American Journal of Law & Medicine

Ninth Circuit Rules That State Certificate of Need Laws May Unconstitutionally Burden Interstate Commerce - Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital V. Washington State Department of Health

Ninth Circuit Rules that State Certificate of Need Laws May Unconstitutionally Burden Interstate Commerce--Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital v. Washington State Department of Health (1)--The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that Washington State Department of Health's ("Department") certificate of need ("CON") regulations, which restrict the number of hospitals performing elective percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs), (2) may be unconstitutional as an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce. (3)

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital ("Memorial"), the plaintiff, operates a nonprofit hospital in Yakima, Washington. (4) Memorial currently performs PCIs, procedures used to treat diseased arteries of the heart, only in emergency situations. (5) Additionally, Memorial seeks to perform elective PCIs. (6) Memorial, however, must be licensed under Washington's CON regulations before offering elective PCIs to patients. (7) CON regulations require that a hospital applying for a PCI license must: (1) perform a minimum of 300 PCIs per year, and (2) demonstrate that the projected demand in the applicant's geographic market exceeds the number of PCIs currently provided by licensed incumbent hospitals by at least 300 PCIs. (8) Memorial cannot meet these requirements for a PCI license because Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center, a licensed hospital, already serves the local market. …

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