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Northern Virginia, Virginia

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Ben Glass
Ben Glass
Attorney • (703) 584-7277

THE "MARKET" FOR MEDICAL SERVICES

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As you might imagine Northern Virginia has a great many hospitals and doctors. We also have lots of medical equipment like MRIs and CT scans but the Washington Post reported yesterday how one of the major players in the area, the Inova Medical System, is apparently trying to curtail competition.

Virginia is archaic and backwards in many ways and this appears to be no different. Apparently if a group of investors and risk takers want to spend their own money purchasing a high-end piece of equipment such as an MRI or a CT scan they actually need to get a “certificate of need” from the government. In other words they need “permission” to take a risk with their money. As the Post points out more than a dozen states have already abolished the “certificate of need” process. You see, while ostensibly designed (somehow) to help manage and control the costs of medicine this process in effect stifles competition by allowing players with these machines already in place to impose a competitor’s risk-taking venture to add another one to the market.

Since when is greater access to healthcare and healthcare services a bad thing? It would seem fairly obvious that the more CT scanners there are in a region the more the price would drop. Can someone point out to me what is wrong with this logic?