CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As the West Virginia Legislature continues its special session on education policy, the West Virginia Hospital Association is already planning for the next regular legislative session.

Representatives of the organization, which represents 64 hospitals and health systems across the state, will begin meeting with lawmakers in September about what they would like to see next January.

President and CEO Joseph Letnaunchyn said the association’s main goals are reducing regulations and protecting certificates of need.

“Every year, some legislators try to take the chance and say let’s eliminate that program,” he said. “We need to have a dialogue with them and explain that West Virginia is a little bit different with our rural facilities and locations.”

All health care professionals must obtain a certificate of need before obtaining major medical equipment or adding new services.

Letnaunchyn said the program has been streamlined, and medical leaders need time to see if the process is beneficial.

“We’ll oppose any effort to kill it like we did last year,” he said.

Letnauchyn has been with the association since 2006.