Objective: To determine the impact of state certificate of need programs (CON) on the number of hospitals with neonatal intensive care units (NICU) and the number of NICU beds.
Study design: The presence of a CON program was verified from each state's department of health. Multivariable regression models determined the association between the absence of a CON program and each outcome after controlling for socioeconomic and demographic differences between states.
Result: A total of 30 states had CON programs that oversaw NICUs in 2008. Absence of such programs was associated with more hospitals with a NICU (Rate Ratio (RR) 2.06, 95% CI 1.74 to 2.45) and NICU beds (RR 1.96, 95% CI 1.89 to 2.03) compared with states with CON legislation, and increased all-infant mortality rates in states with a large metropolitan area.
Conclusion: There has been an erosion of CON programs that oversee NICUs. CON programs are associated with more efficient delivery of neonatal care.