(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Article, a health service facility may offer new institutional health services to be used solely for research, or incur the obligation of a capital expenditure solely for research, without a certificate of need, if the Department grants an exemption. The Department shall grant an exemption if the health service facility files a notice of intent with the Department in accordance with rules promulgated by the Department and if the Department finds that the offering or obligation will not:
(1) Affect the charges of the health service facility for the provision of medical or other patient care services other than services which are included in the research;
(2) Substantially change the bed capacity of the facility; or
(3) Substantially change the medical or other patient care services of the facility.
(b) After a health service facility has received an exemption pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, it shall not offer the new institutional health services, or use a facility acquired through the capital expenditure, in a manner which affects the charges of the facility for the provision of medical or other patient care services, other than the services which are included in the research and shall not charge patients for the use of the service for which an exemption has been granted, without first obtaining a certificate of need from the Department; provided, however, that any facility or service acquired or developed under the exemption provided by this section shall not be subject to the foregoing restrictions on its use if the facility or service could otherwise be offered or developed without a certificate of need.
(c) Any of the activities described in subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed to be solely for research even if they include patient care provided on an occasional and irregular basis and not as a part of the research program. (1983, c. 775, s. 1; 1987, c. 511, s. 1; 1991, c. 692, s. 4.)