The Association of Hospital Cost-Inefficiency With Certificate-of-Need Regulation

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Citation of Original Publication

Rosko, Michael D.; Mutter, Ryan L.; The Association of Hospital Cost-Inefficiency With Certificate-of-Need Regulation; Medical Care Research and Review, 71, 3, p 280-298, 22 January, 2014;


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This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.



Certificate-of-need (CON) regulations can promote hospital efficiency by reducing duplication of services; however, there are practical and theoretical reasons why they might be ineffective, and the empirical evidence generated has been mixed. This study compares the cost-inefficiency of urban, acute care hospitals in states with CON regulations against those in states without CON requirements. Stochastic frontier analysis was performed on pooled time-series, cross-sectional data from 1,552 hospitals in 37 states for the period 2005 to 2009 with controls for variations in hospital product mix, quality, and patient burden of illness. Average estimated cost-inefficiency was less in CON states (8.10%) than in non-CON states (12.46%). Results suggest that CON regulation may be an effective policy instrument in an era of a new medical arms race. However, broader analysis of the effects of CON regulation on efficiency, quality, access, prices, and innovation is needed before a policy recommendation can be made.