84
      Friday
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      Saturday
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      DHEC suspending hospital program

      South Carolina health officials are telling hospitals and doctors they no longer need permission to expand or build new facilities or buy expensive equipment.

      COLUMBIA (WACH/AP) -- South Carolina health officials are telling hospitals and doctors they no longer need permission to expand or build new facilities or buy expensive equipment.

      The Associated Press obtained a letter sent Friday by Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine Templeton saying her agency will no longer run the Certificate of Need program.

      DHEC used the program to review whether hospitals could expand, whether nursing homes could be built and whether doctors could buy equipment that costs more than $600,000.

      Supporters say the program helped keep medical costs down.

      A veto by Gov. Nikki Haley upheld by the House removed $1.7 million from the program.

      Haley praised the move in a release.

      ??The Certificate of Need program does three things: restricts access, drives down quality and drives up costs," Haley said. "We're for competition, and since taking office, have fought for better health for all South Carolinians - that's what this is all about."

      Templeton's letter says DHEC will not go after any medical business for work done now even if the program is restored.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)