New Law Will Aid Development Of Harvard Medical Projects

A recently-signed state law, which will go into effect July 1, will free construction of research and teaching facilities at Harvard-affiliated hospitals from being slowed by time-consuming state regulations, officials of Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals said Wednesday.

The bill exempts hospitals from having to apply to the state for a Certificate of Need before constructing such facilities. The Public Health Council issues the certificates to regulate the number and cost of health care facilities.

In order to be exempt from the certificate requirement, proposed research and educational facilities cannot increase a hospital's patient care capacity or cause a rise in the total patient care costs. The state must also be informed 21 days before any project is undertaken.

The bill also requires the Public health Council to decide on applications for research and teaching projects in a maximum or ten months, so that the process of gaining funding for the projects can be started earlier, Martin Bander, a spokesman for Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, said yesterday.

Rudman Ham, an official from the affiliate Children's Hospital, said the new law removes the risk that the state might permanently halt Children's Hospital's plans for building a cystic fibrosis research facility. He added the bill also eliminates the possibility the project will lose funds as a result of the time delay--up to three years--required to obtain a Certificate of Need.

Ham added that in the time taken to obtain a Certificate of Need, federal funding might go to another state, since hospitals cannot raise money until they have received a certificate.

Ham said the Children's Hospital project would probably have received a Certificate of Need.