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Report: Westwood Hospital Approval Challenged by Competitors

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 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 Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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