Certificate of Need is an instrument of public policy created to slow health care cost growth by ensuring access to care regardless of a community's socioeconomic status and ensuring effective utilization of tertiary services. Florida enacted Certificate of Need in 1973, and the process was streamlined significantly during the 2004 and 2008 Legislative Sessions. The 2008 revisions refocused the process to be based solely on the issue of need and access to hospital care services and removed financial viability and cost criteria from the review.
Florida's Certificate of Need process no longer regulates all hospital projects. It mainly provides oversight for the establishment of new facilities and replacement facilities greater than one mile away from a main hospital. Certain high-cost, high-acuity services, such as organ transplants and neo-natal intensive care, also continue to be covered under Certificate of Need.
Most states have Certificate of Need laws. Only 12 states have no Certificate of Need program. Compared to other Certificate of Need-regulated states, Florida is considered minimally regulated as the state has removed at least 18 services and bed types that were previously regulated.