Hospital franchises, Medicaid expansion debated

For legislators thinking about making it easier to open new medical facilities, the big question is where Virginians covered by Medicaid expansion will go for care, says the senior delegate who as an EMT has raced his share of people in need to emergency rooms.

Del. Bobby Orrock, R-Caroline County, who has just renewed his emergency medical technician certification, says the answer will have a lot to do with whether Medicaid expansion will buoy hospital finances enough to open more of the state’s medical marketplace to competition.

But after a two-hour dive Tuesday into Medicaid expansion and its financial implications by the special study committee he chairs, the only thing Orrock knows for sure is the big question — who’s going to go where for what kind of care — is still unanswered.

Still, he says there will be legislation next year to reform Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need (COPN) program, which requires state approval of new medical facilities or expansions.

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