A group of community doctors is hoping legislators will scratch a certification requirement. They feel it's hindering them from providing services in rural areas.
A group of pediatric medical specialists is asking legislators to loosen the requirement that they obtain a Certificate of Need for outpatient surgery centers. The doctors are with the Mississippi Center for Advanced Medicine clinics across the state. In order for them to create a new center or purchase specialized medical equipment, the facility must apply for a certificate and receive approval from the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Dr. Roy Rodriguez says loosening the certification process will mean more surgical facilities in rural areas.
"They can be seen on the same day, have their surgery and then go home. It's less wasting time in the sense of services. They will not miss days of school or work for the parent, either. Allowing the opening of surgical centers would be the best idea ever," said Rodriguez.
Dr. Spencer Sullivan is CEO of the Mississippi Center for Advanced Medicine. He says the certification process is intimidating.
"It's estimated that the CON process could cost up to $100,000 in attorney fees and up to six months to review. Most physicians do not have the time, the money or the resources to succeed this process, which quite honestly is how it's designed," said Sullivan.
He says, tearing apart certification rules that affect centers like his could help decrease the shortage of doctors in the state.
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health's website, its Certificate of Need process is necessary to plan the state's health facilities based on the need for services, location, and size. The department says it is designed to increase accessibility and quality of health.