Long Term Care facilities, hospitals and other healthcare providers may soon find relief from the long licensing wait times. Effective May 15, 2018, the Governor signed into law House Bill 539 (Act No. 324) which authorizes the Louisiana Department of Health (“LDH”) to establish an expedited licensing process for healthcare facilities and providers that LDH licenses. In September 2018, LDH issued a Notice of Intent (“NOI”) in the Louisiana Register outlining the Expedited Licensing Process for Healthcare Facilities and Providers (see pp. 1719-1721).

Getting in the “express lane” will not be cheap, however. As the NOI explains, LDH will assess fees ranging from $5,000 - $7,000 for the expedited licensing process, depending on the type of provider and the type of licensing action sought. The expedited process will be available to any healthcare facility or provider type licensed by LDH, including nursing facility, adult day health care facility, home health agency, hospice, home and community based service provider, hospital, ambulatory surgical center, adult residential care provider, and others.

According to the NOI, once LDH receives and approves a completed expedited licensing application, LDH must conduct the expedited licensing survey within ten working days of the readiness date indicated by the facility. If LDH is unable to do so, they must refund the licensing fee. The law specifically states LDH may not utilize existing employees who conduct regular licensing surveys to conduct expedited licensing surveys, suggesting new employees will be hired to man the “express lane.”

While the fees may be steep, many long term care facilities may find it’s a small price to pay to avoid the wait. If your facility is interested in the “express lane” and would like to provide comments on the NOI, do so now.