Appeal to Stop New Westwood Hospital Denied

The New Jersey State Supreme Court denied an appeal by Valley and Englewood hospitals to stop HUMC's application

The New Jersey State Supreme Court decided Wednesday that it would not hear an appeal Valley and Englewood hospitals filed after the state health commissioner allowed Hackensack University Medical Center to file a certificate of need application for a new general hospital in Westwood.

Valley and Englewood hospitals have opposed an additional acute care option in Bergen County, saying since the closing of Pascack Valley Hospital, their facilities have absorbed the volume of patients. They have also asserted opening a new hospital would negatively impact the healthcare system in the county.

Valley Hospital in Ridgewood plans to take additional legal action if the application is ultimately approved.

"While we are disappointed with the court's decision, Valley will continue to seek every opportunity to show that an additional hospital is not needed in Bergen County and will harm existing hospitals while destabilizing healthcare in our region. If, at the end of this process, the state grants Hackensack a certificate of need, we will once again pursue our case in court," Spokeswoman Megan Fraser said in a statement. "Valley has long been proud to care for patients who reside in the Pascack Valley area and we look forward to continuing to do so for years to come."

Representatives of Englewood Hospital also expressed disappointment.

"We are disappointed that the New Jersey Supreme Court has denied our appeal. Englewood Hospital and Medical Center maintains that since the closure of Pascack Valley Hospital, the non-profit hospitals in Bergen County have successfully served our community's healthcare needs with a level of quality and responsiveness never before experienced," said Englewood Hospital Spokeswoman Maria Margiotta in a statement. "There are better uses for the Westwood property, such as a medical mall with a range of outpatient services, to meet the healthcare needs of our region. We will continue to strive for the right solution in the rational planning of our region's healthcare needs."

But HUMC officials see it differently, saying Pascack and Northern Valley residents need a hospital and are not adequately served currently.

"Along with overwhelming community support, HUMC's application strongly demonstrates the need for the proposed 128-bed, acute care community hospital in Westwood," HUMC President and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. Garrett said in a statement.

The medical center along with partner LHP Hospital Group, a privately owned hospital company based in Texas. According to the application, HUMC North would serve 14 municipalities in the northeastern corner of Bergen County as well as some Rockland County communities and would open in late 2012.

Garrett said the Supreme Court's action shows the application has merit.

"This decision validates Hackensack University Medical Center’s confidence in the legal soundness of the application process, and remains focused on opening Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley to best serve the healthcare needs of the residents of the Pascack Valley and Northern Valley regions," he said in a statement.

The review process on the certificate of need application is expected to conclude around Aug. 6.

21st century concerned citizen July 07, 2011 at 07:26 PM
This is terrific news. I am thrilled that the tag team of Valley Hospital and Englewood hospitals have wasted their money and time challenging the re-opening of a hosptial in the Pascack Valley while at the same time jusifying to their communities that they should expand. Perhaps now their executive management should be replaced as they wasted thousands of $$
LivinLocal July 07, 2011 at 11:29 PM
I wish this whole game ended with that state supreme court decision. The story says Valley and Englewood will continue their legal action if Hackensack's application is approved. If they throw enough stones long enough, sooner or later they might find a crack that denies a hospital's return. I hope HUMC officials don't forget what Yogi said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."


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