, increase the number of licensed beds to no more than the previously licensed number without being subject to the provisions of this chapter.
(7) A rural health care facility licensed under RCW 70.175.100 formerly licensed as a hospital under chapter 70.41 RCW may, within three years of the effective date of the rural health care facility license, apply to the department for a hospital license and not be subject to the requirements of RCW 70.38.105(4)(a) as the construction, development, or other establishment of a new hospital, provided there is no increase in the number of beds previously licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW and there is no redistribution in the number of beds used for acute care or long-term care, the rural health care facility has been in continuous operation, and the rural health care facility has not been purchased or leased.
(8) A rural hospital determined to no longer meet critical access hospital status for state law purposes as a result of participation in the Washington rural health access preservation pilot identified by the state office of rural health and formerly licensed as a hospital under chapter 70.41 RCW may apply to the department to renew its hospital license and not be subject to the requirements of RCW 70.38.105(4)(a) as the construction, development, or other establishment of a new hospital, provided there is no increase in the number of beds previously licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW. If all or part of a formerly licensed rural hospital is sold, purchased, or leased during the period the rural hospital does not meet critical access hospital status as a result of participation in the Washington rural health access preservation pilot and the new owner or lessor applies to renew the rural hospital's license, then the sale, purchase, or lease of part or all of the rural hospital is subject to the provisions of this chapter.
(9)(a) A nursing home that voluntarily reduces the number of its licensed beds to provide assisted living, licensed assisted living facility care, adult day care, adult day health, respite care, hospice, outpatient therapy services, congregate meals, home health, or senior wellness clinic, or to reduce to one or two the number of beds per room or to otherwise enhance the quality of life for residents in the nursing home, may convert the original facility or portion of the facility back, and thereby increase the number of nursing home beds to no more than the previously licensed number of nursing home beds without obtaining a certificate of need under this chapter, provided the facility has been in continuous operation and has not been purchased or leased. Any conversion to the original licensed bed capacity, or to any portion thereof, shall comply with the same life and safety code requirements as existed at the time the nursing home voluntarily reduced its licensed beds; unless waivers from such requirements were issued, in which case the converted beds shall reflect the conditions or standards that then existed pursuant to the approved waivers.
(b) To convert beds back to nursing home beds under this subsection, the nursing home must:
(i) Give notice of its intent to preserve conversion options to the department of health no later than thirty days after the effective date of the license reduction; and
(ii) Give notice to the department of health and to the department of social and health services of the intent to convert beds back. If construction is required for the conversion of beds back, the notice of intent to convert beds back must be given, at a minimum, one year prior to the effective date of license modification reflecting the restored beds; otherwise, the notice must be given a minimum of ninety days prior to the effective date of license modification reflecting the restored beds. Prior to any license modification to convert beds back to nursing home beds under this section, the licensee must demonstrate that the nursing home meets the certificate of need exemption requirements of this section.
The term "construction," as used in (b)(ii) of this subsection, is limited to those projects that are expected to equal or exceed the expenditure minimum amount, as determined under this chapter.
(c) Conversion of beds back under this subsection must be completed no later than four years after the effective date of the license reduction. However, for good cause shown, the four-year period for conversion may be extended by the department of health for one additional four-year period.
(d) Nursing home beds that have been voluntarily reduced under this section shall be counted as available nursing home beds for the purpose of evaluating need under RCW 70.38.115(2) (a) and (k) so long as the facility retains the ability to convert them back to nursing home use under the terms of this section.
(e) When a building owner has secured an interest in the nursing home beds, which are intended to be voluntarily reduced by the licensee under (a) of this subsection, the applicant shall provide the department with a written statement indicating the building owner's approval of the bed reduction.
(10)(a) The department shall not require a certificate of need for a hospice agency if:
(i) The hospice agency is designed to serve the unique religious or cultural needs of a religious group or an ethnic minority and commits to furnishing hospice services in a manner specifically aimed at meeting the unique religious or cultural needs of the religious group or ethnic minority;
(ii) The hospice agency is operated by an organization that:
(A) Operates a facility, or group of facilities, that offers a comprehensive continuum of long-term care services, including, at a minimum, a licensed, medicare-certified nursing home, assisted living, independent living, day health, and various community-based support services, designed to meet the unique social, cultural, and religious needs of a specific cultural and ethnic minority group;
(B) Has operated the facility or group of facilities for at least ten continuous years prior to the establishment of the hospice agency;
(iii) The hospice agency commits to coordinating with existing hospice programs in its community when appropriate;
(iv) The hospice agency has a census of no more than forty patients;
(v) The hospice agency commits to obtaining and maintaining medicare certification;
(vi) The hospice agency only serves patients located in the same county as the majority of the long-term care services offered by the organization that operates the agency; and
(vii) The hospice agency is not sold or transferred to another agency.
(b) The department shall include the patient census for an agency exempted under this subsection (10) in its calculations for future certificate of need applications.
(11) To alleviate the need to board psychiatric patients in emergency departments, for the period of time from May 5, 2017, through June 30, 2019:
(a) The department shall suspend the certificate of need requirement for a hospital licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW that changes the use of licensed beds to increase the number of beds to provide psychiatric services, including involuntary treatment services. A certificate of need exemption under this subsection (11)(a) shall be valid for two years.
(b) The department may not require a certificate of need for:
(i) The addition of beds as described in RCW 70.38.260 (2) and (3); or
(ii) The construction, development, or establishment of a psychiatric hospital licensed as an establishment under chapter 71.12 RCW that will have no more than sixteen beds and provide treatment to adults on ninety or one hundred eighty-day involuntary commitment orders, as described in RCW 70.38.260(4).

NOTES:

Effective date2017 c 199: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [May 5, 2017]." [ 2017 c 199 § 3.]
FindingIntent2016 sp.s. c 31: See note following RCW 74.09.5225.
Application2012 c 10: See note following RCW 18.20.010.
Conflict with federal requirementsSeverabilityEffective date1995 1st sp.s. c 18: See notes following RCW 74.39A.030.
Section captionsSeverabilityEffective date1993 c 508: See RCW 74.39A.900 through 74.39A.903.
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