The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center appeared in court Monday to ask a three-judge panel to make State Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd reconsider her approval of HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley, according to a report on NorthJersey.com.
O'Dowd approved the plan to reopen the former Pascack Valley Hospital in February following a recommendation from the State Health Planning Board last November.
An attorney for Valley said he believed O'Dowd had considered HUMC's needs, but not the area's needs when she approved the plan, according to the report.
Valley and Englewood have continuously fought against HUMC and their partner, LHP Hospital Group, but courts have repeatedly decided in favor of the Westwood hospital. Most recently, a panel ruled that construction could begin despite the continuing appeals.
Officials from Valley and Englewood have repeatedly said there are already too many hospitals in the area, and the addition of a new facility could cause financial problems for others. The Pascack Valley Hospital closed in 2007 after going bankrupt.
In a statement sent to Patch, Valley Hospital said it believes re-opening Pascack Valley Hospital does not bode well for the area. According to Valley, with five full-service hospitals within 12-miles of Westwood there are an average of 300 empty beds available each night.
Hospital admissions and occupancy rates have continued to decline in part because of the recent healthcare reform measures, Valley stated.
"We are confident that the Appellate Division will reverse the improper grant of a certificate of need to open an unnecessary hospital in Westwood. This issue is about ensuring stable, financially viable hospitals which can only be accomplished through rational healthcare planning."
In Westwood, many residents and officials have supported the hospital reopening because of the ease of access to medical care and the jobs and businesses it brings to the community.
HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley is scheduled to open next spring, if the ongoing legal disputes do not delay it. Renovations are currently underway for the planned 128-bed hospital. The emergency room remains open.
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