On August 26, 2009, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signed Session Law 2009-487, which permits nursing homes, adult care homes and intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded to renovate, replace on the same site, or expand existing facilities, regardless of the cost of the project. Such projects will no longer be subject to the two million dollar threshold that previously triggered the need for a certificate of need application and resulting approval before being able to proceed.
Such projects shall now be exempt if the entity provides prior written notice to the Certificate of Need Section demonstrating that the proposed capital expenditure will be used for "one or more” of the following purposes: (1) converting semiprivate rooms to private rooms; (2) providing innovative, homelike dining spaces; and/or (3) improving the quality of life of residents. The project also cannot result in any change in bed capacity or the addition of a health service facility or new institutional health service.
The new law modifies Session Law 2009-145, signed on June 19, 2009, which only permitted projects to be exempt from certificate of need review if they demonstrated that they would be used for "only one" of the three enumerated purposes. The changes were made after the Certificate of Need Section, in reviewing two different requests for exemptions in June 2009, interpreted Session Law 2009-145 to hold that if the proposed project was for more than one of the enumerated purposes or contained expenditures for some construction or items that did not fall under any one of the three purposes set forth in the law, the project would not be deemed to meet the requirements of the statute and the exemption request would be denied.
Implementation of Session Law 2009-487 means that long term care providers will be able to more effectively address the needs of their residents and respond to changing standards for long term care facilities.