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Valley Hospital Again Challenges Approval of Westwood Hospital

The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center are appealing the state health commissioner's approval of HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley.

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.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Margaret September 25, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I don't know why Valley would be against opening another area hospital. I was just at the ER Friday night with my 4 year old having difficulty breathing and we had to wait over an hour in the ADULT waiting room before being interviewed. Then we waited another half an hour before being brought into the PEDIATRIC waiting area and then had to wait another 45 minutes before seeing the doctor. All I kept hearing was that they were understaffed and overworked. It was by far the worst experience I've ever had at Valley. Disappointing.
Momma September 25, 2012 at 04:58 PM
My husband was in the ER on Sunday night and was treated on a hospital bed in the hallway because there were no rooms. A little tired of hearing Valley proclaim hiw empty they are. Certainly bit the case since they shuttered Pascack. As far as the above post- shame on valley! Trouble breathing and having to wait over two hours! Thank goodness the little girl wasn't having an asthma attack!!
thetentman September 25, 2012 at 05:09 PM
It has been 1 year since my surgery at Valley and all I will say here is, if Valley is a good hospital God help you in a bad one. I was not impressed and was happy to escape with my sanity and health intact.
jp1 September 25, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I had two surgeries at valley and would highly recommend valley to anyone.

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