LDH Licensing “Express Lane” Coming Soon

Hospitals and other healthcare providers may soon find relief from the long licensing wait times.  Effective May 15, 2018, the Governor signed into law House Bill 539 (Act No. 324) which authorizes the Louisiana Department of Health (“LDH”) to establish an expedited licensing process for healthcare facilities and providers that LDH licenses.  Getting in the “express lane” will not be cheap, however.  LDH may assess fees for the expedited licensing process up to $7,500.

The final version of the law does not specify specific provider types or licensing applications which will be available for expedited processing, but the original proposed bill suggested the expedited process would apply to an adult day health care facility, ambulatory surgical center, home health agency, hospice, hospital, nursing facility, rural health clinic, intermediate care facility for people with developmental disabilities, end stage renal disease facility, outpatient abortion facility, psychiatric residential treatment facility, pediatric day health care facility, therapeutic group home, crisis receiving center, home and community based service provider, and adult residential care provider.  In the final version, the expedited licensing process applies to “healthcare facilities and providers that the department licenses.”

Once LDH receives and approves a completed expedited licensing application, LDH must conduct the expedited licensing survey within ten working days of the readiness date indicated by the facility.  If LDH is unable to do so, they must refund the licensing fee.  The law specifically states LDH may not utilize existing employees who conduct regular licensing surveys to conduct expedited licensing surveys, suggesting new employees will be hired to man the “express lane.”

While the fees may be steep, many facilities may find it’s a small price to pay to avoid the wait.  The law requires LDH to promulgate any rules necessary to provide for the expedited licensing process, so be on the lookout for additional details in the Louisiana Administrative Code.

Written by: Jacob Simpson

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