Cedar Recovery will meet with state officials in July to state its case for a methadone clinic in Putnam County

Recently, the State of Tennessee passed legislation to create new exemptions from Certificate of Need (CON) requirements for certain providers and health care services starting in 2025, according to reports.

Governor Lee signed the legislation into law May 21. The law will exempt more health care providers from the need to apply (but will keep most of the current CON requirements for providers such as home health, hospice, outpatient diagnostic centers, cardiac catheterization and more). The law modifies the rules for neonatal intensive-care units and rules for neonatal intensive-care units open heart surgery, freestanding emergency department facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, diagnostic imaging and other providers and services.

With Cedar Recovery of Middle Tennessee, LLC eyeing (CR) space for its newest methadone clinic in the same building as Elite Training Center, a sports training facility at 1805 Burgess Falls Road in Putnam County, it will need to apply and be approved for a certificate of need for the $5.6 million facility. In the County, there are no zoning requirements, according to officials, which may be a primary reason CR moved location efforts to the county in the first place after failing to gain traction in Rickman and Cookeville.

“I’m deeply concerned about any clinic like that coming to our community,” Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter told the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. “We’re very sensitive to bringing any more drug issues than what we already have, so we are going to be looking at all the options.”

Will the new exemption modifications hinder or help any future attempts by Cedar Recovery to set up shop? That is to be determined, but if the governing body considers the facility a “long-term care” solution the new modifications may accelerate the process.

As for the future of the clinic in Putnam? Cedar Recovery will be meeting with state officials in July to discuss its petition to open the Methadone Clinic in Putnam County, and it all depends on whether the state believes the clinic’s need meets the county’s demand.

The state of Tennessee states the determination of need as follows:

“The need for non-residential opioid treatment programs should be based on information prepared by the applicant for a certificate of need that acknowledges the importance of considering the demand for services along with need while addressing and analyzing service problems as well. The assessment should cover the proposed service area and include the utilization of existing opioid use disorder treatment providers, the scope of services provided, patient origin and patient mix. The assessment should consider the users of opioids as the clients at non-residential opioid treatment programs. Assessment data will be based on prevalence estimates of opioid and heroin use, narcotic-related offenses, opioid-related hospitalizations, deaths, substance abuse treatment admissions and estimates of medication-assisted treatment providers for opioid use disorder and their patient capacity.”

According to the “Need Formula,” the “average unique patient during one year in existing programs serving individuals who are opiate dependent divided by the number of individuals estimated to be opiate dependent.”

If the county has service providers meeting less than 20% of the need for services, the county is considered a high need. If considered high need, a county will receive “special consideration.”

Among the newly exempted health care providers are:

  • Intellectual disability institutional habilitation facilities
  • Ambulatory surgery centers
  • Long-term care hospitals
  • Freestanding emergency departments and linear accelerators

According to the bill, the Tennessee Health Facilities Commission will face a six-year study on the CON reform and facilities licensure in the health care industry.

This is an ongoing series. Check back for part 3.

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