Certificate of Approval

Certificate of Approval for Proposed Projects by Designated Mental Health and Developmental Services Agencies, Vermont Designated Mental Health and Developmental Services Agencies planning new projects are excluded from Certificate of Need (CON) review under Vermont law 18 V.S.A. § 9435(b). The review and approval authority for these agencies has been delegated to the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Mental Health (DMH) and the Commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL).  The approval for projects proposed by Designated Agencies is known as a Certificate of Approval (COA).  The procedures for applying for a Certificate of Approval are incorporated in the COA application packet below. The application packet includes by reference the required financial tables which are also listed below.When a Designated Agency applies for a Certificate of Approval, the completed application and related financial tables will be posted below for public review and comment.

COA Procedures, Application & Financial Tables


Application Process

Applicants interested in developing projects that approach the expenditure thresholds identified above must initially submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the Commissioners of DMH and DAIL explaining the intent of their project and the estimated projected costs associated with it. If the projected costs exceed 75% of the three expenditure thresholds identified above, an LOI must be submitted to allow for consideration of potential cost overruns. The Departments will confer with each other and respond in writing indicating whether or not the proposed project is subject to review for a Certificate of Approval. If a COA is required, applicants must then complete the COA application that includes the following:

  • Application Cover Page signed by the applicant’s certifying official.
  • A project narrative that includes an overview of the project and responses to the review criteria questions.
  • Completion of the necessary financial tables.
  • Any required attachments identified in the narrative such as schematic drawings, strategic plans or feasibility studies.
  • One original complete application should be submitted to the Commissioner of DAIL and one to the Commissioner of Mental Health. Two (2) additional copies, excluding peripherally relevant documents that are incorporated in the application by reference, should be submitted to DAIL, and two (2) to DMH for distribution to review staff. The completed application and all related attachments and tables must also be submitted electronically to the identified lead staff in each department.



The timeline for the Certificate of Approval review process is as follows:

  • Designated Agency submits a Letter of Intent to DMH and DAIL summarizing the proposed project and its associated projected costs. 
  • DMH and DAIL respond with a written acknowledgment of Letter of Intent to applicant within 20 calendar days of receipt, and notify applicant if the proposal is subject to DMH/DAIL review for a COA.  Applicant completes and submits application and required attachments. 
  • DMH and DAIL review submitted application and within 20 calendar days either determines the application to be complete or asks for additional information. Either determination must be communicated to the applicant in writing. 
  • If Application is not complete, DMH and DAIL respond to the applicant with a written request for additional information. When the applicant responds to the request, the information is reviewed to determine if the application is then complete. This process continues until the Departments determine that the application is complete and the applicant is notified in writing of this determination.
  • When the application is ruled complete, Department staff will proceed with their review and schedule a public input process for written comments. The application, and its related attachments and tables, will be posted on the Department of Mental Health Website and on the DAIL website. The public input process should last at least 20 calendar days and should include one public hearing. The public input process will be announced on the Departments’ websites and the public hearing will be properly noticed. The Departments may create a project specific review panel to participate in the public hearing and make recommendations to the Commissioners. If a review panel is created, it would be appointed by one or both of the Commissioners, depending on the nature of the project.
  • The DAIL and DMH Commissioners will issue a decision on the application (either a Certificate of Approval or denial) within 75 calendar days of ruling the application complete.
  • Upon notification of a COA approval, applicant must submit the COA approval letter and original Letter of Intent to BISCHA as called for in 18 V.S.A. § 9435(b).
  • During a construction or renovation project requiring a COA, the applicant must submit monthly narrative summaries describing the progress of the project any potential issues arising during construction or renovation. Included with the monthly progress reports must be a financial statement detailing all expenses and revenues to date, noting any changes that may impact the overall cost of the project.









Contact Information

Department of Mental Health
Interim Commissioner Mourning Fox
280 State Drive, NOB 2 North
Waterbury, VT 05671-2010
Phone:  (802) 241-0090
Fax: (802) 241-0100

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