Last month, on May 13, 2010, the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) Board released for public comment proposed amendments to the Rules and Regulations for Enforcement of Licensing Requirements (Ga. Admin. Comp. Ch. 111-8-25).

These proposed amendments result from HB 994, which is a bill that was passed by the 2010 Georgia General Assembly requiring DCH to establish “a schedule of fees for licensure activities for institutions and other health care related entities required to be licensed, permitted, registered, or commissioned by the department.” DCH will charge licensing activity fees and annual licensure fees to all regulated healthcare programs through the new Healthcare Facility Regulation Division. HB 994 was sent to the governor for his signature on May 3, 2010, and is expected to take effect July 1, 2010.

Facilities that are licensed by the Healthcare Facility Regulation Division include, but are not limited to, nursing homes, home health agencies, personal care homes, private duty home care and hospitals.

The proposed annual licensure fee for nursing homes is:

  1. $500 for nursing homes with fewer than 100 beds
  2. $750 for nursing homes with 100 or more beds.

The proposed annual licensure fee for home health agencies is $1,000.

The proposed annual licensure fee for personal care homes is:

  1. $350 for personal care homes with fewer than 25 beds
  2. $750 for personal care homes with 25 to 50 beds
  3. $1,500 for personal care homes with more than 50 beds.

The proposed annual licensure fee for private duty home care ranges between $200 and $1,000, depending on whether it is offering a “companion sitter,” “personal care,” and/or “nursing services,” and whether the provider employees fewer or more than 50 full-time employees or contract workers. (“Full-time” is defined as 40 hours per week.)

The proposed annual licensure fee for hospitals is:

  1. $250 for Critical Access Hospitals and other hospitals with fewer than 25 beds
  2. $750 for hospitals with 25 to 50 beds
  3. $1,500 for hospitals with more than 50 beds.

The annual licensure fees listed above are all subject to a 25 percent discount if the licensed entity is currently accredited by the Joint Commission or any other nationally recognized accreditation organization approved by the DCH as having standards comparable to specific state licensure requirements. The complete list of healthcare facilities to be licensed by the Healthcare Facility Regulation Division may be found within the proposed amendments to Ga. Admin. Comp. Ch. 111-8-25, attached here.1 Licensure fees may be adjusted annually by the DCH, but cannot be increased by more than the annual rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

The proposed amendments also include several miscellaneous fees, such as a $150 fee for each instance a facility is 60 days late paying its annual licensure fees and $50 per request to replace a lost permit. Further, the proposed amendments include a provision that allows DCH to revoke any facility license if the facility has failed to pay the annually recurring licensure activity fees within 60 days of receipt of a written invoice. This particular provision will become effective January 31, 2011.

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. in the DCH Board Room at 2 Peachtree Street, NW, 5th Floor, Atlanta, Georgia, 30303-3159. Written comments must be submitted to DCH and received no later than the close of business at 5:00 p.m. on June 18, 2010.